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In a city overrun with festivals, Montreal’s Festival du Nouveau Cinéma is one of the most innovative and interesting. The big festival hits that have already screened at Cannes and in Toronto come to town, eagerly awaited, this year including controversial Cannes’ award winners Antichrist by Lars Von Triers, and Kinatay by Brilliant Mendoza, as well as Pedro Almodovar’s Broken Embraces and Harmony Korine’s Trash Humpers. Korean director Bong Joon-Ho, whose monster film The Host was the biggest box office smash ever in his home country, presents a twisted genre-bending thriller called Mother, described in the catalog as “a motley and sordid affair.” 

Its selection of short films tends towards the experimental and are often hit and miss, but there are always gems to be found. Well-known Canadian and Quebecois directors are screening short films here, including André Turpin, Peter Mettler, and Guy Maddin. A wide variety of of local filmmakers present their world premieres here, many of whom are currently students, graduates or profs at Concordia University’s film production program: Kara Blake, Daïchi Saïto, Richard Kerr, François Miron, and Steven Woloshen, to name just a few.  Cartoonist Fiona Smyth co-directs a short with Allyson Mitchell.

But the FNC is so much more than another stop on the festival circuit!  What really sets this festival apart is its focus on new media and interactive installations. The FNC makes a real effort to engage with its audience and its artists, making the event very community-oriented as well as party-oriented.  Part of the FNC Lab series features events and screenings by local film collectives and organizations such as Double Negative's experimental film projections, Nomad Minutes' B.Y.O.Video night, Kino Kabaret's filmmaking challenges, and Wapikoni Mobile's launch of films by First Nations youth.

Then there are panels and presentations galore!  There's a talk by John Scheele, veteran visual effects supervisor from such films as Tron and Blade Runner.  There are panels on making socially engaged cinema in the digital era, interactive media focusing on the city as narrative canvas, and new modes of production in interactive media.  There's a participatory film tribute to the Lord of the Rings trilogy called The Hunt for Gollum; “Cours écrire ton court”, a workshop for young writers; and La Mélodie de la Terreur, a cinematic mashup where killers, creatures and screaming women are reborn in electro-break. Fun!

The Festival du nouveau cinema runs from October 7th to 18th.
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