THE FANTASTIQUE WEEKEND DU COURT-MÉTRAGE QUÉBÉCOIS
AN INTERVIEW WITH ISABELLE GAUVREAU
by Ariel Esteban Cayer (Translation: Adam Abouaccar)
Quebec cinema will once again be celebrated this year with Fantasia’s 4th edition of the Fantastique Weekend du Court-Métrage Québécois. More ambitious than ever, the whole thing kicks off with a HD restoration of the rarely seen Quebec cult film Dans le Ventre du Dragon. 92 Quebecois short films (8 of which by INIS graduates) divided into 9 thematic sections, as well as the world premiere of Steve Kerr’s Colambarium, starring David Boutin and Maxime Dumontier. Below, Spectacular Optical speaks briefly with Isabelle Gauvreau, programmer of Quebecois short films.
This year’s festivities will launch with a screening of the restored Dans la ventre du dragon (1989). Can you tell us about the film and what it means to you, as well as what it means to Quebec’s genre cinema landscape?
I saw Dans la ventre du dragon when it came out 20 years ago and I was completely astonished by the genre: science fiction films. I also loved the film’s humour and I never forgot the dance scenes, the garbage scene or the theme song “Pépito mi Corazon”.
Quebec hasn’t produced many science fiction films and we are very proud to present it in its restored version as part of the Fantastique Weekend. There’s a logic behind taking care of our past and looking forward to the talents of the future. It is not only possible, but essential that these two ideas coexist.
Can you tell us about the 9 short film sections that make up this year’s Fantastique Weekend offerings? Like every year, they are grouped thematically. What can we expect from each section?
In essence, each of the nine sections is a mini buffet of shorts in itself. There are comedy, drama and genre films in every one of them but they appear in different ways. The earlier screenings are for the whole family and those that screen later on are more adult oriented.
Do you have any favourites from this year’s programming? Or possibly names to look out for?
There are many, for various reasons. I really liked a drama film by Jean-Carl Boucher, an 18-year-old director with Julien Poulin. Stunning. I laughed myself to tears with “Petit mort” in which Stephane Crete delivers a 5-minute porn-inspired mime performance. I was disgusted by Pelletier and Lavigne’s “La lampe magique.” I was on the edge of my seat watching the dramas “Gräns” and “Lily” in which very high-level actresses give outstanding performances. Etc..
In addition to short films, Quebec cinema once again has a prominent place in this year’s Fantasia programming. For example, Columbarium will have its world premiere this year. Can you tell us about this film?
Columbarium is a surprising independent feature. David Boutin’s performance is excellent, the direction is clean and the script efficient. It’s always amazing to see to what extent filmmakers can be in love with cinema, allowing them to make very high quality films with very modest means. Columbarium is one to watch for sure.
Discovering emerging talents is obviously a major facet of the Fantastique Weekend. What have been your favourite discoveries to date- this year included?
Oh good question, it’s difficult. I can say that we help directors’ causes because we offer exposure. It’s always a pleasure to know that one of the ones we’ve supported has directed another short, won prizes elsewhere or went on to make a feature film. I know how important it is first and foremost that the work be seen, but awards are also very important. We’ve received a good deal of feedback from people who’ve won here and feel reassured that they’re on the right track.
Le Fantastique Weekend du Courts-Métrage runs from August 3rd to 5th in the J.A. de Sève Theater. The launch party take place August 2nd at 7:30pm in the Hall Theater with the world premier of the restored Dans le Ventre du Dragon. In addition, panel discussions (presented in Reggies Bar on the Hall Theater’s mezzanine) have been organized in concurrence with the festival. These include a discussion with the people behind Dans le Ventre du Dragon August 2nd at 4:30pm, a master calss with Jean-Marc Vallée (C.R.A.Z.Y., Café de Flore, The Young Victoria) August 3rd at 5.00pmm a look at the careers of 4 Quebecois animators August 4th at 4:00pm and finally a discussion on stunts at the cinematheque qubecois with Érik Canuel and Jean Frenette Sunday, August 5th.