Montreal’s International Festival of Films on Art (FIFA) has picked Jill Nicholls documentary The Fatwa: Salman’s Story, about Salman Rushdie’s decade on the run from possible retribution for his novel The Satanic Verses, to be its opening night film.
The doc travels back to the events of Valentine’s day 1989, when Rushdie learned he was the subject of a fatwa, or death sentence, imposed by Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini over his book.
Festival director René Rozon has also programmed a raft of Canadian film titles for the 31st FIFA, which runs from March 14 to 24, including Patrick O’Connor’s Making a Name, about Montreal graffiti artists; and Mario Côté’s A Morte in braccio, which focuses on choreography by Jeanne Renaud and performed by Louise Bédard.
Among the 248 films from 28 countries playing at the festival is Justin Simms’ Hard Light, a portrait of Newfoundland and its inhabitants through the writings of poet-novelist Michael Crummey; Azulejos. Une utopie céramique, Luís de Moura Sobral’s look at a five-century-old artistic technique; and Paul Eichhorn’s painting documentary Aakideh: The Art & Legacy of Carl Beam, about Ojibway artist Carl Beam.
The Montreal festival also programmed a raft of theatre-themed films, including Marie-Pascale Laurencelle’s Crée-moi, crée-moi pas; Gilles Pelletier, un coeur de marin, directed by Pascal Gélinas and about a major Quebec theatre and TV star; and Pascal Gélinas’ Huguette Oligny, le goût de vivre, a portrait of the Quebec actress.