Montreal World Film Festival

The Montreal World Film Festival (WFF; French: le Festival des Films du Monde) was 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, which was founded in 1977 as a replacement for the defunct Montreal International Film Festival (1960–68), 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] The festival was cancelled in 2019 and no longer exists.

Montreal World Film Festival
Montreal World Film Festival.jpg
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)
  • Chinese films (permanent from 2017)[3]


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)[4]
  • 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 winnersEdit

Year Film Original Title Director Country
1978 Ligabue Salvatore Nocita   France /   Italy
1979 1+1=3 [de] Heidi Genée   West Germany
1980 The Stunt Man Richard Rush   United States
Fontamara Carlo Lizzani   Italy
1981 The Chosen Jeremy Kagan   United States
1982 Time for Revenge Tiempo de revancha Adolfo Aristarain   Argentina
Brimstone and Treacle Richard Loncraine   United Kingdom
1983 The Go Masters Mikan no taikyoku Ji-shun Duan & Jun'ya Satô & Shu'an Liu   Japan /   China
1984 The North El Norte Gregory Nava   United States /   United Kingdom
1985 Our Father Padre nuestro Francisco Regueiro   Spain
1986 Betty Blue 37°2 le matin Jean-Jacques Beineix   France
1987 The Kid Brother Kenny Claude Gagnon   Japan /   United States /   Canada
1988 The Reader La lectrice Michel Deville   France
1989 Freedom Is Paradise S.E.R. - Svoboda eto rai Sergey Bodrov   Soviet Union
1990 Fallen from Heaven Caídos del cielo Francisco J. Lombardi   Peru /   Spain
1991 Salmonberries Percy Adlon   Germany
1992 The Dark Side of the Heart El lado oscuro del corazón Eliseo Subiela   Argentina /   Canada
1993 Betrayal Trahir Radu Mihaileanu   France /    Switzerland /   Spain /   Romania
1994 Once Were Warriors Lee Tamahori   New Zealand
1995 Georgia Ulu Grosbard   United States /   France
1996 Different for Girls Richard Spence   United Kingdom /   France
1997 Children of Heaven Bacheha-Ye aseman Majid Majidi   Iran
1998 The Quarry Marion Hänsel   Belgium /   France /   Netherlands /   Spain
Full Moon Vollmond Fredi M. Murer    Switzerland /   Germany /   France
1999 Color of Paradise Rang-e khoda Majid Majidi   Iran
2000 The Taste of Others Le goût des autres Agnès Jaoui   France
Innocence Paul Cox   Australia /   Belgium
2001 Rain Baran Majid Majidi   Iran
Abandoned Torzók Árpád Sopsits   Hungary
2002 The Best Day of My Life Il più bel giorno della mia vita Cristina Comencini   Italy /   United Kingdom
2003 The Cordon Kordon Goran Markovic   Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
2004 The Syrian Bride Ha-Kala Ha-Surit Eran Riklis   France /   Germany /   Israel
2005 Off Screen Kleisterlee Pieter Kuijpers   Netherlands /   Belgium
2006 A Long Walk Nagai sanpo Eiji Okuda   Japan
The Greatest Love of All O Maior Amor do Mundo Carlos Diegues   Brazil
2007 Ben X Nic Balthazar   Belgium /   Netherlands
A Secret Un secret Claude Miller   France
2008 Departures Okuribito Yōjirō Takita   Japan
2009 Freedom Korkoro Tony Gatlif   France
2010 Oxygen Adem Hans van Nuffel   Belgium /   Netherlands
2011 Come as You Are Hasta la Vista Geoffrey Enthoven   Belgium
2012 Where the Fire Burns Ateşin Düştüğü Yer İsmail Güneş   Turkey
2013 Life Feels Good Chce sie zyc Maciej Pieprzyca   Poland
2014 Perfect Obedience Obediencia perfecta Luis Urquiza   Mexico
2015 Mad Love Fou d'amour Philippe Ramos   France
2016 The Constitution Ustav Republike Hrvatske Rajko Grlić   Croatia
2017 And Suddenly the Dawn Y de pronto el amancer Silvio Caiozzi   Chile
2018 Curtiz Tamás Yvan Topolánszky   Hungary

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

Year Film Original Title Director Country
1989 Queen of Hearts Queen of Hearts Jon Amiel   Great Britain
1990 Lost Springtime Printemps perdu Alain Mazars   France
Time of the Servants Cas sluhu Irena Pavlaskova   Czechoslovakia
1991 Benjamin's Woman La Mujer de Benjamin Carlos Carrera   Mexico
North Nord Xavier Beauvois   France
1992 Little Sharks Kleine Haie Sonke Wortmann   Germany
1993 Betrayal Trahir Radu Mihaileanu   Romania /   France
1994 Everynight ... Everynight Everynight... Everynight Alkinos Tsilimidos   Australia
1995 Cross My Heart and Hope to Die Ti kniver i hjertet Marius Holst   Norway
Manneken Pis Manneken Pis Frank Van Passel   Belgium
1996 Welcome Home Okaeri Makoto Shinozaki   Japan
1997 Gypsy Lore Romani kris - Cigánytörvény Bence Gyöngyössy   Germany /   Hungary
1998 2 Seconds 2 secondes Manon Briand   Canada
1999 Juan, I Forgot, I Don’t Remember Del Olvido al no me acuerdo Juan Carlos Rulfo   Mexico
2000 Daughters of the Sun Dakhtaran-e khorshid Mariam Shahriar   Iran
2002 Various Positions Various Positions Ori Kowarsky   Canada
2003 I Always Wanted to Be a Saint J'ai toujours voulu être une sainte Geneviève Mersch   Luxembourg /   Belgium
2004 The Magician El mago Jaime Aparicio   Mexico
2005 The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros Ang pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros Auraeus Solito   Philippines
2006 More Than Anything in the World Más que a nada en el mundo Andrés León Becker, Javier Solar   Mexico
2007 The Wooden Box La caja Juan Carlos Falcón   Spain /   Portugal
2008 For a Moment, Freedom Ein augenblick, freiheit Arash T. Riahi   Austria /   France
2009 You Will Be Mine Je te mangerai Sophie Laloy   France
2010 Liquid Love Amore liquido Mario Luca Cattaneo   Italy
2011 In Our Name In Our Name Brian Welsh   United Kingdom
2012 Casadentro Casadentro Joanna Lombardi   Peru
2013 The Long Way Home Eve Dönüs: Sarikamis 1915 Alphan Eseli   Turkey
2014 González González: falsos profetas] Christian Díaz Pardo   Mexico
2015 The Funeral Chuyi Qi Wang   China
2016 A Father's Will Atanyn kereezi Bakyt Mukul, Dastan Zhapar Uulu   Kyrgyzstan
2017 The Return Dolaonda Chul Heo   South Korea
2018 The Gazelle's Dance El Baile de la Gacela Iván 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.[5]

The president of the Montreal World Film Festival (WFF) is Serge Losique; its vice-president is Danièle Cauchard.[6] 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.[7]


According to a survey by Léger Marketing:[8]

  • 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.[9]

In 2015 a group of employees claimed they were not paid. [10]

In 2016 many of the employees resigned citing poor leadership and financial uncertainty amongst other issues.[11] 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. [12]

In 2019, the WFF announced that it is cancelling the 43rd edition of the event, leaving behind speculations about its later continuation.[13]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Matthew Hays and Martin Siberok, "Cinema has been 'abused horrifically'". Archived 2017-01-13 at the Wayback Machine The Globe and Mail, September 04, 2000.
  2. ^ "TIFF-MWFF Filmfest fisticuffs, Montreal against Toronto". Archived from the original on 18 August 2010. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
  3. ^ Xu, Fan (20 April 2017). "Montreal festival makes more space for Chinese cinema". China Daily.
  4. ^ AWARDS OF THE WORLD FILM FESTIVAL – Montréal 2012 Archived January 20, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ See "contact" links at the official website.
  7. ^ "Losique makes peace with Telefilm, SODEC".
  8. ^ "Attendance and economic benefits of the mwff". Festival du Film de Montreal. March 2008.[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ See "Canadian Distributors to Release Homolka Film." Archived 2006-01-13 at the Wayback Machine CBC News 10 Jan. 2006, accessed 31 Aug. 2006.
  10. ^ "Employees at Serge Losique's World Film Festival complain of non-payment - CBC News". Archived from the original on 27 August 2016.
  11. ^ "Montreal film festival employees resign en masse - CBC News". Archived from the original on 28 August 2016.
  12. ^ "End of the World Film Fest?". Montreal. Archived from the original on 30 August 2016.
  13. ^ "Montreal World Film Festival abruptly cancelled weeks before opening". 22 July 2019.


External linksEdit