26th CINEMANIA: A Window onto la Francophonie from November 4 to 22

ONLINE FROM NOVEMBER 4-22
ACROSS CANADA

The 26th edition of the CINEMANIA Film Festival will be held online from November 4 to 22. This year, the Festival is pleased to present 43 feature films, including a number of titles that will be premiering for the first time in Quebec, Canada, North America, and in some cases the World. Many of these titles have been selected as some of the best in Francophone cinema, and all will be presented with English subtitles. For the first time ever, due to the circumstances surrounding this very unique edition, the Festival will be made available to everyone in Quebec, but also to audiences across Canada, who will have a chance to view all titles included in this year’s CINEMANIA program. In fact, the event is migrating online with a digital offering that will be available for 19 days on a dedicated broadcasting platform created in association with FestivalScope and Shift72. Selected titles will each be available for 48 hours, over two distinct periods.

With a 26th edition adapted to our current circumstances, CINEMANIA is re-centering its selection on the very best Francophone productions available. With its programming, the Festival reminds us of the importance of cultural pluralism, and how crucial it is for major Francophone communities to engage in dialogue with one another. With forays into the three major poles of production that are Europe, Africa, and North America, and thanks to a strong Quebec presence, now more than ever, CINEMANIA’s programming will help enhance the influence of Francophone culture as a whole.

Louis Bélanger: Guest of Honour at the 26th Edition

This year, the festival has prepared a retrospective dedicated to Quebec cinematographer Louis Bélanger. As part of the very first event entirely dedicated to his work, CINEMANIA will present clips from the director’s most memorable films online, in collaboration with la Cinémathèque Québécoise. Along with this retrospective, the Festival will give audience members access to a free LOUIS BÉLANGER MASTERCLASS, which willgive festivalgoers a chance to learn more about the work of the Post Mortem director, who will be awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres de la République française this year. For those who would like to learn more about this topic, CINEMANIA will also be presenting a short film produced by the Festival, which will be broadcast on its online platform. In this never-before-seen film, Quebec director Kalina Bertin meets with Louis Bélanger and his close collaborators including director of photography Pierre Mignot, filmmaker and university lecturer Denis Chouinard, and Bélanger’s own brother, the harmonica player Guy Bélanger, who scored six of the director’s films. 

NIGHT OF THE KINGS by Philippe Lacôte (pre-opening) 

In keeping with the traditions of recent years, the Festival will launch with an online pre-opening screening on Wednesday, November 4, 2020, with a screening of Philippe Lacôte’s exceptional film, NIGHT OF THE KINGS, in collaboration with the Ministère des Relations internationales et de la Francophonie du Québec, the Bureau du Québec à Abidjan and TV5 Québec-Canada. The film had its word premiere in Venice, and was later screened at TIFF, representing Ivory Coast in the race to win an Academy Award for Best International Film. NIGHT OF THE KINGS is a coproduction between Canada, Ivory Coast, France, and Senegal – the first of its kind. This poetic film addresses the topic of oral storytelling in traditional Ivory Coast culture, in addition to prison environments, the country’s youth, and the political climate of the Ouattara era. It stars Bakary Koné, Steve Tientcheu (Les Misérables), Burkina Faso actors Rasmané Ouedraogo and Issaka Sawadogo (Diego StarSamba), Digbeu Jean Cyrille, Abdoul Karim Konate, Anzian Marcel, Denis Lavant (Holy Motors, The Lovers on the Bridge) and Ivory Coast artist Laetitia Ky. 

Audiences will also be able to attend a DISCUSSION WITH PHILIPPE LACÔTE, produced in collaboration with l’Institut Français and the Consulat général de France à Québec, availableonline as of November 1st. The Festival will also be screening the short documentary DERRIÈRE LE PROJET DE LA NUIT DES ROIS, UNE AVENTURE RACONTÉE PAR CINEMANIA (Behind the scenes of the Night of the Kings project, a journey documented by CINEMANIA), which takes a look at how the project came to light. The film was produced especially for the Festival, and features interviews with Quebec technicians and producers who worked on this ambitious project. It will be available for free for the entire duration of the Festival. Finally, to cap this “Round of the NIGHT OF THE KINGS,” CINEMANIA is proud to screen a rare film, Philippe’s very first documentary, which he directed in 2002: CHRONICLES OF WAR IN THE IVORY COAST. This film is a veritable cornerstone in his oeuvre and will help viewers understand how NIGHT OF THE KINGS came to be. 

Many Unreleased Titles

The Festival has many unreleased titles in store, all of which have made their mark on the international film festival circuit over the past year. Audiences will also have a chance to enjoy many feature films that have been given the official Cannes 2020 Label, such as SUMMER OF 85 by François Ozon (By the Grace of God), a dark and passionate romantic encounter between two teenage boys in the 1980s starring Benjamin Voisin. The title was filmed in the Normandy Region, which is a partner of this screening. Benjamin Voisin also stars in Benjamin Parent’s MAN UP!SLALOM by Charlène Favier revisits the theme of sexual abuse in the world of French sports, particularly downhill skiing with Noée Abita and Jérémie Renier; JOSEP by Aurel, an animated film that addresses the trauma experienced by Spanish refugees fleeing the Francoist regime in 1939, locked up in concentration camps in the South of France. Other films that have received the Cannes 2020 Label include: SPRING BLOSSOM, the first feature film by Suzanne Lindon, who has created a fresco of Parisian adolescence; MY BEST PART by Nicolas Maury, starring the director alongside Nathalie Baye as a touching mother-son duo, and the comedy MY DONKEY, MY LOVER & I by Caroline Vignal starring Laure Calamy – a film that was very well received upon its initial release in France and at the Angoulême Film Festival. 

Festivalgoers will also have access to numerous films including MAMA WEED by Jean-Paul Salomé starring Isabelle Huppert as an unhinged cannabis trafficker; ÉLÉONORE by Amro Hamzawi starring the director’s sister, comedian Nora Hamzawi, which audiences were introduced to in 2018’s Non-Fiction; the romantic comedy SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE by Cédric Klapisch starring Ana Girardot and François Civil; TWO OF US, a drama by Filippo Meneghetti starring Léa Drucker; ALL HANDS ON DECK, the new film by Guillaume Brac; GOLD FOR DOGS, a teen dramaby Anna Cazenave Cambet; FELICITÀ by Bruno Merlestarring Pio Marmaï as a bohemian father who wanders the roads of France with his wife and daughter; the Franco-German family drama THE AUDITION by Ina Weisse in partnership with the Goethe-InstitutSAVAGE STATE, a French feminist Western that was partly filmed in Quebec, directed by David Perrault and starring Alice Isaaz, Kevin Janssens and Déborah François; MARGAUX HARTMANN by Ludteovic Bergery marks Emmanuelle Béart’s return to cinema after 8 years away, along with Vincent Dedienne and Eva Ionesco; NIGHT RIDE, the first feature film by Frédéric Farrucci, a love story between a young woman incarnated by singer Camelia Jordana and an immigrant taxi driver played by Guang Huo; THE THIRD WAR by Giovanni Aloi, which was discovered at the Venice Film Festival and is a powerful deep dive into the French Army’s anti-terrorism brigade starring Leïla Bekhti, Anthony Bajon and Karim Leklou; THE LOST PRINCE by Oscar-winning director Michel Hazanavicus, starring Omar Sy, whom viewers can also see in NIGHT SHIFT by Anne Fontaine alongside Virginie Efira presented by the channel StudioCanal; the dramatic comedy MY DAYS OF GLORY by Antoine De Bary starring Vincent Lacoste, Noée Abita and Emmanuelle Devos; MISS by Ruben Alves, a touching narrative about transgender identity; an adaptation of the John Fante novel MY DOG STUPID by Yvan Attal starring Charlotte Gainsbourg; UN MONDE PLUS GRAND by Fabienne Berthaud in collaboration with the channel Planète +, which offers a foray into the universe of Mongolia’s shamanic rituals alongside Cécile De France; TOWARDS THE BATTLE, a historical review by Aurélien Vernhes-Lermusiaux who takes the viewer on a journey into a little-known slice of history: the Second French Intervention in Mexico instigated by Napoleon III until 1867; the burlesque Moroccan drama THE UNKNOWN SAINT by Alaa Eddine Aljem; MADRE, a Franco-Spanish drama by Rodrigo Sorogoyen, presented by the Embassy of Spain inCanada; UNDER THE STARS OF PARIS by Claus Drexel starring Catherine Frot; SOEURS by Yamina Benguigui starring Isabelle Adjani which, along with HOME FRONT by Lucas Belvaux and THE BREITNER COMMANDO by Abdel Raouf Dafri, will give festivalgoers a chance to experience a piece of Algerian history.

Among its favourites, CINEMANIA is proud to present MISS directed by Ruben Alves who has used this work to celebrate female courage in all its forms and fight against preconceived notions. Alexandre Wetter, a fashion model discovered by Jean Paul Gaultier in the context of his Spring-Summer 2016 fashion show makes his cinematic debut in the role of a young trans woman who wants be crowned Miss France. His performance is disconcertingly sincere and authentic. Another one of this year’s heart stoppers is THE STICKY SIDE OF BAKLAVA directed by Lebanese filmmaker Maryanne Zéhil, which will have its world premiere at the Festival. The comedy paints a portrait of the Lebanese community in Montreal. It offers up an extremely funny yet affectionately whimsical perspective of Lebanese Montrealers and the way they’re perceived by the Québécois. 

Audiences will also be able to view a number of titles that raise important questions about the political, social, and cultural climate of the countries where they were made. For instance, in MICAIsmaël Ferroukhi showcases social inequities in Morocco; WORKING GIRLS by Frédéric Fonteyne and Anne Paulicevich explores the world of prostitution in France with Sara Forestier and Noémie Lvovsky; the animated film JOSEP by newspaper cartoonist Aurel; A GOOD MAN by Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar starring Soko and Noémie Merlant, which audiences got to know last year in Portrait of a Lady on FireOUR LADY OF THE NILE by Atiq Rahimi looks at the genesis and mechanisms of the Rwandan genocide; and SHOULD THE WIND DROP by Nora Martirosyan tackles the very tense political climate in the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh in Armenia – a very topical issue these days.

Last but not least, local cinema is also looking especially good this year. In fact, several Quebec titles will be premiering at CINEMANIA, including the family drama VACARME by Neegan Trudel. Starring Sophie Desmarais, Kelly Dépeault and Rosalie Pépin, this film sheds light on the turbulent times of teen girls who’ve been ordered to live in a group home by the DPJ (Quebec’s department of youth protection). Also in store: Maryanne Zéhil’s THE STICKY SIDE OF BLAKLAVA, which offers a foray into the heart of Montreal’s Lebanese community; JE M’APPELLE HUMAIN, presented by le Centre de la Francophonie des Amériques, which is the latest documentary by Kim O’Bomsawin about the History of a People across multiple millennia and a free-spirited woman who has devoted her life to passing down her knowledge and the wisdom of her ancestors; the comedy FLASHWOOD by Jean-Carl Boucher starring Pier-Luc Funk, Antoine Desrochers, and Simon Pigeon will also be presented to the public after having been released in Quebec theatres this summer.

CINEMANIA will also present a documentary dedicated to the art of film and cinema, also known as “the seventh art.” CÉSAR PREMIÈRE is a film by Patrick Fabre, where the official red carpet emcee for the Cannes Film Festival takes a look at one of the most prestigious awards in French cinema.

Special Events and Screenings

As part of its online offering, CINEMANIA is also proposing a series of special events and screenings: 

  • Call My Agent! Season 4

In partnership with Tou.TV, festival attendees will be able to enjoy the first two episodes of the final season of CALL MY AGENT! (DIX POUR CENT). On November 6 and 7, reunite with ASK agents Andrea, Mathias, Arlette, Camille, Gabriel, Hervé and Noémie alongside Charlotte Gainsbourg and Franck Dubosc, among others. Viewers will also get to see two of the show’s actors in MY BEST PART directed by and starring Nicolas Maury as well as MY DONKEY, MY LOVER & I by Caroline Vignal starring Laure Calamy, which are both included in the Festival’s feature film selection. 

  • A glance at the “REGARD” Festival

On Thursday, March 12, 2020, after a single day of activities, the 24th edition of the Saguenay International Short Film Festival was suddenly interrupted due to the risks associated with COVID-19. In light of the obstacles that have plagued us in 2020, CINEMANIA wanted to underscore the resilience and exceptional work of the Festival during this unique period. And so, REGARD helped CINEMANIA enter the realm of short film; for the first time in our history, the Montreal festival is adding a competitive component, including 26 short international films in honour of its 26th edition. Nine of the Quebec films that are featured in this new CINEMANIA competition were originally part of this year’s REGARD program. Because most were not able to be screened on site as part of the Saguenay festival following its cancellation, CINEMANIA has decided to take them under its wing. Among other things, all films will be eligible for the new Nespresso-AQCC Jury Award ($1,500 will be awarded to the best director).

  • Rebuilding Beirut with the Canadian Red Cross

CINEMANIA’S programming is firmly rooted in contemporary Francophone culture, particularly the fundamental political and social issues of Francophone countries. For this reason, to show our solidarity with and support of Lebanon, the CINEMANIA Festival is partnering with the Canadian Red Cross, to which we will donate a part of our proceeds from tickets sold for online screenings of THE STICKY SIDE OF BAKLAVA, which depicts Montreal’s Lebanese community.CINEMANIA will donate $1 from each ticket sold for the screenings of November 8 and 19, which will take place on our broadcasting platform, which is accessible across Canada. 

  • Short films from Saint-Jean-De-Luz at CINEMANIA

France’s International Saint-Jean-de-Luz Film Festival just celebrated its 7th anniversary. Headed by Patrick Fabre, the official red carpet emcee for the Cannes Film Festival, this event is exclusively dedicated to first and second films. In 2020, CINEMANIA forged a new partnership with the French Festival – a symbol of the active and dynamic relationships between Quebec and France. This year and in years to come, all short films selected by the Saint-Jean-de-Luz Festival (every year in October) will be featured as part of CINEMANIA’s programming in November. Accordingly, among the 34 short films in CINEMANIA’s selection, 8 of them will stem from Saint-Jean-de-Luz’s selection. These titles are also eligible for the new Nespresso-AQCC Jury Award.

  • Éducation à l’Image Symposium

In collaboration with the Consulat général de France à Québec, CINEMANIA and Mediafilm have teamed up to offer, for the 3rd consecutive year, two mornings of workshops on the topic of visual image education. The workshops will take place on November 10 and 11, and were specifically designed for high school teachers who are interested in exploring the educational potential of film. Both sessions will begin with the screening of a feature film, followed by a discussion led by a specialized mediator.

  • Exclusive partnership with CRAVE

As a result of its collaboration with BellCINEMANIA has entered into a partnership with the Crave streaming service. This partnership will culminate in a collection of dedicated films on the streaming service entitled, “CINEMANIA Festival – WINDOW ONTO LA FRANCOPHONIE.” This collection will be available to everyone who subscribes to the streaming service as of the end of the 26th edition, from November 22 to December 6, acting as an extension of the festival, with several premieres from this year, including Neegan Trudel’s VACARME and Jean-Carl Boucher’s FLASHWOOD, but also MY DOG STUPID by Yvan Attal and SAVAGE STATE by David Perrault. 

Visages de la Francophonie Prize, Jury, and Competition 

A youth jury supervised by comedian Juliette Gosselin will be in charge of awarding the Prix jeunesse francophone TV5 (TV5 Youth Francophone Award). This Jury will most notably include Pascal Plante and Nahema Ricci, and will award its prize to one of 10 films. All titles in the running have been selected for the strong and original perspective brought forth by next-generation filmmakers about issues that are currently affecting the countries, regions, and cultures that make up the large mosaic of Francophone culture as part of the “Visages de la Francophonie” competition. This project was initiated by the Consulat général de France à Québec and made possible by Film Fund Luxembourg, the Offices Internationaux du Québec, the Office Franco-Québécois pour la Jeunesse and the Centre de la Francophonie des Amériques

The titles retained for the “Visages de la Francophonie” competition are: VACARME by Neegan Trudel; A GOOD MAN by Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar; WORKING GIRLS by Frédéric Fonteyne and Anne Paulicevich; JE M’APPELLE HUMAIN by Kim O’Bomsawin; JOSEP by Aurel; NIGHT OF THE KINGS by Philippe Lacôte; MICA by Ismaël Ferroukhi; OUR LADY OF THE NILE by Atiq Rahimi; THE BREITNER COMMANDO by Abdel Raouf Dafri; SHOULD THE WIND DROP by Nora Martirosyan. Please note that the public will also be asked to vote for the traditional Mel Hoppenheim Prix du public

Creation of the “Award for Excellence for Best Quebec Film or Coproduction” made possible by Michel Trudel.

Whereas the Quebec film industry has gone through difficult months in 2020, CINEMANIA would like to show its solidarity and do its part to promote films from here. The Festival is especially proud and happy to launch this brand new award, made possible by the generous support of entrepreneur Michel Trudel, founder of Mel’s Cité du Cinéma and Locations Michel Trudel. The winning film will be selected by members of the Youth Francophone Jury. Accordingly, seven titles from Quebec or coproductions with Quebec will be eligible to win this new prestigious award, and $2,500 will be awarded to the Canadian distributor of the winning film to help contribute to its national reach. 

Box Office

We realize that our multiple offerings may be difficult for audience members to follow. For this reason, CINEMANIA has simplified and adapted its rates for this special edition: 

“CINEMANIA ONLINE” SINGLE TICKET = $8.00 per film

“CINEMANIA ONLINE” PASS = $65.00

The 26th edition of CINEMANIA will be held from November 4 to 22, with an additional offering available online across Canada.The first tickets are now available for purchase on our website: festivalcinemania.com.

www.festivalcinemania.com 

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