Those who repeat the past are bound to forget it.
Tournes ! Tournes ! Tournes !
The idea for the Montreal Film Group was created on June 24th, 2004, during a catch-up phone call between Montreal filmmakers John Christou and Ezra Soiferman. The two discussed the idea of a new group to bring filmmakers together. On July 28th of that same year, John, Ezra and eight other film and TV friends assembled at a Ciné Express Café on St-Catherine St. West to talk further about the idea. Two others who were invited were out of town and couldn't attend. You can see the complete list of MFG Co-Founders here.
Over the course of several subsequent café or bar meet-ups, the group took on the name The Montreal Film Group and began taking on new members. Then, the meet-ups started to be called Events. The first event, on September 23rd, 2004, was a "Bring Your Own Shorts" screening party at John Christou and Alec Mathewson's old Creative Matter office on St-Ambroise Street. About 25 people showed up and over a dozen great shorts of all genres were shown. The mission statement of the group at the time was: "A collective of emerging Montreal film professionals relentlessly pursuing the creation, promotion and distribution of its members' films."
Over the next year there were more events and the list of members grew to about 50 people in the film and TV business. There was no fee to join and there is still none today.
In June 2005, John Christou stepped down as Co-Director of the MFG to join the board of DOC-Quebec and continue with his job at the time at EyeSteel Film. Ezra Soiferman became the MFG's sole director and made a call-out to the group's members for a new co-director to help take the group to the next level.
In October 2005, MFG co-founder Val Lonergan stepped forward and joined Ezra as Co-Director. Val's vision was to build an MFG web site (one hadn't yet existed), to increase membership and to hold monthly events to bring members together more regularly.
On January 16th, 2006, the MFG website, designed by Brian Lack, was launched and within one month membership had risen from about 50 to 300. The web site launch party at NDG's Shaika Café brought together close to 250 MFG members and other industry folks curious as to what the MFG was all about.
Over the course of the next nearly two and a half years, Val and Ezra increased membership to over 1500 members, lined up a slew of impressive industry partners and event sponsors and threw vibrant events and workshops around the city on a near-monthly basis. In January 2007, the Montreal Film Group was featured on the cover of the Montreal Mirror as "Noisemakers of the Year."
In April 2008, Val Lonergan stepped down as MFG Co-Director in order to devote more time to her screenwriting career and continue on at her busy job at one of Canada's leading film distribution companies.