With its status secured in the North American film fest circuit, Cinemania is one event not to be overlooked. This opinion is widely shared in the trade. The reason, according to several observers, resides in its ability to offer North American premieres to a host of interesting feature films that are often forced to wait weeks or months for their theatrical releases.
This year’s edition, the 25th, intends to keep the momentum going after its 10-day run in early November 2018. Of 67 screenings held in five theatres, there were no fewer than 50 premieres, a festival high, almost all with English subtitles. Some 20 filmmakers of international standing paid a visit and contributed to its overall success, duly recognized by all, organizers and film buffs alike.
One of its top draws, Le grand bain by Gilles Lellouche, garnered the Mel-Hoppenheim Award as the film most acclaimed by the audience. Filmmaker Meryem Benm’Barek, for her part, earned the Francophone Youth Prize for her well-received first feature Sofia, as chosen by a jury of young professionals from France and Quebec chaired by actress Sophie Desmarais. Incidentally, this film was not only shown at last year’s Cannes film festival, it received the best-screenplay award in the Un certain regard category.
Cinemania 2018 was not wanting in well-attended screenings, a prime example being the North American premiere of Emma Peeters before a house of some 500 people, its director Nicole Palo and lead actress Monia Chokri on hand for the occasion.
Several more films were lauded, and sold out, too: Le Monde est à toi, Lola et ses frères, Un peuple et son roi, Le grand bain, Mademoiselle de Joncquières, L’échange des princesses, Un amour impossible, Doubles vies, Un homme pressé and Cold war, to name a few.
Belgian actor and current shooting star Olivier Gourmet was in attendance as the festival’s guest of honour. Other prominent names filed over the red carpet. Among filmmakers, Eva Husson, Romain Gavras, Gilles Lellouche, Emmanuel Mouret, Ursula Meier, Mathieu Kassovitz, Samuel Jouy, Guillaume Senez and Nathan Ambrosioni, male leads Laurent Lafitte, Yves Jacques, Édouard Baer and Vincent Macaigne, not to forget actresses Élodie Bouchez and the aforementioned Chokri.
Also of note were the Unterval coproduction meetings for the arts and business sectors that drew about 300 professionals from Quebec and the rest of the country. Cinemania’s team also expressed special interest in the educational role of film making by staging its first conference ever on the subject with 15 participants exploring a number of related topics in both of these areas.
Translation by Marc Chénard