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Cannes int’l section highlights smaller pix

Fest gives 6 countries a day the chance to screen pix

PARIS — The world’s lesser-known film cultures will have their moment in the spotlight at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Fest organizers on Tuesday announced the launch of Tous les Cinemas du Monde, giving six countries a day the chance to screen recent or even unfinished pics. Countries taking part include Morocco, Sri Lanka and Austria.

The movies will be screened in a temporary theater built next to the Old Port and financed by the Provence-Alpes-Cote D’Azur region, which is pumping more than $900,000 into the Cannes Film Festival this year — a big increase on 2004’s contribution of less than $200,000.

The 170-seat theater will have an eye-catching, heat-reflective coating to diminish the effects of the Mediterranean sun.

“We’ve wanted to do this for a long time,” fest prexy Gilles Jacob said. “We want to maintain our head start when it comes to discovering new talent.”

Managing director Veronique Cayla said that Tous les Cinemas du Monde would not compete for films with the fest’s Un Certain Regard section or the Directors Fortnight or Critics Week sidebars.

“It’s clear that the first priority for filmmakers will be in a selection. The films we want to show in Tous les Cinemas du Monde are those that may have done very well in their country of origin but have never been seen elsewhere, or films that are almost finished and that illustrate the creativity of local filmmaking.”

Some countries taking part are planning to host meet-the-industry forums, Cayla noted.

New fest appointee Serge Sobczynski, a former culture adviser for the Provence-Alpes-Cote D’Azur region, is organizing the event.

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