39th World Film Festival Montréal

27.08.2015 to 07.09.2015

After weeks of uncertainty the 39th World Film Festival started on August 27th. The Ecumenical Jury had to decide for an award winner among 24 films screened in the World Competition section. As winnner of the Ecumenical Prize the jury choose "The Midnight Orchestra", directed by Jerôme Coen Oliver, and awarded in addition two Commendations. The main award of the festival, the Grand Prix of the Two Americas, was taken by "Mad Love", directed by Philippe Ramos.

As opening film the festival selected "Muhammed: The Messenger of God", directed by Majid Majidi, a production from Iran with the biggest budget of a film shot in the country ever. It is likely to cause controversies because the depiction of the prophet in many parts of the Muslim world is seen as blasphemic. Majid Majidi became famous by his film "The Colours of Paradise" from 1999, a story about a blind boy.

Link: Homepage des Festivals


The Midnight Orchestra
Directed by:

"L’orchestre de minuit" (The Midnight Orchestra) uses the creative device of music in telling the story of how an estranged son’s memories are transformed when he learns about an unknown part of his father’s life. The film takes on the difficult topic of Jewish/Muslim relationships, with all its complexities, in an engaging and creative story that smashes common stereotypes with humour and compassion. We are drawn into a narrative that gives hope where there is often despair. A strong script with great characterizations allows us to see beyond the impasses that often pass for the status quo to a new world where the Midnight Orchestra composed of all peoples will play a tune of common humanity.

Havana Moment
Directed by:


"Un instante en La Habana" (Havana Moment) tells the story of two brothers separated for 23 years when their mother flees Cuba for the United States with the younger boy. The film shows us how pardon and reconciliation are possible when the American brother returns to Cuba and the two discover the best of each other, despite how much separates them. The jury wants to acknowledge the considerable and multiple talents of Guillermo Iván, the film’s director, writer and co-star. The jurors note in particular the sensitivity and authenticity of his interpretation of someone affected by a degenerative illness.

On the Road to Berlin
Directed by:

Doroga na Berlin (The Road to Berlin) is a story of the horror of war and how it offers no simple answer. Yet in the midst of it, one young soldier retains his humanity in situations that are morally ambiguous. The strong script and directing tell of how trust and loyalty develop between a guard and his prisoner. A war film that gives hope.

More about the festival

Burton Buller writes about the film which won a Commendation of the Ecumenical Jury in Montreal 2015.
Burton Buller, member of the Ecumenical Jury in Montreal 2015, tells about his impressions of the festival and the jury experience.