October 30, 2019 – Montreal – National Film Board of Canada
The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) returns to the Festival international du cinéma francophone en Acadie (FICFA) this year with seven productions and co-productions, four of which are documentaries screening in competition. The selected films are rich in emotional impact, ranging from intimate themes of hope and dehumanization to larger social and political issues. Among the films in competition are three productions from the NFB’s Canadian Francophonie Studio (Moncton and Toronto), including the world premiere of the short documentary Le bonheur de Lucien (Lucien’s Happiness), directed by Acadian filmmaker Nathalie Hébert. The feature documentaries Franchir la ligne (Standing on the Line), by Acadian director Paul Émile d’Entremont, and Sur la corde raide (High Wire), by Franco-Ontarian Claude Guilmain, will both be having their Acadian premieres. In competition and simultaneously making its Acadian premiere is Le fond de l’air (White Noise) by Quebec director Simon Beaulieu. Three exceptional animated shorts complete the NFB list: Physique de la tristesse (The Physics of Sorrow) by Theodore Ushev, Le cortège (The Procession) by Pascal Blanchet and Rodolphe Saint-Gelais, and Oncle Thomas – La comptabilité des jours (Uncle Thomas: Accounting for the Days) by Regina Pessoa. FICFA runs from November 14 to 22 in Moncton and Dieppe.
Competition – Best Acadian Short Film ACIC/NFB
Le bonheur de Lucien (Lucien’s Happiness) by Nathalie Hébert (24 min) – World premiere
Producer: Christine Aubé (NFB)
Electronic press kit available in French only: espacemedia.onf.ca/lucien/
- Seeking to define the essence of happiness, Nathalie Hébert speaks with Lucien Comeau, a musician and “philosopher of the everyday” from Tracadie on the Acadian Peninsula, New Brunswick. A simple, informal portrait, the film nonetheless moves beyond preconceived ideas to offer profound insights into the meaning of life and success.
- Le bonheur de Lucien is the director’s first short documentary and was created as part of the 10th pan-Canadian Tremplin competition, co-ordinated by the National Film Board’s Canadian Francophonie Studio in collaboration with Radio-Canada.
Competition – Best Medium-Length or Feature-Length Documentary
Franchir la ligne (Standing on the Line) by Paul Émile d’Entremont (80 min 30 s) – Acadian premiere
Producers: Christine Aubé, Jac Gautreau and Maryse Chapdelaine (NFB)
Electronic press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/standing-on-the-line/
- In both amateur and professional sports, being gay remains taboo. For some athletes, the pressure to perform is compounded by the further strain of deciding whether or not to come out of the closet. To the backdrop of the training of L’Odyssée high school’s football team in Moncton, New Brunswick, the filmmaker takes a fresh look at some of our top athletes, who’ve joined their voices in support of the LGBTQ cause. We meet Canadian speed skater Anastasia Bucsis, who represented Canada in Sochi; former Montreal Impact player David Testo; and hockey personalities like Brock McGillis and Brendan Burke.
- Franchir la ligne finally arrives in New Brunswick after its world premiere at the 2019 DOXA Documentary Film Festival in Vancouver and a grand tour (still in progress) of film festivals across Canada.
- The director returns to FICFA, where he’s won two previous awards, including the Prix La Vague-Léonard-Forest for Best Acadian Medium-Length or Feature-Length Film for Une dernière chance (Last Chance, NFB).
Le fond de l’air (White Noise) by Simon Beaulieu (77 min) – Acadian premiere
Producer: Nathalie Cloutier (NFB)
Electronic press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/whitenoise/
- The fourth feature-length work by Simon Beaulieu (after Lemoyne, Godin and Miron: un homme revenu d’en dehors du monde), Le fond de l’air is a hard-hitting auteur work that plunges viewers into a direct physical encounter with the information overload of daily life. A hybrid of documentary, experimental film and fiction, this disturbing roller-coaster of a movie transforms the imminent collapse of our civilization into a visceral aesthetic experience. A reflection on the fate of humanity in the Anthropocene epoch.
- The film will have its world premiere in competition at the Montreal International Documentary Festival in November, followed by a tour of festivals and theatre screenings.
Sur la corde raide (High Wire) by Claude Guilmain (82 min 21 s) – Acadian premiere
Producers: Denis McCready and Dominic Desjardins (NFB)
Electronic press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/high-wire/
- In 2003, Canada refused to follow the United States in invading Iraq. The film examines the behind-the-scenes tug of war that took place at the time with our neighbours to the south. Canada’s historic refusal could have had disastrous consequences, but a number of key players and other analysts—including former prime minister Jean Chrétien, political reporter Chantal Hébert, Canadian Forces College professor Miloud Chennoufi and retired ambassador Paul Heinbecker—remind us of the terrible price we pay when diplomacy fails.
- The documentary had its world premiere at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. A presentation at the Arab World Festival of Montreal in early November will be followed by a series of special screenings across Canada.
All the short films below are NFB productions or co-productions making their Acadian premiere.
Physique de la tristesse (The Physics of Sorrow) by Theodore Ushev (27 min)
Producer: Marc Bertrand (NFB)
Electronic press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/the-physics-of-sorrow/
- Theodore Ushev, nominated for and Oscar in 2017 for Blind Vaysha, returns with this very personal film, inspired by the novel by Bulgarian writer Georgi Gospodinov. It is the first fully animated film made using the encaustic-painting technique.
- Physique de la tristesse won honourable mention at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and two awards at the Festival du nouveau cinéma (FNC) in Montreal, among other honours.
- The Festival is presenting the French-language version of the short film, narrated by Xavier Dolan, with a special guest-voice appearance by his father, Manuel Tadros.
Le cortège (The Procession) by Pascal Blanchet and Rodolphe Saint-Gelais (11 min 23 s)
Producer: Julie Roy (NFB
Electronic press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/theprocession/
- After Catherine’s fatal car accident, she speaks from the beyond to her husband, Philip, who must endure the family ritual of the funeral.
- Le cortège is the first collaboration between illustrator and graphic novel writer Pascal Blanchet, known for Rapide-Blanc and his work with Wes Anderson, among others, and animator and filmmaker Rodolphe Saint-Gelais, who first became known for his work on the opening sequence of the feature Dédé à travers les brumes. Lavishly set to music by Pierre Lapointe and Philippe Brault, Le cortège has a chic visual style inspired by a mid-20th-century aesthetic and Art Deco.
Oncle Thomas – La comptabilité des jours (Uncle Thomas: Accounting for the Days), by Regina Pessoa (13 min)
Producers: Abi Feijó (Ciclope Filmes), Julie Roy (NFB) and Reginald de Guillebon (Les Armateurs)
Electronic press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/unclethomas/
- Oncle Thomas – La comptabilité des jours is about the special relationship between Regina Pessoa and her uncle. The film is a testament to her love for this eccentric, who played a key role in her becoming a filmmaker.
- World-renowned filmmaker Regina Pessoa’s latest film is her most personal project to date—an important work that celebrates love and difference. The film won two awards at the 2019 Annecy film festival, including the Jury Award for a Short Film, among other honours.
Electronic Press Kit | Images, trailers, synopses: High Wire | Standing on the Line | The Physics of Sorrow | The Procession | Uncle Thomas: Accounting for the Days | White Noise
Electronic Press Kit available in French only: Le bonheur de Lucien
Festival international du cinéma francophone en Acadie