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The NFB at FIFA online 2020: a selection of three films, including the premiere and in-competition screening of Monique LeBlanc’s feature doc Plus haut que les flammes (Higher Than Flames Will Go).


March 17, 2020 – Montreal – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) applauds the decision made by the International Festival of Films on Art (FIFA) to hold its 38th edition online, and is delighted that three NFB productions will be streamed at the festival from Wednesday, March 18, until midnight on Sunday, March 29. The selection of NFB titles offers fascinating perspectives on different artistic practices and includes two premieres: presented in the international competition, the feature-length auteur doc Plus haut que les flammes (Higher Than Flames Will Go) by Acadian filmmaker Monique LeBlanc, a film adaptation of Louise Dupré’s acclaimed book of poetry; and the short documentary À ciel ouvert, portrait d’un pavillon à Venise (Open Sky: Portrait of a Pavilion in Venice) by Katerine Giguère. The feature documentary Luben and Elena by Ellie Yonova will also be screened online at FIFA. On Tuesday, March 17, the festival’s opening film (We Are Not Princesses by Bridgette Auger and Itab Azzam) will be available online starting at 7 p.m. Details about online access to the films, awards and other information can be found at the FIFA website, artfifa.com.

Plus haut que les flammes (Higher Than Flames Will Go) is a moving adaptation of Louise Dupré’s 2011 Governor General’s Award-winning book of poetry Plus haut que les flammes, recited in its entirety by actor Violette Chauveau, and filmed at various locations, including Auschwitz, Canada, Louisiana, Nicaragua, and Ukraine. À ciel ouvert, portrait d’un pavillon à Venise (Open Sky: Portrait of a Pavilion in Venice) recounts the story of the magnificent Canada Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, whose restoration was completed in 2018 to mark its 60th anniversary. Luben and Elena is an intimate portrait of renowned artists Luben Boykov and Elena Popova.

Quick facts

International competition

  • Plus haut que les flammes (Higher Than Flames Will Go), by Monique LeBlanc (105 min.) – Premiere
    The poem, like the film, begins with the phrase “Ton poème a surgi de l’enfer” (Your poem rises up from hell). Shaken by a trip to Auschwitz and Birkenau, a woman tries to continue to live and care for a child. Because beyond the worst horrors created by humanity, there is childhood, for and through which time marches on. There are also those who watch over these small beings, working each day to keep them alive, clean, and safe. Weaving connections between different stories, realities, and landscapes, the filmmaker offers an anchor point for reflecting on the outcome and ensuring that those who will inherit the world are raised as high as possible, “higher than flames will go.”

Official selection

  • À ciel ouvert, portrait d’un pavillon à Venise (Open Sky: Portrait of a Pavilion in Venice), by Katerine Giguère (26 min.) – Premiere
    Since 1958, the Canada Pavilion at the Venice Biennale has welcomed contemporary Canadian artists and architects and their works. Katerine Giguère directs an intimate portrait of this architectural gem, designed by Milan’s famous Studio BBPR. Giguère showcases the building’s history and architecture which, like its gardens, recently underwent a major restoration, led by the National Gallery of Canada.
  • Luben and Elena, by Ellie Yonova (75 min.)
    A portrait of artists Luben Boykov and Elena Popova, who fled the repression of communist Bulgaria and found refuge in Newfoundland, embracing the love of art and the art of love. The film received its world premiere at the FIN Atlantic International Film Festival and was selected to screen at the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival.

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Related Products

Electronic Press Kit | Images, trailers, synopses: Open Sky: Portrait of a Pavilion in Venice  | Luben and Elena

French media alert here.

Media Relations

  • About the NFB

    Founded in 1939, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is a one-of-a-kind producer, co-producer and distributor of distinctive, engaging, relevant and innovative documentary and animated films. As a talent incubator, it is one of the world’s leading creative centres. The NFB has enabled Canadians to tell and hear each other’s stories for over eight decades, and its films are a reliable and accessible educational resource. The NFB is also recognized around the world for its expertise in preservation and conservation, and for its rich and vibrant collection of works, which form a pillar of Canada’s cultural heritage. To date, the NFB has produced more than 14,000 works, 6,500 of which can be streamed free of charge at nfb.ca. The NFB and its productions and co-productions have earned over 7,000 awards, including 11 Oscars and an Honorary Academy Award for overall excellence in cinema.