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The NFB at the 34th Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois. Strong contingent of 19 films and 2 virtual-reality productions, including 3 world premieres and 5 shorts in competition.
February 3, 2016 – Montreal – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)
At the upcoming 34th edition of the Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois (RVCQ), the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) will present a strong, diversified line-up of 19 films and two virtual-reality productions, which will include three world premieres: the feature-length documentary Quand ferme l’usine (When the Mill Closes), directed by Simon Rodrigue, the documentary short Forces tranquilles (Quiet Forces), directed by Sophie Dupuis, and the animated virtual-reality experience Minotaur, directed by Munro Ferguson. The feature-length documentary Grassroots in Dry Lands (Semeurs d’espoir en terres arides) by Helene Klodawsky (InformAction Films / NFB), will have its Quebec premiere. All works will be presented in French or with French subtitles. The RVCQ will take place February 18 to 27, 2016.
Five NFB productions and co-productions will also screen in the RVCQ short film competition: Ondes et silence (Quiet Zone), by Karl Lemieux and David Bryant (NFB), Entrevue avec un homme libre (Interview with a Free Man), by Nicolas Lévesque (Spira/NFB), L’enfer marche au gaz! (Hell Runs on Gasoline!) by Martin Bureau (Spira/NFB), Manifeste de sang (Blood Manifesto), by Theodore Ushev (NFB), and Ma crise cardiaque (My Heart Attack), by Sheldon Cohen (NFB).
Montreal audiences will thus have the chance to discover, or rediscover, on the big screen, a selection of VR, documentary and animation works that have shone on the national and international festival circuit over the past year.
World premieres at the RVCQ
- Quand ferme l’usine (dir. Simon Rodrigue, NFB) – documentary feature
For decades, the pulp and paper industry was a jewel in the crown of Canada’s economy. Today, with so many mills closing down, what future is there for the forest communities that sprang up and prospered around them? Through lucid, inspired testimonials by former workers, this film delves into the industry’s glorious past and gauges the true impact of mill closings on local populations as well as on land management.
- Forces tranquilles (dir. Sophie Dupuis, NFB) – documentary short
An immersive look at the daily lives of sailors aboard a Canadian frigate on a mission somewhere in the Pacific.
- Minotaur (dir. Munro Ferguson, NFB) – virtual-reality animation
An abstract depiction of the journey of the mythical hero toward death and rebirth. Featuring original music by Kid Koala and originally created in SANDDE, the world’s first freehand stereoscopic 3D animation software, then adapted for VR immersion.
- Grassroots in Dry Lands (dir. Helene Klodawsky, InformAction Films / NFB) – documentary feature
This film explores a unique human-rights-based approach to democratic change in the Middle East.
Short films in competition
- Ondes et silence (dir. Karl Lemieux and David Bryant, NFB)
Combining elements of documentary, film essay and experimental cinema, this work defies genres to address electromagnetic hypersensitivity.
- Entrevue avec un homme libre (dir. Nicolas Lévesque, Spira/NFB)
Several men go through a job interview in this disconcerting but captivating film whose cleverly oblique narration keeps the viewer guessing.
- L’enfer marche au gaz! (dir. Martin Bureau, Spira/NFB)
A race at the Saint-Félicien racetrack goes from bone-jarring, ear-splitting infernal vision to eerie silence.
- Manifeste de sang (dir. Theodore Ushev, NFB)
Animated with the filmmaker’s own blood, this is a violent poem about ideals that may—or may not—be worth giving one’s life for.
- Ma crise cardiaque (dir. Sheldon Cohen, NFB)
An irony-infused animated short that tells the true story of what happens when “a nice Jewish boy with Buddhist inclinations” suffers a heart attack. The English narration is by the director, while the French version is voiced by Marc Labrèche.
The year 2015 was a fertile one for documentaries at the NFB, with several high-profile films that engaged audiences with their subject matter and the originality of the filmmakers’ perspectives, while addressing fundamental social issues and topical stories (Pipelines, pouvoir et démocratie). These docs have enjoyed success in national and international festivals (Ouïghours, prisonniers de l’absurde) as well as on extensive tours in Quebec (Le commerce du sexe).
- Pipelines, pouvoir et démocratie (Pipelines, Power and Democracy) (dir. Olivier D. Asselin, NFB)
Quebec activists and politicians mobilize to fight pipeline projects and the planned construction of an oil tanker terminal in the town of Cacouna. A 20-city tour of Quebec will be announced tomorrow for this film, whose subject matter continues to make headlines.
- Ouïghours, prisonniers de l’absurde (Uyghurs: Prisoners of the Absurd) (dir. Patricio Henríquez, Macumba Media / NFB)
Ranging from northern China to Afghanistan to the U.S. base at Guantánamo, this is the incredible odyssey of a group of Uyghur exiles unjustly linked to global terrorism. Nominated for a 2016 Jutra award.
The sex industry goes under the microscope in this behind-the-scenes look at a modern form of slavery.
It was also a banner year at the NFB for shorts, a format that leaves room for all manner of experimentation, both by seasoned filmmakers (5 Shorts Project) and the emerging generation (Tremplin and NIKANIK competitions).
- À la plage (At the Beach) (dir. Jeremy Peter Allen, Spira/NFB) – 5 Shorts Project
Men and women with deeply damaged bodies expose their burn scars to strangers in this inspiring film about resilience and acceptance.
- Lou, la vie! (Hey Lou!) (dir. John Blouin, Spira/NFB) – 5 Shorts Project
Life and death intertwine in this poignant film that offers a stark view of humanity in just a few modest shots.
- Ces hommes de passage (World of Passage) (dir. Nadine Beaudet, Spira/NFB) – 5 Shorts Project
Floating leviathans from afar glide by on the St. Lawrence River, but an elect group is going along for the voyage.
- Le chemin rouge (Red Path) (dir. Thérèse Ottawa, NFB) – Produced as part of the Tremplin NIKANIK competition for emerging francophone First Nations filmmakers in Quebec, in partnership with the Aboriginal People’s Television Network (APTN)
A young Aboriginal man’s moving journey in search of his identity brings him closer to his family and community. Through his story, the filmmaker touches on issues related to culture, heritage, and the transmission of knowledge in an Atikamekw community.
- Le goût des belvas (Bittersweet Blues) (dir. Stephanie David, NFB) – Produced as part of the Tremplin competition for emerging francophone filmmakers outside Quebec, in collaboration with Radio-Canada
This documentary reveals the dilemma that Acadians face: Should they adopt normative French to be better understood, or proudly continue to use their own language, which reflects their colourful culture?
- Cafeteria (Cafétéria) (dir. Francine Hébert, NFB) – Produced as part of the Tremplin competition for emerging Francophone filmmakers outside Quebec, in collaboration with Radio-Canada
When the idea of improving the cafeteria menu at a New Brunswick primary school comes up, an entire movement emerges. Members of the community put their shoulders to the wheel and manage to extricate themselves from the grip of multinational companies in order to promote local farmers.
- La mort de Kao-Kuk (The Death of Kao-Kuk) (dir. Luc Chamberland, NFB)
The famous Canadian astronaut Kao-Kuk has just returned from a dangerous deep-space mission to a transdimensional rift. But back home at the astro station, a deeper, even more deadly mystery awaits, which may spell his impending doom.
- La magnifique machine (The Great Machine) (dir. Luc Chamberland, NFB)
In the small Ontario town of Echo, deep inside a typical post-war apartment building, there is a machine—massive and seemingly endless. What purpose does it serve?
The NFB is a leader in virtual-reality production. In addition to Munro Ferguson’s Minotaur, the RVCQ is presenting Le photographe inconnu (The Unknown Photographer), directed by Loïc Suty. This is a unique opportunity for Montreal audiences to immerse themselves in this 20-minute experience, which has just been presented at the Sundance Festival and is now embarking on an international tour.
- Le photographe inconnu (dir. Loïc Suty, Turbulent/NFB)
A virtual-reality plunge into the fragmented memories of a First World War photographer. For more information on Le photographe inconnu, visit nfb.ca/theunknownphotographer and view a short film by Bertrand Carrière, along with documentary vignettes.
- All of the virtual-reality works at the RVCQ will be presented at Espace rendez-vous, 330 Émery St., Montreal, for the duration of the Festival.
Director, Communications, Marketing and Public Affairs, NFB
About the NFB
The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) creates groundbreaking interactive works, social-issue documentaries and auteur animation. The NFB has produced over 13,000 productions and won over 5,000 awards, including 14 Canadian Screen Awards, 11 Webbys, 12 Oscars and more than 90 Genies. To access acclaimed NFB content, visit NFB.ca or download its apps for smartphones, tablets and connected TV.
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