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Canadian Film Festival Opens Tonight


The Canadian Film Festival 2003 opens tonight and runs until March 30, featuring nine internationally acclaimed productions.

The films will be shown at the Hong Kong City Hall Theatre, the Hong Kong Space Museum Lecture Hall and the Hong Kong Film Archive Cinema.

The festival is jointly presented by the Film Programmes Office of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and the Consulate General of Canada in Hong Kong, which is marking its 75th anniversary this year.

Tonight's opening film is "Atanarjuat the Fast Runner" (2001), the first feature-length drama written, produced, directed and acted entirely by Inuit (Eskimos), as the inhabitants of Canada's far north are known. The film won the Camera d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2001 and was chosen Best Canadian Feature Film at the Toronto International Film Festival the same year.

Another highlight is "Ararat"(2002), the latest work by acclaimed director Atom Egoyan, who drew on his Armenian heritage to reflect on the ways the past and the present interconnect.

"Obachan's Garden" (2001) recounts the life journey of a 103-year-old grandmother who left Hiroshima as a "picture bride" and settled in Vancouver. The film was voted Most Popular Canadian Film at the Vancouver International Film Festival in 2001.

In the family-film category are "Alice Tremblay's Odyssey" (2002), in which a single mother hilariously fulfills her fantasy of becoming a princess, and "Mysterious C."(2002), about a substitute teacher who lacks the respectable image usually associated with teaching.

"Khaled"(2001), an independent work, has been described as a contemporary rendition of the Francois Truffaut classic "The 400 Blows". It deals with a 10-year-old boy's attempts to carry on after his mother dies suddenly. The film won the FIPRESCI International Critics' Award (Special Mention) at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2001 and the award for best direction at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival last year.

"Soft Shell Man" (2001) received seven prizes at the Jutra Awards in 2001, including Best Feature and Best Director for Andre Turpin. It's a romantic comedy about a man whose inability to commit is matched only by his inability to say no.

"The Left Side of the Fridge"(2000), a fictional documentary, shows how men try to find joy in difficult situations. It won the Best Canadian First Feature Award at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2000.

"Memories of Earth"(2002), an environmental documentary, reconstructs a native Canadian creation myth. It contains stunning footage of unspoiled landscape and a captivating accompaniment by the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.

All films at the Canadian Film Festival 2003 are in English or carry English subtitles. "Atanarjuat the Fast Runner", "Ararat", "Khaled" and "The Mysterious Miss C." have Chinese subtitles.

Tickets priced at $40 are available at all URBTIX outlets. Half-price concessionary tickets are available for senior citizens, people with disabilities, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) recipients. A 10 percent discount will be offered for each purchase of six to 10 tickets and 20 percent discount for 11 tickets or more.

For information call 2734 2900 or browse the website at Reservations can be made by phone at 2734 9009 or on the Internet at

End/Thursday, March 20, 2003

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