THE MONTREAL WORLD FILM FESTIVAL 2018 –
By Bernard Bujold –
“BURN THE FARM RATHER THAN ABANDON IT TO ATTACKING INVADERS…”
-The founder of the Montreal World Film Festival (FFM) Serge Losique is once again fighting against all odds to present his event edition 2018.
The 87-year-old has lost none of his energy and spirit despite the abandonment by the Quebec film establishment!
Serge Losique is reminiscent of a captain who continues to stay at the helm despite the flight to the sea of his crew.
Serge Losique, like all those who have created an exceptional work and who, as he ages (the creator) sees his work coveted by others, defends himself for his survival. There are several other such cases and the example that comes to mind is Steve Jobs with Apple when Steve Scully (whom Job had recruited to assist him) wanted to take his place. Scully had even fired Job out. Subsequently, a few years later, when Apple was facing bankruptcy, Jobs had agreed to return to save Apple but on one condition: that Scully be out … Steve was in his prime age and he was successful to avenge the injustice and revive the Apple empire that we know today.
In the case of Serge Losique, the Quebec establishment, with Alain Simard (Jazz Festival) as leader, wanted to take his project in 2005 but the group failed. The “deep state Quebecois” then cut the government subsidies and the FFM never recovered. The problems of the FFM began with the cutting of subsidies. No cultural event or institution (museum, orchestra, theater) can operate without a grant. In the history of the FFM, the absence of subsidy lasts for 13 years…
Serge Losique and his team sincerely believed all those years that they would be able to find back the grants and Losique financed the event with his own money while reducing year after year the scale of his Festival to arrive at a model like the last year in 2017 and like what will be the 2018 edition.
The coveted treasure of Losique is the exclusive license of the festival which is a like a hockey franchise. The only license for a world-class “A-Class” film festival for Canada is at his name. The FFM was established in 1977 and is part of a small group of competitive festivals recognized by the F.I.A.P.F. (International Federation of Film Producers Associations) such as Cannes, Berlin or Venice. The World Federation has never accepted the many demands by the Quebec establishment to remove the franchise of Losique and give it to another group. Even Toronto despite its great success with their film festival has only a non-competition license. This is also the reason for the failure of the project of Simard’s group, it had no license category A.
Over the years, the crew of the FFM “jumped” to the sea and Serge is now the captain of an abandoned ship.
The 13-year-old “war” totally destroyed the festival and neither of the parties: Losique on one side, and the “deep state of Quebec’s artistic milieu” on the other, did not want to give in and everyone believed that the other would give way. Eventually the coveted loot was damaged to become a deformed object and a sort of broken pot that is no longer worth it. My prediction: Serge Losique will die with his Festival in a few years and the category A franchise will just leave Montreal to never be renewed with any other organization of Quebec cinema. The World Film Federation does not need to have a Festival in Montreal as such.
This is called “not having a winner in a war!
Losique felt “raped” and “stolen” by the establishment in 2005 and, given his personality, he will never give up the FFM.
One thing is certain regarding Losique. He is not in for money but for honor, honor being the survival of his film festival with him at the helm. If he had been a mercantile, like Gilbert Rozon for example with Just for Laughs, and even Alain Simard with the Jazz Festival, Losique would have sold his franchise in 2005 when the event had a great monetary value and he would have finished his life on his farm in the Eastern Townships to contemplate the trees.
Losique is a kind of kamikaze hero in his thought of life: “Burn the farm rather than abandon it to attacking invaders!”
To conclude, I continue to admire Losique in his fight. If anyone else had created a life project that would have been stolen from him, I would admire him just as much!
The 2018 FFM will run from August 23rd to September 3rd.
To be continued…
THE MONTREAL WORLD FILM FESTIVAL 2018