No plans to bail out Montreal film festival, says Quebec culture minister

Montreal's World Film Festival is taking another blow on the day of its launch after Quebec Culture Minister Luc Fortin said the provincial government had no plans to bail it out.

Spending on World Film Festival not good use of taxpayers' dollars, Luc Fortin says

Festivalgoers await the screening of a film at the Montreal World Film Festival in 2015. Quebec's culture minister says the struggling event won't receive any government money to keep it afloat. (Radio-Canada)

Montreal's World Film Festival has been dealt another blow on its opening day — Quebec Culture Minister Luc Fortin said the provincial government has no plans to bail out the struggling event.

Better known as the Festival des films du monde, the festival faced numerous setbacks in the days before the launch of its 40th edition.

Most of the festival's employees quit on Tuesday over a lack of leadership and financial uncertainty – familiar grievances over the years

A day later, the Cineplex movie theatre chain withdrew from the festival, leaving it with just one of its original eight screening locations, the Imperial Theatre.

"It's been years and years that we've given a hand to the Festival des filmes du monde. We've been asking for a recovery plan for years, which never came," Fortin, who was in Montreal Thursday for consultations on Quebec's cultural policy, said.

It's sad that after 40 years this is we're at.- Luc Fortin , Quebec Culture Minister

"So despite all the sympathy and admiration we have for the event, we still manage public funds and we have to do it in a responsible way," he said.

The festival has been marred by financial issues for years and is currently in litigation with SODEC, Quebec's arts funding body, over money it borrowed in 2010 and has yet to pay back.

Fortin said he would not comment on the legal matter but said unless necessary changes were made, the provincial government would not be giving the festival any support.

The festival hasn't received funding from any level of government since 2014.

"It's sad that after 40 years this is we're at," he said, acknowledging that the film festival once held an important place in the city's cultural fabric.

The 40th edition of the World Film Festival runs from Aug. 25 to Sept. 5.

With files from Radio-Canada