Santa Barbara International Film Festival
The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) is one of four major filmfests in the Los Angeles area. Each year, it zeroes in on cinema from a specific nation via its “Focus On...” section. For its 25th-anniversary edition, held from February 4 to 14, the SBIFF introduced film buffs to Québec’s high-quality cinema.
Thirteen of Québec’s most popular, critically acclaimed recent films received an enthusiastic welcome from California film-goers. Indeed, given the positive word-of-mouth and press buzz, extra screenings had to be added. About 200 representatives of the film industry and media attended a reception held by the Québec government office in Los Angeles to honour the Québec actors and directors who attended the SBIFF.
Two young Québec filmmakers were singled out for top honours — the Grand Jury and Audience awards — at this year’s Slamdance Film Festival. Created in 1995, Slamdance is dedicated entirely to independent cinema. Held at the end of January in Park City, Utah, it bills itself an alternative event to the city’s high-profile Sundance Film Festival.
The Grand Jury Award for Best Narrative Film went to Charles-Olivier Michaud of Québec City for his first feature film, Snow and Ashes. It tells the story of Blaise, a war correspondent confronted by the disappearance of a photographer friend and colleague upon his return from an Eastern European conflict zone. Snow and Ashes stars Rhys Coiro (Entourage, 24), David-Alexandre Coiteux, Lina Roessler and Senator Jean Lapointe.
The Wild Hunt, by Alexandre Franchi, won the Audience Award for Best Narrative Film. Franchi’s thriller follows the main character into a medieval role-playing game on a search for his estranged girlfriend — and the game takes a disturbing turn. The Wild Hunt was singled out last fall at the Toronto International Film Festival for the Best Canadian First Feature Film Award.
Palm Springs International Film Festival
In early January at the Palm Springs International Film Festival in California, Québec actress Anne Dorval received the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) Award for Best Actress, for her performance in J’ai tué ma mère (I Killed My Mother). Since its release last year, Xavier Dolan first film has won about a dozen prizes in Québec, Canada and abroad.
The Québec government office in Los Angeles, which promotes Québec cinema in the western United States, is delighted with the positive reaction to Québec films in early 2010.
Québec government office in Los Angeles