‘Karla’ could ignite Montreal storm

Fest to preem controversial pic

TORONTO — Never an org to shy away from controversy, the Montreal World Film Festival is embroiling itself in what is likely to become front-page news, and possible legal action, by presenting the world premiere of “Karla,” directed by Joel Bender (“Vlad,” “Face to Face”).

Pic is a re-enactment of the misdeeds of husband-and-wife convicted murderers Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka. The two raped, tortured and killed two Ontario schoolgirls and drugged, raped and accidentally killed Homolka’s sister Tammy in the early 1990s.

Canadians were galvanized by the trial, during which blow-by-blow details of the crimes were widely reported in the media.

Bernardo is in jail indefinitely as a dangerous offender, while Homolka was released recently after a 12-year prison sentence. She is believed to be living in Montreal.

The low-budget, independently produced film stars Misha Collins (“24”) as Bernardo and Laura Prepon (“That ’70s Show”) as Homolka.

The original title of the film was “Deadly,” and the lawyer for the victim’s families calls the name change a bid to raise publicity and find a distributor.

The plot is said to center around Homolka’s version of events as told to a prison psychiatrist.

Lawyer Ted Danson told Canadian media last week that the families are considering legal action under Canadian child-pornography laws.

“Karla” producer Michael Sellers says the filmmakers have gone out of their way to be sensitive to the families’ concerns and have invited Danson and the families to pre-screen the film and provide their input.

Fest prexy Serge Losique has said the film was chosen for inclusion in his festival based solely on its artistic merit.

Date of the screening has yet to be announced. Fest runs Aug. 26-Sept. 5.

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