It was one of those opportunities you don’t often get: an impromptu conversation with an elusive, somewhat temperamental public figure.
But Wednesday afternoon when I saw Montreal World Film Festival founder Serge Losique in conversation with a colleague in an otherwise pretty empty room at the festival headquarters, I decided to chance a request for an interview.
I’ve been looking into how well the festival is managing given the loss of $2 million of public funding and the consensus in the industry that the festival had run its course.
Here’s a transcript of part of that conversation with the colourful film buff.
Jeanette Kelly: I want to talk about the festival. How do you think it’s going?
Serge Losique: Very well. I cannot complain. A lot of people, a lot of stars coming now from all over the world. Now today it’s the biggest star in Japan coming here with a delegation of 40 people, plus four televisions, plus eight biggest newspapers in Japan. The whole country of Japan is right here arriving today so I cannot be more happy than that.
JK: How do you feel about trying to get the money together to try to finance the festival this year?
SL: Oh, don’t talk about financing. I don’t want to even talk about that, you know. It’s going very well. We find every financing and the festival is booming and we stay forever.
JK: But you didn’t get money from Telefilm, from SODEC (Société de développement des entreprises culturels) or from the city.
SL: (Interrupting) But F--k, the hell with them! So what! Don’t talk to me about that. Do you think we only depend on Telefilm or SODEC? That means nothing for us.
JK: Really? It doesn’t make life more difficult for you?
SL: No, but any artistic creation is always difficult. If it’s not difficult there will be no creation. It’s like a beautiful woman is standing on the street nobody is interested [in competing for her attention], but if you are fighting for her, that’s what’s interesting.
JK: Why do you keep fighting?
SL: I’m not fighting nobody, but everybody tried to fight us. Don’t forget one thing, when you are famous and you have a great festival on five continents and everybody respects that, it’s very easy to put yourself in the media when you are shooting at the monument. Everyone wants to get a piece of our famous situation and glory.
The Montreal World Film Festival runs from until Sept. 1.