Film festivals in Montrealand Halifax have buried the hatchet over a scheduling conflict.

The new FestivalInternational de Films de Montreal (FIFM) raised the hackles of theHalifax-based Atlantic Film Festival (AFF) by unilaterally switching the datesof its inaugural event to overlap with those of the AFF, which this yearcelebrates its 25th anniversary.

AFF executive directorGregor Ash was further exercised by the fact that Telefilm Canada, which is thekey public sector sponsor of both festivals, did not vet the FIFM's date-changedecision.

After a meeting of the threeparties at Telefilm's Montreal offices on Tuesday, Ash and FIFM president AlainSimard agreed to proceed with the announced dates (AFF September 15-24, FIFMSeptember 18-25) under the condition the FIFM not run concurrently with the AFFin the future.

The FIFM also agreed to workwith the AFF to resolve logistical issues, such as print traffic, guest andpress relations. For its part, Telefilm agreed to work with all festivals inimproving communications between events and their calendar. The seconditeration of the FIFM is expected to be in July of 2006.

"Although a change of dateswas not agreed upon, we accept the assurances that were made not to runconcurrently with us in the future and that all parties involved will work tominimize the impact," said Ash in a joint statement. "This situation hashighlighted some major concerns for Canadian festivals. I believe that Telefilmwill help us to address these in the future, by facilitating more consultationand increased communication within our industry."

Ironically, the FIFM changedits original dates of October 12-23, 2005 because of a date conflict andfailure in communication with the Montreal Festival of New Cinema and Video,Montreal's long-established second film festival. The FIFM itself came aboutthrough the estrangement of Telefilm Canada and Serge Losique's Montreal WorldFilm Festival.

Telefilm executive directorWayne Clarkson kept out of the fray, leaving chairman Charles Belanger toapologise for the agency'sblunder. "We regret this circumstance andrecognize that it has not been an ideal situation for the AFF, but it isa well-established festival with an experienced team that receives signficantsupport throughout the country. I am fully confident that the 25thanniversary edition will proceed successfully as planned and that this eventwill continue to grow as an international player."