Festival to open with Daniel Grou-Podz’s 10½.

The 39th edition of Canada’s oldest feature film festival, Montreal’s Festival du nouveau cinema (FNC), which runs Oct 13-24, has an “eclectic and highly diversified” line-up of over 295 films from 51 countries, including 33 world premieres, fest director Claude Chamberlan told Screen.

In keeping with its long-running FNC trademark of “cinematic discovery,” Chamberlan expands: “Our main goal is to discover new filmmakers and new technology, and all forms of cinematic, artistic expression. We cooked up the menu with the best ingredients from the world to provide food for thought which is very nourishing.”

“Quality overrides politics” Chamberland said regarding choices made by the 10 programmers who select the cornucopia of independent features and shorts, fiction and documentary, animation, retrospectives, tributes, professional panels, outdoor interactive installations and events which will be served up over 12 days in 12 categories, including experimental ones such as the FNC Lab and FNC Pro.

Three awards will be handed out in the feature film competition (International Selection), including a C$15,000 prize and the Louve d’Or (Golden She-wolf) awarded by telecommunications giant Quebecor, as selected by a five-member jury. Chamberlan calls these 19 features “audacious and uncompromising” as films are first, second or third works by “often underrated filmmaking talents” (see full list below), which includes an unlikely US/Cuba co-venture, Memories of Overdevelopment by director Miguel Coyula.

The opener marks the world premiere of 10½, the second feature by Daniel Grou-Podz (Quebec/Canada), about a rebellious kid who resists affection as much as authority. The closing film, Curling, the fifth feature by Denis Côté (Quebec/Canada), which will be screened for the first time in Quebec, recently garnered the Silver Leopard for best director and a best actor award for Emmanuel Bilodeau at the prestigious Locarno festival.

The 34 films in the Special Presentation category is dominated by “masters” and serves as “the locomotive engine” of the FNC, according to Chamberlan, who notes it aptly includes three “excellent” UK pictures (Mike Leigh’s Another Year; Sylvain Chomet’s France co-production The Illusionist and Stephen Frears’ Tamara Drewe) in an “exceptional year for British film.” Section also includes the world premiere of Lignes de vie by France’s Alain Mazars.

The Focus section opens with a world premiere of a hard-hitting documentary on the Canadian in the Guantanamo prison, Omar Kadhr, called You don’t like the Truth: 4 Days in Guantánamo by Luc Côté & Patricio Henriquez (Quebec/Canada). Eight of the 15 films in Focus are world premieres, including Sauvage, about “the new reality of the aboriginal,” said Chamberlan.

The highly-anticipated world premiere of The Heart of Auschwitz (Le Cœur d’Auschwitz) by Carl Leblanc (Quebec/Canada) in the International Panorama section is a documentary about an elderly Canadian woman (now living in Buenos Aires), whose “secret paper heart” (and its list of names reminiscent of Schindler’s List), has been turned into a work of art at the Montreal holocaust museum as well as a film. Distributor Filmoption International is launching with an event that the Auschwitz survivor will attend during FNC.

The ever-popular section TEMPS Ø includes two world premieres, including Territoires by Olivier Abou, a terrifying France-Quebec coproduction about the extremes of American patriotism. Chamberlan also says a “must-see thriller about revenge” is Confessions (Kokuhaku) by Tetsuya Nakashima.

International Tributes include the Wang Bing retrospective as the Chinese filmmaker “burst onto the international scene with his first film, West of the Tracks (2003), a sweeping, nine-hour epic that met with huge critical acclaim throughout the world”. He will give a filmmaking lesson and present his first fiction feature, The Ditch, which caused a sensation at Venice . There’s also a tribute to New German Cinema icon Werner Schroeter, who was the first international guest at the Festival’s first edition in 1971.

International Selection: Louve d’Or

Année bissextile (Ano Bisiesto), Michael Rowe (Mexico)

The Belgrade Phantom (Beogradski fantom), Jovan B. Torodovic (Serbia/Hungary/Bulgaria)

Between Two Worlds (Ahasin Wetei), Vimukthi Jayasundara (Sri Lanka)

L’Épée et la rose (A Espada e a Rosa), Joao Nicolau (Portugal)

Erratum, Marek Lechki (Poland)

Huit fois debout (Eight Times Up), Xabi Molia (France)

Inside America, Barbara Eder (Austria)

Jo pour Jonathan (Jo for Jonathan), Maxime Giroux (Quebec/Canada)

Littlerock, Mike Ott (United States)

Mama, Nikolaï & Yelena Renard (Russia)

Memories of Overdevelopment (Memorias del desarrollo), Miguel Coyula (Cuba/United States)

Preludio, Eduardo Lucatero (Mexico)

Le Quattro volte, Michelangelo Frammartino (Italy/Germany/Switzerland)

Silent Souls (Ovsyanki), Aleksei Fedorchenko (Russia)

Susa, Rusudan Pirveli (Georgia)

Le Vagabond (Ha’Meshotet), Avishai Sivan (Israel)

Vous êtes tous des Capitaines(Todos vós sodes capitáns), Oliver Laxe (Spain)

WebSiteStory, Dan Chisu (Romania)

When We Leave (Die Fremde), Feo Aladag (Germany)