After screening 32 films over the course of 10 days the 17th edition of Cinemania wrapped up this past weekend. I’m sure most think that Cinemania (the film festival that screens French language films) is a niche festival that would only appeal to francophones in Montreal. Nothing could be further from the truth. Because the films are all subtitled in English that opens them up to anyone who speaks either language. That belief is proven by the fact that this year more than ever Americans were Cinemania attendees. Obviously the festival is of interest to people far and wide. And by wide I mean people attending this year’s festival came from France and Belgium.
While all of the films screened at Cinemania were of his quality, this year’s Mel Hoppenheim Prix du Public (voted on by festival attendees) was Maïwenn Le Besco’s Poliss. Maïwenn’s film, which she personally came to the festival and presented, is about the daily grind of the Police Department’s Juvenile Protection Unit. Filmed in an almost docudrama style, the film made a big impact on those that saw it, which is not surprising as it had also won the Prix du Jury at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. The engaging film was screened here as a North American premiere just weeks after it was released in France. The film will be released in Quebec in March 2012. As an added bonus, Maïwenn took part in an afternoon dialogue between herself, moderator Dennis Trudel and the audience at the Imperial Theatre.
Other films at the festival that garnered many votes were (2nd) The Snows of Kilimanjaro, (3rd) The Well Digger’s Daughter, (4th) You Will Be My Son, and (5th) Free Man. The quality this year was stunning.
Guests were aplenty this year with 16 directors, actors, producers, and industry professionals all making an appearance at Cinemania. The focus of the festival is not only to bring the best French language films to the city, but also encourage and enable a dialogue between filmmakers and filmgoers.
See you next year!