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Canadian Film Festival opens tonight

The Canadian Film Festival 2006 opens tonight (March 6) and runs until March 19, featuring an impressive and diverse selection of contemporary Canadian films and a retrospective on the acclaimed film director, Atom Egoyan.

Jointly presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and the Consulate General of Canada, the films will be shown at the Theatre of Hong Kong City Hall, the Cinema of Hong Kong Film Archive, and Lecture Hall of the Hong Kong Space Museum.

Tonight's opening film is Egoyan's highly acclaimed film, "Where the Truth Lies", which was nominated for The Palme d'Or, Cannes Film Festival 2005. The director is in Hong Kong for the premiere of the film and other promotional activities.

The 13 films featured also include "3 Needles", which had its world premiere at last year's Toronto International Film Festival, "The Blue Butterfly", which is filled with poetic imagery, the highly creative "The Saddest Music in the World", romantic comedy "Love and Magnets" and three shorts including the Oscar-winning animated short, "Ryan".

Fans of Egoyan can enjoy works from different phases of his career in the retrospective, "The Anonymity of Connection: Atom Egoyan". The six films featured are: the opening film "Where the Truth Lies", the probing dramas "The Sweet Hereafter", "Exotica" and "The Adjuster", and Armenian stories "Ararat" and "Calendar".

As one of Canada's most distinguished filmmakers, Egoyan is a frequent name at the top-tier international film festivals. His films are life-refreshing, sensual and touching, often weaving past and present through different incidents, locations and characters.

Adapted from Russell Banks' novel, the poetic and haunting film, "The Sweet Hereafter" (1997), is Egoyan's masterpiece. Winner of the Grand Prize of the Jury and FIPRESCI Prize at Cannes Film Festival 1997, the film was nominated for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay in the Academy Awards 1998.

"Calendar" (1993) and "Ararat" (2002) are personal statements on Egoyan's Armenian homeland. "Ararat" (2002) won five Genie Awards in 2003, including Best Picture, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor.

"The Adjuster" (1991), focuses on voyeurism and twisted morality, and the darkly mysterious "Exotica" (1994) brought Egoyan a stronger reputation in the international film community and a wider audience. The two films won Best Canadian Feature Film at the Toronto International Film Festival in 1991 and 1994. "The Adjuster" was awarded Special Jury Prize at the Moscow International Film Festival 1991 and "Exotica" won the FIPRESCI Prize at Cannes Film Festival 1994.

Not to be missed in the festival is "The Saddest Music in The World" (2003) directed by Guy Maddin, who has been described as Canada’s answer to David Lynch. Isabella Rossellini plays the double amputee baroness who organises a competition looking for the saddest music in the world. With jump cuts, high contrast and snowy screens, the film is a nostalgic visual experience reminiscent of the 1930s. It was awarded Best Director at the US Comedy Arts Festival 2004, and Best Screenplay-Adapted at the Chlotrudis Awards 2005.

"The Blue Butterfly" (2004), which is filled with poetic imagery, is based on a true story. Ten-year-old Pete is terminally ill with cancer and his last wish is to search for the most beautiful blue butterfly in the rainforest. Young actor Marc Donato offers a moving performance. The three intertwined stories in "3 Needles"(2005), which had its world premiere at last year's Toronto Film Festival, show our inability to deal with the AIDS epidemic.

"Les Aimants" (Love and Magnets) (2004) is a romantic piece with a pretty heart-broken young lady trying to help her sister’s failing relationship by forging love notes from her sister to her fiance on their fridge. The messages, however, fall into the wrong hands leading to crossed signals that results in a new love...

Other highlights are selected short films from the National Film Board of Canada, "Ryan" (2004) won Best Animated Short Film at the Academy Awards 2005, "Hardwood" (2004) was nominated for Best Documentary (Short Subject) at the Academy Awards 2004. With "In the Shadow of Gold Mountain" (2004), Karen Cho uncovers a dark chapter in Canadian history of how Chinese Canadians struggled to survive.

All films in the "Canadian Film Festival 2006" are in English or provided with English subtitles. "Where the Truth Lies", "The Saddest Music in the World", "The Blue Butterfly" and "3 Needles" will have Chinese subtitles.

Tickets priced at $40 are available at URBTIX outlets. Half-price concessionary tickets are available for senior citizens, people with disabilities, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients. A 10% discount will be offered for each purchase of 6-10 tickets and 20% discount for 11 tickets or more.

For programme information, please call 2734 2900 or visit . Reservations can be made by phone on 2734 9009 or on the Internet at .

Ends/Monday, March 6, 2006

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