Montreal

​Montreal World Film Festival abruptly cancelled weeks before opening

The festival has been marred by financial issues for years. It was supposed to run Aug. 23 to Sept. 3.

The festival has been marred by financial issues for years

The Montreal World Film Festival announced on Monday that this year's edition will not go ahead, but that it will return in 2020. (Radio-Canada)

​​The annual Montreal World Film Festival has been cancelled, just over a month ahead of its planned start.

The festival, going into its 43rd edition, was supposed to run Aug. 23 to Sept. 3.

The organization sent out a news release Monday saying that the festival is "taking a break this year to prepare a great edition in 2020."

It did not provide any more detail about why the event would not go ahead. 

According to the release, no films were selected for this year's festival.

Serge Losique founded Montreal's World Film Festival in 1977. (Paul Chaisson/Canadian Press)

The festival has undergone a difficult couple of years, beginning in 2014 when the City of Montreal, SODEC and Telefilm all withdrew their funding.

Two years later, Cineplex pulled its support for the festival following a mass exodus of the festival's employees.

In a letter, the employees cited "financial uncertainty" and "incompetent leadership" as the reason for their sudden resignation, specifically mentioning festival president and founder Serge Losique.

Losique, 88, appeared in court last July to defend the festival against a Quebec government tax bill of $499,999.

The festival has been marred by financial issues for years and was also in litigation with SODEC, Quebec's arts funding body, over money it borrowed in 2010.

Losique was not available for an interview Monday, citing "​extreme tiredness."

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.