Ottawa invests in Montreal World Film Fest

MWFF starved of public subsidies since 2005

TORONTO -- More evidence that the Canadian government and Serge Losique's Montreal World Film Festival have kissed and made up emerged Friday as Ottawa said it will inject CAN$445,000 ($411,500) into this year's Aug. 27-Sept. 7 edition.

MWFF president Losique welcomed the cash infusion from Ottawa, adding "I hope that this program will be extended beyond 2010."

The MWFF has been starved of public subsidies by Telefilm Canada, the federal government film financier, since 2005 as taxpayer money that year was diverted to the ill-fated New Montreal Film Festival.

Losique subsequently filed a CAN$2.5 million lawsuit against Telefilm Canada, alleging the federal agency had damaged his festival's reputation by withdrawing long-standing taxpayer support.

Montreal suffered as a result of its summer film festival fracas as local distributors opted for the Toronto International Film Festival as a preferred launch pad.

But with the legal woes and personal enmity between Losique and Ottawa behind them, Christian Paradis, the federal minister of public works and government services, on Friday said the new money will allow the MWFF to raise its visibility with Canadian and international filmmakers.

The 33rd installment of the MWFF will open Aug. 27 with a world premiere for the Jean-Carl Boucher-starring comedy "It's 1981," from Quebec director Ricardo Trogi.