Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Falardeau Returns to Theatre Where He Worked as Usher as an Oscar Nominee: Director Goes from NAC Usher to Oscar-Nominee

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Falardeau Returns to Theatre Where He Worked as Usher as an Oscar Nominee: Director Goes from NAC Usher to Oscar-Nominee

Article excerpt

OTTAWA - Phillippe Falardeau was dreaming of a political career rather than a career as an Academy Award-nominated director when he worked as an usher at the National Arts Centre.

A couple of decades later, Falardeau returned to the NAC for a gala screening of his film and to fret about what he's going to wear at the Oscars.

The whirlwind of interviews, schmoozing and travelling unleashed since Monsieur Lazhar was put on Oscar's shortlist has left little time for selecting and getting fitted for his tux for the Feb. 26 ceremony.

His cotton shirt and weathered jeans made it clear he cares little for what distinguishes Dolce and Gabbana from the Gap.

"I don't have much choice because I have to wear a black and white tuxedo with a bow tie, but it stresses me a lot having to find the right tailor and the right tux, its something I don't like doing at all," Falardeau said.

The Quebec director was raised across the Ottawa River in Gatineau and returned this week for a screening of his film.

Monsieur Lazhar is the poignant story of young students reeling from the suicide of their teacher who are comforted by his replacement -- an Algerian immigrant to Montreal who needs to have his own emotional wounds salved. Monsieur Lazhar is nominated for best foreign language film.

The movie enjoyed a gala screening at the National Arts Centre this week, complete with red carpets and political and powerful invitees. This was the same National Arts Centre where he worked more than two decades ago as a 17-year-old usher.

And no, Falardeau never dreamed he would one day return to his teenaged workplace as an Oscar-nominated film director.

"When I was 16 and 17 working as an usher I was focused on my studies and I had a second job as a tourist guide on Parliament Hill, so it was not at all something that was on my mind."

"I always loved cinema but it was something that I admired, like anyone else, and not something I wanted to do."

Now in his early 40s, the trappings of that sudden stardom are all around him. The fluttering press assistants, the array of healthy snacks and easily reached-for beverages. A poster for his film has been carefully placed and lovingly lit behind him to ensure more pre-Oscar publicity. …

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