Montreal World Film Festival

The Montreal World Film Festival (WFF; French: le Festival des Films du Monde; alternative official name Montreal International Film Festival, not commonly used), founded in 1977, is one of Canada's oldest international film festivals and the only competitive film festival in North America accredited by the FIAPF (although the Toronto International Film Festival is North America's only accredited non-competitive festival). The public festival is held annually in late August in the city of Montreal in Quebec.[1] Unlike the Toronto International Film Festival, which has a greater focus on Canadian and other North American films, the Montreal World Film Festival has a larger diversity of films from all over the world.[2]

Montreal World Film Festival
LocationMontreal, Quebec, Canada
Film titles400+
Hosted byMontreal World Film Festival Group



The World Film Festival is organised in various sections:

  • World Competition (features and shorts)
  • First Films World Competition (features)
  • Out of Competition (features)
  • Focus on World Cinema (features and Shorts)
  • Documentaries of the World (features, medium-length films, shorts)
  • Tributes
  • Cinema Under the Stars
  • Student Film Festival (Canadian and international shorts)


Prior to the beginning of each event, the Festival’s board of directors appoints the juries who hold sole responsibility for choosing which films will receive the blessing of a WFF award. Jurors are chosen from a wide range of international artists, based on their body of work and respect from their peers.



  • Grand Prix des Amériques
  • Special Grand Prix of the jury
  • Best Director
  • Best Actress
  • Best Actor
  • Best Screenplay
  • Best Artistic Contribution
  • Innovation Award
  • Zenith Award for The Best First Fiction Feature Film, (Golden, Silver and Bronze)[3]
  • Short Films (1st Prize and Jury Prize)

In addition the festival-going public votes for the films they liked best in different categories:

  • People's Choice Award
  • Award for the Most Popular Canadian Film
  • Glauber Rocha Award for the Best Film from Latin America
  • Best Documentary Film Award
  • Best Canadian Short Film Award.

Grand Prix des Amériques winners

YearFilmOriginal TitleDirectorCountry
1978LigabueSalvatore Nocita France /  Italy
19791+1=3Heidi Genée West Germany
1980The Stunt ManRichard Rush United States
FontamaraCarlo Lizzani Italy
1981The ChosenJeremy Kagan United States
1982Time for RevengeTiempo de revanchaAdolfo Aristarain Argentina
1982Brimstone and TreacleRichard Loncraine United Kingdom
1983The Go MastersMikan no taikyokuJi-shun Duan & Jun'ya Satô & Shu'an Liu Japan /  China
1984The NorthEl NorteGregory Nava United States /  United Kingdom
1985Our FatherPadre nuestroFrancisco Regueiro Spain
1986Betty Blue37°2 le matinJean-Jacques Beineix France
1987The Kid BrotherKennyClaude Gagnon Japan /  United States /  Canada
1988The ReaderLa lectriceMichel Deville France
1989Freedom Is ParadiseS.E.R. - Svoboda eto raiSergey Bodrov Soviet Union
1990Fallen from HeavenCaídos del cieloFrancisco J. Lombardi Peru /  Spain
1991SalmonberriesPercy Adlon Germany
1992The Dark Side of the HeartEl lado oscuro del corazónEliseo Subiela Argentina /  Canada
1993BetrayalTrahirRadu Mihaileanu France /   Switzerland /  Spain /  Romania
1994Once Were WarriorsLee Tamahori New Zealand
1995GeorgiaUlu Grosbard United States /  France
1996Different for GirlsRichard Spence United Kingdom /  France
1997Children of HeavenBacheha-Ye asemanMajid Majidi Iran
1998The QuarryMarion Hänsel Belgium /  France /  Netherlands /  Spain
Full MoonVollmondFredi M. Murer  Switzerland /  Germany /  France
1999Color of ParadiseRang-e khodaMajid Majidi Iran
2000The Taste of OthersLe goût des autresAgnès Jaoui France
InnocencePaul Cox Australia /  Belgium
2001RainBaranMajid Majidi Iran
AbandonedTorzókÁrpád Sopsits Hungary
2002The Best Day of My LifeIl più bel giorno della mia vitaCristina Comencini Italy /  United Kingdom
2003The CordonKordonGoran Markovic Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
2004The Syrian BrideHa-Kala Ha-SuritEran Riklis France /  Germany /  Israel
2005Off ScreenKleisterleePieter Kuijpers Netherlands /  Belgium
2006A Long WalkNagai sanpoEiji Okuda Japan
The Greatest Love of AllO Maior Amor do MundoCarlos Diegues Brazil
2007Ben XNic Balthazar Belgium /  Netherlands
A SecretUn secretClaude Miller France
2008DeparturesOkuribitoYôjirô Takita Japan
2009FreedomKorkoroTony Gatlif France
2010OxygenAdemHans van Nuffel Belgium /  Netherlands
2011Come as You AreHasta la VistaGeoffrey Enthoven Belgium
2012Where the Fire BurnsAteşin Düştüğü Yerİsmail Güneş Turkey
2013Life Feels GoodChce sie zycMaciej Pieprzyca Poland
2014Perfect ObedienceObediencia perfectaLuis Urquiza Mexico
2015Mad LoveFou d'amourPhilippe Ramos France
2016The ConstitutionUstav Republike HrvatskeRajko Grlić Croatia
2017And suddenly the dawnY de pronto el amancerSilvio Caiozzi Chile
2018CurtizCurtizTamás Yvan Topolánszky Hungary

Golden Zenith winners for The Best Feature Film in competition First Films World Competition

YearFilmOriginal TitleDirectorCountry
1989Queen of HeartsQueen of HeartsJon Amiel Great Britain
1990Printemps perduPrintemps perduAlain Mazars France
Time of the ServantsCas sluhuIrena Pavlaskova Czechoslovakia
1991La Mujer de BenjaminLa Mujer de BenjaminCarlos Carrera Mexico
NorthNordXavier Beauvois France
1992Little SharksKleine HaieSonke Wortmann Germany
1993BetrayalTrahirRadu Mihaileanu Romania /  France
1994Everynight ... EverynightEverynight... EverynightAlkinos Tsilimidos Australia
1995Cross My Heart and Hope to DieTi kniver i hjertetMarius Holst Norway
Manneken PisManneken PisFrank Van Passel Belgium
1996OkaeriOkaeriMakoto Shinozaki Japan
1997Romani kris - CigánytörvényRomani kris - CigánytörvényBence Gyöngyössy Germany /  Hungary
19982 Seconds2 secondesManon Briand Canada
1999Juan, I Forgot, I don’t RememberDel Olvido al no me acuerdoJuan Carlos Rulfo Mexico
2000Daughters of the sunDakhtaran-e khorshidMariam Shariar Iran
2002Various PositionsVarious PositionsOri Kowarsky Canada
2003I always wanted to be a saintJ'ai toujours voulu être une sainteGeneviève Mersch Luxembourg /  Belgium
2004The MagicianEl magoJaime Aparicio Mexico
2005The Blossoming of Maximo OliverosAng pagdadalaga ni Maximo OliverosAuraeus Solito Philippines
2006More than anything in the worldMás que a nada en el mundoAndrés León Becker, Javier Solar Mexico
2007The wooden boxLa cajaJuan Carlos Falcón Spain /  Portugal
2008For a moment, freedomEin augenblick, freiheitArash T. Riahi Austria /  France
2009You will be mineJe te mangeraiSophie Laloy France
2010Liquid loveAmore liquidoMario Luca Cattaneo Italy
2011In Our NameIn Our NameBrian Welsh United Kingdom
2012CasadentroCasadentroJoanna Lombardi Peru
2013The long way homeEve Dönüs: Sarikamis 1915Alphan Eseli Turkey
2014González: falsos profetasGonzález: falsos profetasChristian Díaz Pardo Mexico
2015The FuneralChuyiQi Wang China
2016A Father's willAtanyn kereeziBakyt Mukul, Dastan Zhapar uulu Kyrgyzstan
2017The returnDolaondaChul Heo South Korea
2018The Gazelle's DanceEl Baile de la GacelaIván Porras Méndelez Costa Rica /  Mexico


The stated goal of the Montreal World Film Festival (Montreal International Film Festival) is to:

encourage cultural diversity and understanding between nations, to foster the cinema of all continents by stimulating the development of quality cinema, to promote filmmakers and innovative works, to discover and encourage new talents, and to promote meetings between cinema professionals from around the world.[4]

The president of the Montreal World Film Festival (WFF) is Serge Losique; its vice-president is Danièle Cauchard.[5] Losique's management has been controversial. The WFF lost the sponsorship of its previous government cultural funders, SODEC and Telefilm Canada as a result of disagreements with Losique in 2004. Subsequently, these two funding agencies announced that they would support a new international film festival, called the New Montreal FilmFest (FIFM), to be managed by Spectra Entertainment and headed by Daniel Langlois (of SoftImage and Ex-Centris and the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma). After the inaugural edition of that new festival was unsuccessful, it was abandoned early in 2006. As of July 2007, Losique's lawsuits against the funding agencies were dropped, paving the way for a restoration of government funding.[6]


According to a survey by Léger Marketing:[7]

  • Approximately 385,000 attended the 2008 World Film Festival. Of these, 323,352 (84%) were local filmgoers and 61,591 (16%) were out-of-town visitors.
  • Among visitors, 27% were less than 35 years old, 34% were 35 to 54 years old and 39% were more than 54 years old.
  • During their stay in the greater Montreal area, visitors attracted here by the Festival spent an average of $921.60. Visitors from outside the province spent on average twice as much as visitors from Quebec, and this money was spent specifically within the framework of their attendance at the Festival.
  • Tourist spending generated by visitors to the Montreal World Film Festival is estimated at $21 million.


In 2005, Losique first announced and later withdrew the film Karla from the WFF after the principal sponsor of the festival, Air Canada, threatened to withdraw its sponsorship of the festival if that film were included. The film — about Karla Homolka, a young woman who was convicted of manslaughter and who served twelve years in prison for her part in the kidnapping, sex-enslavement, rapes and murders of teenage girls, including her own sister, in a case said to involve ephebophilia — was controversial in Canada, with many calling for its boycott throughout the country.[8]

In 2015 a group of employees claimed they were not paid. [9]

In 2016 many of the employees resigned citing poor leadership and financial uncertainty amongst other issues.[10] In an interview with CTV News, Gazette entertainment columnist Bill Brownstein referred to Losique as having a "Napoleonic complex" and not "playing well with the other children" resulting in government and sponsors withdrawing their funding support. [11]

In 2019, the WFF announced that it is cancelling the 43rd edition of the event, leaving behind speculations about its later continuation.[12]

See also


  1. " Cinema has been 'abused horrifically'" Archived 2017-01-13 at the Wayback Machine. Matthew Hays and Martin Siberok, The Globe and Mail, Sep. 04, 2000
  2. "TIFF-MWFF Filmfest fisticuffs, Montreal against Toronto". Archived from the original on 2010-08-18. Retrieved 2012-11-30.
  3. AWARDS OF THE WORLD FILM FESTIVAL – Montréal 2012 Archived January 20, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  4. Information from the home page. Cf. the "Manifesto" Archived October 16, 2006, at the Wayback Machine of the organization for its perspective and goals in the context of its account of its history.
  5. See "contact" links at the official website.
  6. "Losique makes peace with Telefilm, SODEC".
  7. "Attendance and economic benefits of the mwff". Festival du Film de Montreal. March 2008.
  8. See "Canadian Distributors to Release Homolka Film." Archived 2006-01-13 at the Wayback Machine CBC News 10 Jan. 2006, accessed 31 Aug. 2006.
  9. "Employees at Serge Losique's World Film Festival complain of non-payment - CBC News". Archived from the original on 2016-08-27.
  10. "Montreal film festival employees resign en masse - CBC News". Archived from the original on 2016-08-28.
  11. "End of the World Film Fest?". Montreal. Archived from the original on 2016-08-30.
  12. "Montreal World Film Festival abruptly cancelled weeks before opening". 2019-07-22.


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