The International Festival of Films on Art - 39TH Edition from March 16 to 28, 2021

Unveiling of the 38th edition


Montreal, February 18, 2020 – The International Festival of Films on Art (FIFA) is pleased to unveil the ambitious program for its 38th edition, which will be held in Montreal from March 17 to 29 and, for a third consecutive year, in Quebec City from March 20 to 29, 2020. More than 240 films, documentaries, interactive works, media works, and music videos from more than forty countries will captivate, inspire and open the minds of audiences. In addition to the films presented in the official selection and competition, a series of events, cartes blanches and collaborative works will be available to the public. Among the new features this year, FIFA will have screenings for families and a section dedicated to music videos. It will also introduce the new wave of Chinese creators, devote a special program to Iranian artists and present the world’s most beautiful artistic performances on the big screen.

244 works - 39 countries - 73 Canadian films - 154 screenings in Montreal and Quebec City - 9 venues - 47 world premieres - 43 North American premieres - 52 Canadian premieres - 13 days

In the sections competition and official selection, the FIFA features as many films directed by women as by men.


Overview of the selection
We Are Not Princesses by Bridgette Auger and Itab Azzam will open the 38th edition of the festival. The directors tell the story of Syrian women in a Beirut refugee camp as they put on a production of Sophocles’ play Antigone. Much like this film,  the films in the sections official selection and competition express the wish of directors, producers and artists to share their visions of the world, their passion and their experiences. Their moving stories reach out to meet the other with empathy and selflessness.

EXCEPTIONAL WOMEN: This year, many films focus on the women who left their mark on their era. In contemporary art: Marina Abramović, Sigalit Landau, Shirin Neshat, Katharina SieverdingNiki de St-Phalle; in design: Charlotte Perriand; in photography: Dora Maar, Martha Cooper; in film: Isabelle Huppert, Simone Signoret; in painting: Audrey Flack, Mary Pratt; in music: Barbara Hannigan; in dance: Peggy Baker. All are recognized for their extraordinary careers and exceptional work.

DANCE: This edition features a large number of feature-length and short films about dance in the form of both documentaries and filmed performances. It includes exceptional recordings such as Quatre chorégraphes d'aujourd'hui à l'Opéra de Paris by Cédric Klapisch and Miguel Octave, as well as Body and soul by Canadian Crystal Pite. Many of the short films feature dancing including Aida by Édouard Lock, GHOST featuring Tentacle Tribe, and L’étreinte des Valkyries by Alan Lake. The documentary American Tap shows the evolution of tap dancing and its place in the history of the African American and Irish communities in the United States. Forward is a dance journey in Northern Norway. Other films such as The Euphoria of Being, Corps émouvants, L’âge d’or and Gioia testify to the therapeutic, inclusive and inspiring nature of dance as a means of expression.

QUEBEC FILMS: Among the films from Quebec are two feature films about poetry, a rare treat at the festival. Raôul Duguay par-delà La Bittt à Tibi directed by Yves Langlois, pays tribute to this tireless multidisciplinary artist, visionary and humanist, while Plus haut que les flammes is a sensitive and touching film adaptation of a poetry collection by Louise Dupré, narrated by Violette Chauveau and directed by Monique Leblanc. Many of the Quebec films were directed by women. Le Dernier Nataq by Lisette Marcotte takes us to Rouyn to meet a group of artists, including the well-known Richard Desjardins, who are tasked with painting a mural based on his work. Derouin - métis des Amériques, directed by Julie Corbeil, is an intimate portrait of this influential artist who continues to split his work between Mexico and Quebec. Mouffe, muse et mentore directed by Carmel Dumas, tells us the story of this artist who has been part of the Quebec art scene for more than 50 years. Finally, in the film Traces of Hope by Christine Doyon, we follow the creation of an animated film by Syrian children in a Lebanese refugee camp.

ENGAGED ART: Certain artists and directors pursue their artistic, political and social engagement through their works. Many of the films bear witness to this reality and to the justness of the struggle for free expression. Beijing Spring looks back on the dissident group of artists Stars and the repression they suffered at the time of Mao’s death. Lemebel is a portrait of Pedro Lemebel, writer, visual artist and pioneer of the Queer movement in Latin America. His work shook Chilean society at the height of Pinochet’s dictatorship and he continued his fight until his death in 2015. The eponymous film, Ernest Pignon, Ernest à taille humaine, is a portrait of this artist who is considered the father of street art and who travels the globe hanging his engaged and very human images. Kirill Serebrennikov A Theatre Director Under Arrest shows the life of this internationally renowned theatre director in a Moscow jail as he follows the production of one of his pieces in Strasbourg. These stories testify to the power of art.

CREATIVITY: Creativity is at the heart of many of the feature documentaries. In Why Are We Creative: The Centipede's Dilemma, the question is asked to dozens of artists, business people and scientists over many years; the documentary expands our vision of what it represents. Echoes of the Invisible shows us exceptional journeys that bring together art, science and spirituality. Art on Fire follows the story of Burning Man 2018 right up to the burning of the effigy at the end of the festival.

PORTRAITS OF ARTISTS: Always popular with festival audiences, this edition includes many portraits of artists: in gastronomy: Auguste Escoffier; in music: Eliades Ochoa; in photography: Peter Lindbergh and Elliott Erwitt; in fashion: Yohji Yamamoto and Yves Saint-Laurent; in architecture: Richard Neutra, Ernest Cormier and Piet Oudolf; in painting and sculpture: the Indigenous Canadian artist Robert Davidson; in contemporary art: Marcel Duchamp, and two Renaissance masters: Leonardo da Vinci and Tintoretto.

INVESTIGATIONS: Finally, many films take the form of reports. The Man Who Played with Fire looks back on the little-known work of famous writer Stieg Larsson, author of Millennium and tireless activist who studied and fought the far right. L’affaire Caravage is a captivating report on the art market when a 400-year-old painting by Caravaggio emerges in April 2016. Léonard de Vinci et le chef d’œuvre redécouvert: In the year of Leonardo da Vinci’s 500th birthday, the Louvre must authenticate one of the master’s works, The Madonna of the Yarnwinder, of which an original already exists. Is it a copy?

The Jury members

The members of the feature film jury are Emelie de Jong, Head of Arts Department ARTE France (France), Phoebe Greenberg, Founder and director of Phi (Canada), Laurent Métivier, Head of Audiovisual at the Opéra national de Paris (France) and Cosimo Terlizzi, Visual artist and artistic director of Asolo Art Film Festival (Italy).

The members of the short film jury are Catherine Bédard, Head of the Exhibition Program and Deputy Director of the Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris (France/Canada), Marley Hansen, Programmer NOWNESS | London (United Kingdom) and Rad Hourani, Multidisciplinary artist (France/Canada).

FIFA Expérimental

This section, curated by Nicole Gingras, showcases cinema, both films and videos, and those who see it as a tool to reflect on art, history, current events, the world and natural resources, and who use it as a way to explore the creative process via the notions of memory, identity, origins, research, shamanism, or even those of collaboration, the subject or the author. In all these works, we see unique methods and signatures emerge, as well as a vulnerability that exposes the artist as a witness of our time.

The FIFA Expérimental section includes 5 screenings and 22 works created by artists from QuebecCanada, Germany, Austria, Belgium, the United States, Finland, Japan and Sweden.
Programs presented at the J.A. de Sève Cinema at Concordia University, March 20, 21 and 22, 2020.

Music Videos

For the first time, FIFA includes a selection of music videos chosen by Jérôme Rocipon, former singer of the group Numéro#, columnist, researcher and director of the film Coucou l’artiste, shown at FIFA’s 37th edition. During a screening entitled + de vidéoclips, the audience will be immersed in all that music videos have to offer in 2020. Stories, languages, mixing of forms, but especially a worldwide freedom, all guided this very personal selection looking at the creation of a genre that has its place on the big screen.
Wilder Building, Saturday, March 21, 2020 at 5:30 PM


Carte blanche to l'Opéra de Paris

FIFA has dedicated a full-day Carte blanche to the Paris Opera at Cinéma Impérial. In this majestic venue, the screen will be lit up with short films and recordings of performances from 2019 that cannot be seen anywhere else in Montreal. Among the works presented will be a recording of Verdi’s Traviata with Pretty Yende in the lead role, Body and Soul, a choreography by Crystal Pite to the music of Frederic Chopin, and Les Indes Galantes by Jean-Philippe Rameau, with stage direction by Clément Cogitore and choreography by Bintou Dembélé.
Cinéma Impérial, Saturday, March 21, 2020

« O » | Cirque du Soleil

FIFA presents a recording of the Las Vegas performance of one of the most beautiful shows in the world. In “O”, Cirque du Soleil weaves a timeless and water-themed tapestry of art, surrealism and romance. Inspired by the concept of infinity and the purified elegance of water, “O” pays homage to the magic of the theatre – from the simple street performer to the most extravagant operas – where everything is possible and where the drama of life unfolds before our very eyes. World-class acrobats, synchronized swimmers, divers and enchanted characters perform their feats in, on and above the water, providing an extraordinary experience.
Cinéma Impérial, Thursday, March 26, 2020 at 7 PM

Fantasia, 1940

To mark the 80th anniversary of Fantasia, FIFA is screening a restored version of Walt Disney’s iconic film. A masterpiece of animation, Fantasia is a film on art that expresses the harmony between music and images in the truest tradition of Disney magic.
Cinéma Impérial, Saturday, March 28 at 2 PM


MASTER CLASS BY MARK LEWIS: Rapt of the Spectator
In 2016, Mark Lewis received the Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts and he is one of Canada’s most important contemporary artists. Based in London, his films, which are usually silent and presented as installations, peer into our world and the changing imaging technologies that have radically altered our perception and experience of time. A selection of eight films directed between 2010 and 2019, this event is a unique journey through Lewis’ impressive work. In either grandiose or intimate tracking shots, Lewis’ camera alternates between tension, discomfort, vertigo, and desire, constantly unsettling the relationship between the gaze of the subject and the object.

The master class will be led by Catherine Bédard, Head of the Exhibition Program and Deputy Director of the Canadian Cultural Centre of the Canadian Embassy in Paris. 
The event is presented in collaboration with the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Concordia University's Faculty of Fine Arts, in partnership with the Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris.

Cinéma Impérial, Wednesday, March 18 at 5:45 PM


Carte blanche to l’Opéra de Paris
See above

Carte blanche to NOWNESS: The China Wave

FIFA is once again giving Carte blanche to the renowned platform NOWNESS. This year’s edition will include screenings of films by the new generation of talented Chinese creators. Transgressive, both punk and avant-garde, these young artists embody The China Wave, and combine the past with the present, and tradition with technology, in order to tell their stories and conjure a present that they truly make their own.
Cinéma Impérial, Saturday, March 21, 2020 at 8:15 PM

Carte blanche to Cosimo Terlizzi

Cosimo Terlizzi, visual artist and visual director of the Asolo Art Film Festival (Italy), will screen a selection of films reflecting a very Mediterranean sensibility and poetry. It consists of films in which artists tell their stories through very personal film diaries.
McCord Museum, Saturday, March 21, 2020 at 12:30 PM

Carte blanche to Rad Hourani

Rad Hourani is a multidisciplinary artist and a FIFA favourite. His vision of creating will be shared with the public during this Carte blanche which includes several world premieres and portraits of artists.
Musée McCord, Sunday, March 22, 2020 at 3 PM

Spotlight on Iranian Art Films

Leila Khalilzadeh, an Iranian director based in Montreal, has selected twenty (20) films which will be shown in three separate screenings. Iran produces unique and powerful films. The films selected focus on the pioneers of Iranian cinema as well as the new generation of artists who are innovating and breaking with convention. While artists outside Iran are allowed freedom of expression, those who remain in the country often have to resort to subterfuge to express themselves within a very restricted framework. These films are presented as part of a program for young curators launched by FIFA and Momenta | Biennale de l’image, with the support of the Conseil des arts de Montréal.
Programs presented at the J.A. de Sève Cinema at Concordia University, Saturday, March 21, 2020 at 8:30 PM and Sunday, March 22, 2020 at 5:45 PM and 8:30 PM.

FIFA is pleased to showcase the talent of filmmakers Gabriela de Andrade and Alexandre Paskanoi as part of its new initiative, ÉCRANS DIVERS, aimed at immigrant directors in Quebec with the cooperation of Main Film and Diversité Artistique Montréal (DAM).


Albin de la Simone, images fantômes

Documentary + Musical Performance
Music and film lovers are invited to discover the wonderful documentary Albin de la Simone, images fantômes by director Pauline Jardel. The documentary explores the world of this prolific singer- songwriter, following her from the Paris Philharmonic to her living room, by way of the countryside of her childhood. In an intimate and often funny journey, this film highlights the questions and reflections of the artist over the course of her inspiring career. Albin de la Simone will give a musical performance following the screening of the film.
Wilder Building, Friday, March 20, 2020 at 7 PM

Carte blanche to Antoine Corriveau

Giving him creative and musical Carte blanche, FIFA has invited singer-songwriter Antoine Corriveau to take the stage at the Wilder Building. He will present an ambitious—almost megalomanical—production whose images have still not been made into a film. As a creator, he will open up a discussion about what pushes him to document the creation of ephemeral art. Includes guests and performance.
Wilder Building, Friday, March 20, 2020, begins at 9 PM

Tribute to Mouvement perpétuel
As part of the 20th anniversary of Mouvement Perpétuel, founded by Marlene Millar and Philippe Szporer, FIFA is paying tribute to this award-winning Montreal production company that has explored the infinite possibilities of dance on screen. A selection of their best short films, as well as a medium-length film will be shown.
Cineplex Odeon Quartier Latin, Wednesday, March 25, 2020 at 8 PM

BRUTAL DISCO: Mechanical Dance Music 1977 - Today
The SUPER TASTE collective, known for its pop, rock and disco themed evenings takes the Wilder by storm for one night only! With BRUTAL DISCO, the two DJs who perform at Le Ritz PDB, Blockhaus and Cabaret Berlin, have dreamed up a musical explosion at the intersection of the electronic and avant-garde rock sounds from 1977 to today. Perfect for fans of Jamie XX, Talking Heads, Todd Terje, Gang of Four, Marie Davidson, ESG, Devo, Caribou, Liquid Liquid and James Murphy.
Wilder Building, Thursday, March 19, 2020, begins at 9 PM


For a second year, a selection of interactive works from around the world will be presented at l’Espace culturel Georges-Émile-Lapalme at Place des Arts. The works are presented in the form of an experience bar that is free and accessible to those of all ages. This year’s edition, in addition to the regular program, will include a look back on ARTE France, highlighting its avant-garde role as an engine of production on the international stage.
Espace culturel Georges-Émile-Lapalme, from March 18 to 22, 2020

On Saturday, March 21, FIFA and MUTEK will put on an evening of electronic music with a Berlin flavour. The music will be coupled with a visual environment made up of archival footage from the former East Germany, compiled on Images of fashion, architecture, nudism, and daily life will cover the atrium of the Wilder Building for an ANTI-ARCHIV experience. A step into the past for a leap into the future.
Wilder Building, Saturday, March 21, 2020, begins at 10 PM

Bouquet Final + Célébration
A co-presentation with the McCord Museum, the film Bouquet Final is the story of students studying fashion at La Cambre, one of the world’s most renowned schools, as they design their end-of-year collections, which will elevate them from students to creators. The film will be followed by a screening
of Célébration, a film about Yves Saint-Laurent, who presented his final collection as a farewell in 2002.
McCord Museum, Thursday, March 19, 2020 at 6 PM and 8:30 PM

Tribute to Marcel Proust and Reynaldo Hahn
In partnership with the Université de Montréal and in cooperation with IRTG Diversity and the Istituto Italiano di cultura Montreal, FIFA will hold a reading and recital entitled Marcel Proust et Reynaldo
Hahn: mélodies et paroles, plaisirs d’amours et jours d’amitié
at the Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur. The author and journalist Lorenza Foschini will present her book Plaisirs d’amour, jours d’amitié de Marcel Proust et Reynaldo Hahn. She will be accompanied by pianist Jeff Cohen and baritone Oliver Bergeron, who will perform the songs of the Venezuelan composer Hahn, a close friend of Proust.
Chapelle Historique du Bon Pasteur, Wednesday, March 18, 2020 at 6 PM

Stop Motion Workshops
Workshops by Stop Motion will be offered to youngsters, aged 8 to 12. Over three hours, the participants will create an animated film from scratch: storyline, characters, setting, shooting and editing. A leap into the world of digital creativity!
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Saturday, March 28 at 1 PM, registration required

FIFA Connexions

FIFA Connexions offers conferences, round tables and meetings on themes relating to the festival for members of the public and professionals alike. This year, FIFA Connexions will discuss the following themes: Film Production and Distribution in the Digital Age (with Benjamin Hogue, director, producer and general manager of Film 3 Mars; Karine Boulanger, curator at Vidéographe; Tamsin Moufflet Genillier, AM Art Film; and Marc Kirschner, co-founder and head of product and innovation for Marquee TV), The Funding of Artistic Projects and its Contemporary Challenges (with Catherine Chagnon, producer and founder of Microclimat Films; Elsie Lefebvre, director of La Ruche; Florence Lamothe and Naomie Décarie-Daigneault, Tënk Canada Solidarity Cooperative; and Delphine Perru, AM ART Film), The Art of Filming Dance (with Édouard Lock, choreographer and director; Laurent Métivier, head of the audiovisual service at Paris Natinal Opera; Valérie Lessard, artist, teacher and videographer; Alexandre Paskanoi, Director; Guillaume Vallée, Experimental filmmaker; and Jean-Christophe Yacono, Visual and digital artist), and finally Art Therapy (with Isabelle Gagnon, psychologist and art therapist; Stephen Legari, pro manager gram of art therapy and art therapist at the MMFA; Amy Éloïse Mailloux, head of the National Dance Therapy Center at Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal; Marie-Pier Malo, head of the education and research committee within the AATQ; Guylaine Vaillancourt, music therapist and director of the art therapy department at Concordia University; and Vincent Antonini, producer of L’âge d’or).

For a third consecutive year, FIFA is proud to confirm its twin geographic locations in Montreal and Quebec City, with the ongoing cooperation of the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (MNBAQ). For the first time, festival goers will enjoy this edition at Cinéma Impérial and the Wilder Building in the heart of the Quartier des Spectacles, in addition to the usual venues such as the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA), l’Espace Georges-Émile-Lapalme at Place des Arts, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA), the McCord Museum, the J.A. de Sève Cinema at Concordia University and the Cinéma Cineplex Odeon Quartier Latin.

The International Festival of Films on Art (FIFA) is dedicated to the international promotion and distribution of films on art and media arts. For over three decades, it has presented an annual event in March, which allows discovery of the latest documentaries on art, in addition to a selection of virtual reality and interactive works. With its various activities, FIFA is committed to increasing the knowledge and appreciation of art among the public, promoting the work of artists in the fields of cinema, video and visual arts, and also encouraging the production and diffusion of art films.

FIFA wishes to thank Canadian Heritage, the Canada Council for the Arts, Telefilm Canada, SODEC, the Secrétariat à la région métropolitaine, Ville de Montréal, the Conseil des Arts de Montréal 
and Tourisme Montréal for their generous support.
FIFA would also like to highlight the important contribution of the Consulate General of France in
Québec, the Italian Cultural Institute of Montréal, the Goethe-Institute Montréal and the Consulate
General of Israel.

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