The federal government has handed out $445,000 to the Montreal World Film Festival, which had its funding yanked in 2004.

"The funding from the Marquee Tourism Events Program highlights our government's recognition of the real impact the festival has on the local economy," announced Public Works Minister Christian Paradis on Friday.

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Serge Losique kept the Montreal World Film Festival running despite having his federal, provincial and municipal grants yanked in 2004.

Telefilm Canada and its provincial counterpart, SODEC, withdrew a total of $1 million five years ago amid much criticism of the way the festival had been run.  The City of Montreal had already removed its funding.

As a result, festival founder Serge Losique filed a $2.5-million suit against Telefilm Canada saying the action had damaged the reputation of his festival.

Government funding from all levels was then redirected to the New Montreal FilmFest, organized by L'Equipe Spectra, the group behind the successful Montreal International Jazz Festival.

But that event folded after its first year, running up a $1.7-million deficit.

Despite losing funding, Losique staged a bare-bones version of his festival, which continues to run and has since been able to win back funding from SODEC. Telefilm, though, has refused to reopen its doors to Losique.

The 33rd annual Montreal World Film Festival, which focuses on international films versus Hollywood productions, runs from Aug. 27 to Sept. 7. It will open with It's 1981 by Quebec director Ricardo Trogi.

Friday's announcement comes in the wake of federal cash giveaways for the Montreal International Jazz Festival and the Just for Laughs comedy festival.

The federal gifts have been viewed as a move by the Conservatives to counter views that recent cuts made to several cultural programs are an attack on Quebec culture — something the Bloc Québécois played up in the last federal election.

 

With files from The Canadian Press