The MWFF features an impressive line-up of films, free outdoor screenings, appearances by directors and film personalities, as well as an active market and a two-day symposium highlighting digital cinema.
Other activities at the MWFF include the Student Film Festival (taking place August 27-31), which has a 36-year history of encouraging young talent by highlighting works of Canadian students from universities and film schools.
The goal of this addition to the MWFF calendar is "to focus on theatrical exhibition and formats, and [to explore] what is in store for distributors, exhibitors and producers in the next few years." Beriault, who has overseen the market over the past decade, has seen it evolve, adjusting to the times and shifting in regards to the importance of TV and video.
According to the missives, which deployed an arsenal of World War Two and Cold War invectives, the 28-year-old MWFF was being assaulted by "apparatchiks" and "putschists" at two levels of government.
If Telefilm, SODEC and MWFF collide (after all, Losique is free to plunge ahead with MWFF, competing on every level with the new festival, as well as go to court), the splat will be heard loud and clear on the international film scene.
Curiously, to the involuntary rescue, is the same FIAPF with which MWFF collided when it set its 2003 dates without consulting the Association, leading to the overlapping of Montreal's dates with those of both the Venice and the Toronto Film festivals.
This year, symbolism, a very strong characteristic of Montreal's media, also played an ominous part: The MWFF's official poster of a high-heeled woman's shoe indicated to many observers that the Festival is being stepped on.
Long before the talk heated up, the MWFF did a makeover, rejigging its categories and increasing the number of prizes it handed out.
The 2003 MWFF played 439 movies from 68 countries, including a rarity from Sri Lanka, Prasanna Vithanage's August Sun.
This means many of the best and most high-profile films slated for a Toronto run can have their Montreal festival run shortly thereafter, with distributors simply ignoring MWFF
Two Canadian movies at the MWFF screened in Official Competition: Manon Briand's Chaos and Desire and Brad Fraser's Leaving Metropolis.
To the ritualistic dismay of the Montreal media, the MWFF is not a big--name event.