Volume 13, Issue 11 / November 2009

World Film Festival (2009)

In this issue

For this issue Offscreen places a spotlight on Montreal’s oldest Film Festival, the World Film Festival, which started 32 years ago in 1977. This year’s edition ran from August 27 to September 7, 2009. In recent years the WFF, which is still run by its longtime president Serge Losique, has gone through some rough patches with the media and government funding and has lost some venerable funding partners (most notably Air Canada), but has managed to come through still standing. If this year is any indication, the focus seems to be back on the films and representing as many varied nations as possible, which has always been strength of the festival (sometimes at the expense of quality, but with the plus of seeing films from under-represented countries and the joy of discovering an unexpected gem). The issue opens with a report on the festival which underlines a welcome trend in recent years at the festival: the more regular appearance of genre films. The festival has always stated its philosophy of promoting auteur cinema, which has had the consequence of few genre films, but things have changed over the past few years and the report focuses on the more interesting genre films of the festival. Jafar Panahi, who has slowly become one of Iran’s most important directors (not to say most controversial) was the head of the Jury this year, and Peter Rist had the good fortune of interviewing him for Offscreen. Rist also found time to interview Chinese director Wang Quan’an, discussing his third feature film, Weaving Girl. Thus ends the coverage of the World Film Festival, but the issue continues with another festival which has seen its importance increase over the years, The Thessaloniki International Film Festival. This year’s edition marked its 50th, and Betty Kaklamanidou, who has been covering this event for Offscreen for many years, gives us her annual thoughts on the festival. Concluding this issue is a film by a director who is no stranger to the Montreal World Film Festival, having visited it on several occasions, Jean-Luc Godard’s reflexive masterpiece Le Mépris, by Roberto Donati. (Donato Totaro, ed.)

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