Watch the world on the big screen

Mark Hamilton

Simply put, Montréal loves going to the movies. It’s the home base to one of the most active regional film cultures in the world (some of Québec’s big name directors include Xavier Dolan, Denis Villeneuve and Denys Arcand) and Montrealers love cinema from every corner of the globe. For 42 years, the Montréal World Film Festival has showcased international films that otherwise wouldn’t find their way onto the big screen and the festival’s star-studded history has shown countless international masterworks to packed houses of local cinephiles.

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A glimpse behind the curtain

2018’s program brings together some of world cinema’s most beloved auteurs and exciting new names on the international scene with their latest works, including entries from Turkey, Greece, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Macedonia and Cape Verde. This year, films like A Last Touch (Die Letzte Pointe by Rolf Lyssy, Switzerland), In This Land Nobody Knew How to Cry (S’afti ti hora kaneis den ixere na klei by Giorgos Panousopoulos, Greece – his first film in 13 years), and Dying to Survive (by Muye Wen, China, one of the country’s biggest box office hits in history) will screen at the festival.

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Awards of distinction

The Montréal World Film Festival (MWFF for short) is the North America’s only competitive film festival accredited by the International Federation of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF for those in a rush), and each year a bevvy of awards are bestowed on the best of the best.

At the top of the heap, the World Competition focuses on international premieres, with the jury awarding prizes for Grand Prix of the Americas, Special Grand Prix of the Jury, Best Director, Best Actress and Actor, Best Screenplay, the Best Artistic Contribution and the Innovation Award. 2017’s top winners included And Suddenly the Dawn (Y de pronto el Amanecer) by Chilean filmmaker Silvio Caiozzi and Dear Etranger (Osanago Warera Ni Umare) by Japan’s Yukiko Mishima. Other awards included Best Director for Poland’s Maciej Sobieszczanski and the film Reconciliation (Zgoda), Best Screenplay for Iranian writer Hossein Namazi for Appendix and the special Visual Innovation Award for Transmitting the Oral Traditions to Sayakbay – Homer of the 20th Century by Ernest Abdyjaparov from Kyrgyzstan.

Further award competitions include the First Fiction Films World Competition, the Chinese Film festival, Documentaries of the World and a Student Film Festival, all with a special attention paid to bringing together cinematic voices from all over the world to Montréal.

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Out of competition, everyone’s a winner

Screening alongside the films competing for the top prizes, there’s also an extensive series of non-competitive screenings giving an overview of world cinema of both now and then. Besides the series of World Greats, there’s annual Tributes, a series of Cinema Under the Stars and the not-to-be-missed Our Cinema, which focuses on films from Québec and Canada.

And audiences even get their moment in the director’s chair with a series of people’s choice awards, focusing on their favourite Canadian, francophone and Latin American films from the festival. All that’s left to say is lights, camera, action!

Mark Hamilton

Mark Hamilton, blogger, Queer MTL community manager

Male, mid-to-late 30s, tall and bearded. Likes romantic walks on Mont Royal, long-distance cycling, beard oil products and antique travel guides. Has a bad habit of falling in love with men in vintage photographs who are certainly long dead. If he could be anything, he’d live his life as a professional flâneur. Until then, he spends his time writing, making music, and wandering.

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