Canadian film celebrates the best of the year at The Genie Awards
Quebec film Monseiur Lazhar won big at the 32nd Annual Genie Awards held in Toronto last night. The film was recently up for Best Foriegn Language film at the Oscars, but lost to Iranian film A?Separation.
Up for nine awards at the ceremony, they took home six ? Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actress, Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Editing.
The critically acclaimed dramedy tells the story of an Algerian immigrant in Quebec, who lands a teaching job at an elementary school after a tragedy occurs.
The film?s director,?Philippe?Falardeau, made a joke about losing the Oscar during his acceptance speech, saying, ?I wrote a speech two weeks ago and didn?t have the chance to say it. I?m tempted to recycle the first phrase: I?d like to thank the members of the academy ? of Canadian television and cinema. Honestly, I?m privileged to live in a time and place where our public system makes it possible for us to make personal films. It?s a choice we make as a society. Cinema is like the memory and the imagination of a country. So, without that, a country would not be a nation,? he continued.
He also offered some?advice?to filmmakers in Canada, ?I would like to share this with all my fellow filmmakers across Canada who are struggling to make personal films. I want to say to them: Be persistent. Be wild. Be bold. Be a little delinquent. Take risks, and something good is bound to happen.?
The intimate low budget film beat out star studded films like David Cronenberg?s A Dangerous Method and Jean Marc Valle?s Cafe du Flore for most of the top prizes.
The Best Picture win was the second win in a row for Quebec producers Luc Dery and Kim McCraw, who also produced last year?s big winner Incedies.
Quebec?s cinema seems to have a stronghold on the Canadian film industry, but when asked about this backstage, Falardeau downplayed the importance of location. ?I don?t keep marks of ?Oh, yeah, Quebec one year, Quebec the other year.? It?s just films and I think the films that are winning are worth seeing. And I would have liked to have said to the Canadian public: Go see them, not because they?re Canadian films, because they?re good films.?
A sweet moment of the night came when 11 year old Sophie Nelisse won Best Supporting Actress for her part in the film, as Monsieur Lazhar?s very grown up and articulate student.
Backstage she told the media, ?When I was on the stage over there I was really stressed because I didn?t think I was going to win.?
The other big moment came from A Dangerous Method star Viggo Mortensen, who won Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Sigmund Freud in the film. During his acceptance speech he proudly displayed his hockey fanaticism, pulling out a Montreal Canadians flag onstage.
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