Quebecois Films Need Better Marketing, Distribution, Say Directors

By Ahearn, Victoria | The Canadian Press, July 8, 2019 | Go to article overview

Quebecois Films Need Better Marketing, Distribution, Say Directors


Ahearn, Victoria, The Canadian Press


Quebec films need better marketing, say directors

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TORONTO - Montreal filmmaker Genevieve Dulude-De Celles' coming-of-age drama "A Colony" won best picture at this year's Canadian Screen Awards, has played at international festivals, and will screen in about 20 theatres in Sweden.

But in Canada, its presence outside of its home province has been largely kept to the festival circuit and screenings through special events and tours, including this past weekend's Quebec On Screen in Toronto.

It's a pervasive problem for most Quebecois films trying to reach English-Canadian audiences, says Dulude-De Celles, who wants to see more focus on distribution and marketing.

"It's so hard to get our films onscreen because all the theatres already have those screens for American films," she says.

"When you have the chance to meet the audience, they're kind of surprised ... like, 'Oh, I didn't know a Quebecer film could be like that.' Yes, it can be entertaining. Yes, it's accessible. But I think we have to do education."

Toronto-based distribution company Game Theory Films created Quebec On Screen as part of its efforts to shine a light on films from the province. The event screened Dulude-De Celles' film as well as Maxime Giroux's allegorical drama "The Great Darkened Days" and Philippe Lesage's adolescence-focused "Genesis."

Game Theory also set up screenings for "A Colony" and "Great Darkened Days" in Halifax and St. John's, N.L., on Monday, and will release all three films digitally through iTunes on Tuesday. "A Colony" is also playing in Sudbury, Ont., over five nights spread throughout June and July as part of their Samedi Cinema series.

Such efforts come after a year in which Quebecois films dominated the awards circuit and box office in Canada.

At the Canadian Screen Awards in March, the leading film contenders were from Quebec and all of the best-picture nominees were French-language. "A Colony," about a 12-year-old girl trying to fit in at school, got three trophies in total, and "The Great Darkened Days" got five.

Meanwhile Quebec director Ricardo Trogi's comedy-drama "1991" won the Golden Screen Award for being the highest-grossing Canadian film at the box office, earning about $3 million between Jan. 1 2018 and Feb. 28, 2019, according to Les Films Seville.

Yet for all their success, many Quebecois films aren't well-known, says Montreal-based Lesage, whose film "Genesis" made TIFF's list of top 10 Canadian features of 2018. …

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