Montreal's Festival du NouveauCinema (FNC) has drafted three new programmers, including New York-based producerMadeleine Molyneaux and Japanese film scout Hiromi Aihara, and will introducethree new prizes at its 35th anniversary edition, October 18 to 28,2006.

The festival also announced that it hopesto increase the profile of short films by including 20 titles in its competitivesection.

Molyneaux, a producer whose creditsinclude 2006 Rotterdam title Cinnamon, will focus on USindependent cinema, while Tokyo-based Aihara will concentrate on theAsian-themed Temps Zero program. Hugo Guerreiro, an artist and art and technologyspecialist, will select new media works.

The new prizes will award the BestPerformance and Best Short (for best first, second or third film) while theQuebec critics' prize, Prix de l'Association quebecoise des critiques decinema, will be directed to the Best First Film.

The festival currently presents itsLouve (the she-wolf is the festival's emblem) prize for Best Picture as well asscreenplay honour and an audience award. The festival also has The Main Award,a prize for the best film shot in Montreal; its under-written by the merchants'association in the Montreal district around the festival site known as TheMain.

Thefestival also said it would be celebrating its anniversary along with the 25thanniversary of the Festival du cinema international en Abitibi-Temiscamingue.The announcement signals an agreement between the two festivals following theFNC's decision to move its dates and thus overlap with the Abitibi festival.Telefilm Canada, the federal film funding agency, which provides core financingfor both events, had expressed concern at the FNC's move.