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News / November 29, 2018

Montreal Film Fest and Image Biennial Team Up for First Time

In a new initiative, FIFA and Momenta are co-producing a program of emerging video art practices
Laïla Mestari’s <em>Cette émotion ultime</em> (2017) is one of the video artworks that will be in the new program. Image courtesy of the artist. Laïla Mestari’s Cette émotion ultime (2017) is one of the video artworks that will be in the new program. Image courtesy of the artist.

The Festival international du film sur l’art was founded in 1981. Momenta biennale de l’image began in 1989. Now, after so many years of working separately on the on connections between art and images, the two organizations are partnering on an emerging-artist video program.

The new joint program “in praesentia/in absentia,” curated by emerging Montreal filmmaker Émilie Serri, will screen at Dazibao on March 20 and 21, 2019. This coincides with the FIFA 2019 run from March 19 to 31.

Audrey Genois, executive director of Momenta, is a longtime friend of mine, and we said, ‘We have to do something together,’” says FIFA executive director Philippe U. del Drago, who just came on board this year. “And we wanted to give a young curator the opportunity to express themselves.”

“In our events we usually present well-established artists,” says Genois. “So we were looking to find ways to include more emerging artists in our programs.”

Drago and Genois approached Serri with the idea, and mentored her during the project lead-up. The program ended up including work by emerging artists Arash Akhgari; Faraz Anoushahpour, Parastoo Anoushahpour and Ryan Ferko; Freya Björg Olafson; Francisco Gonzalez Rosas; MOTEL HÉLÈNE (Frédérique Laliberté and Philippe Lauzier); Laïla Mestari; Zinnia Naqvi; and Robin Pineda Gould.

“The idea is to repeat this collaboration each year in the context of FIFA,” says Genois. “It’s a great opportunity for Momenta to be present outside of the regular biennale run,” which is every other September or so. Genois says more such programs are in the works, to be announced soon.

“We have been talking about the importance of networks for years,” says del Drago, “and it’s not just established institutions that should work together.”

These networks are hoped to expand further with this video program after the FIFA run, too.

“We hope the program will be travelling all across Canada” says del Drago. “Mostly, it is Canadian artists that Émilie selected, so we are talking to different partners to make this program travel.”

This article was corrected on November 29, 2018. The original incorrectly stated Momenta’s year of inception. It also failed to correctly identify Arash Akhgari and Faraz Anoushahpour.

Leah Sandals

Leah Sandals is a writer and editor based in Toronto. Her arts journalism has appeared in the Toronto Star, National Post and Globe and Mail, among other publications, and her creative work has been published in Prism, Room and Freefall. She can be reached via