Events

FFM 2017: The Montreal World Film Festival is not dead yet, thanks to volunteers!

MONTREAL- Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017 – Film fans stretch to catch a glimpse of director Xu Haofeng and his actors before a screening of Chinese film, The Hidden Sword, at the Imperial Cinema. The Hidden Sword is in competition at the 2017 Montreal World Film Festival / Festival des films du monde. Photo by Liz Ferguson.

This year, like last year, the Montreal World Film Festival/Festival des films du monde is a shadow of its former self. The festival doesn’t seem to be getting any money from any level of government. All the same, it IS still alive, thanks to some wonderful volunteers! I doff my metaphorical hat to them!

You’ll see them selling tickets, working as ushers etc., but there are more unseen workers behind the scenes, as well. Without their work, the cinemas would be dark.

Many of the volunteers don’t even know festival founder Serge Losique, but they do follow his maxim: “It’s all about the films!”

While I didn’t formally interview any of them, I can see that the volunteers range in age from their early 20s to 60s, maybe even 70s. While some of the older volunteers are retirees, others are giving up precious vacation days. They are film fans have enjoyed the festival for decades and they don’t want to see it die. Several people now working for free were on the festival payroll for many years.

The volunteers and the people who are still buying tickets truly appreciate the festival’s dedication to films from the far corners of the globe that are not made in the familiar Hollywood mold. (If I had a nickel for every time I heard that over the years. . .seriously, I really would be rich.)

(Do you care about those film fans, government people? While most of them are tax-paying citizens, some of them are tourists, from other parts of Canada, and the U.S., who have been coming to Montreal for the festival for years.)

Check out the festival this long holiday weekend. Many directors are here with their films, and some brought their actors, too. Sometimes there are Q&As in the cinema right after the screening, but even if there isn’t one, you can usually ask questions in the lobby. At the very least, if you liked the film, you can thank and congratulate the director. They seem quite willing to have their pictures taken with fans, too. A nice souvenir of the festival! Fans are quite friendly, too. If you ask nicely, most will be happy to tell you what they have seen and what they thought of it.

MONTREAL- Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017 – Chinese director Xu Haofeng, second from right, with actors and others associated with his film, The Hidden Sword. The Hidden Sword is in competition at the 2017 Montreal World Film Festival / Festival des films du monde. Photo by Liz Ferguson.

Films are being shown at the Imperial Cinema, Cinéma du Parc and the Dollar Cinema. From my own experience I can say that some of them are very good! And people I trust have said the same about other films. So far, I haven’t seen anything that I regret. I particularly liked The Hidden Sword, from China, directed by Xu Haofeng, and Y de Pronto el Amanecer, from Chile. It was directed by Silvio Caiozzi. Both films are playing in competition.

Links to schedules are below. Unfortunately, there isn’t a fancy printed program this year, nor is there the “big book” of yesteryear, but at Cinéma du Parc, you can pick up a schedule, with synopses, of the films that are being shown there.

The Montreal World Film Festival / Festival des films du monde continues until Monday, Sept. 4, 2017. Tickets are $11 each, or you can buy a booklet of 10 coupons, which must be exchanged for tickets, for $85.

The Imperial schedule is here.
Cinéma du Parc schedule is here.
The Dollar Cinema schedule is here.
To read a film’s synopsis, click on its category, which will be in blue on your screen.

For example, REG is Regards sur les cinémas du monde / Focus on World Cinema, and DOC is Documentaires du monde / Documentaries of the world. (I won’t list all the categories here.)

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Spend one day, or four, in the beautiful countryside with ShazamFest!

Wrestlers from the AcadŽmie de Lutte Estrienne are among the entertainment options at ShazamFest 2016.

Wrestlers from the AcadŽmie de Lutte Estrienne are among the entertainment options at ShazamFest 2016.

ShazamFest is an annual summer event that combines music, food, circus arts, skateboarding, and local artisans, to name just a few of its ingredients. It takes place from Thursday, July 14, through to Sunday, July 17 in Barnston Ouest in the Eastern Townships. Camping facilities are available.

The entertainment lineup includes Michelle Bourque The Blacksmiths, Old Time Honey & Cirquantique, Blue Mushroom Sirkus Psyshow, Bloodshot Bill, Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra and Kiriaki.

There will also be wrestlers from the Académie de Lutte Estrienne, Albert Nerenberg’s Hypnotic Bar, a Beard and Mustache Competition, and a Skateboard Competition. (Check out the Shazamfest schedule here, read about the Hypnotic Bar here.)

Skateboarding at an earlier edition of ShazamFest. Photo by Claude Dufresne.

Skateboarding at an earlier edition of ShazamFest. Photo by Claude Dufresne.

This year marks ShazamFest’s eleventh edition. The event was founded by Ziv Przytyk, a guy who’s full to bursting with energy, warmth, enthusiasm and optimism – truly amazing soul. Przytyk holds ShazamFest on land adjoining the organic farm that his parents established many years ago (and that’s another story unto itself.) ShazamFest just got bigger and more popular over the years; many participants have been coming since the very beginning.

A ticket to ShazmFest includes use of this camp site among the trees. Claude Dufresne photo from the ShazamFest web site.

A ticket to ShazmFest includes use of this camp site among the trees. Claude Dufresne photo from the ShazamFest web site.

Advance tickets for Thursday are $10, they’re $15 at the gate. Tickets for Friday are $40 and $45; Saturday $45 and $55; Sunday is free. A family pass (two adults and two teens) for the whole weekend is $175 in advance and $200 at the gate. People who arrive on bicycles can get a 20 % discount. (More info about tickets here.)

If cycling isn’t convenient and you don’t have a car either, a shuttle bus will leave Montreal at 6 p.m. Friday, July 15. It will leave ShazamFest at 7 p.m. on Sunday July 17 for the trip back to the city.