When the lights went down at the Imperial Theatre on Sunday evening at the start of the screening of the closing film, Party Girl by directors Samuel Theis, Marie Amachoukeli and Claire Burger, it signaled the end of another year for Cinemania, Montreal’s French language film festival. It was the 20th birthday for Cinemania and it continues to be an important and well attended film festival, so its third decade looks like it will be as “healthy” as the first two.
A new record attendance happened over the eleven days of the festival in which over 25,000 people bought tickets to films and attended other special events held in relation. Of the 55 films that were screened (85 total screenings), 33 were premieres. The festival’s roster was comprised of the work of 57 directors for which 7 of them it was their first film. Not bad for a festival that started off with a few screenings at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Year 21 should not be missed and will take place from November 5 – 15, 2015.
On Sunday evening the festival handing out its awards and here is a list of the winners:
Mel Hoppenheim Audience Award – Diplomacy by Volker Schlöndorff. The film looks at the duel that occurred during World War II in 1944 between General Choltitz of Hitler’s Nazi army and Swedish consul, Nordling. Nordling is trying to dissuade Choltitz to follow Hitler’s order to embark on the destruction of Paris. This is the big award for the festival and has been given since 1998.
TFO Audience Award for Best First Feature Film – Elle L’Adore by Jeanne Herry. About a French singer who is embroiled in something that if the public finds out about it could ruin his career. The film was part thriller and part black comedy with actor Laurent Lafitte turning in an excellent performance in the lead role. It will open in theatres in Quebec during the early part of 2015. Festival attendees voted for this film as their favourite amongst the seven eligible for the prize.