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Mont Tremblant Film Festival

There was a small blurb published in last week’s Time magazine that counted (on many fingers) the number of film festivals in North America. The stats revolve around the 600-mark (!), with almost 500 more than there were a dozen years ago. The first thought that comes to mind before I set foot in a press conference to announce a new film fest project is “not another bloody film festival”. The fact is – this only half-true.

My angst has much to do with last year’s major fiasco – Montreal which already hosts 2 very popular, 30-plus year film festivals grew to three. Big ambitions and not enough planning meant that millions of dollars were thrown away at a festival that tried to sandwich itself in between the already established two. Daggers were thrown, blood spilled and hopefully 2006 is the year for recovery.

Along with a healthy homegrown product of Quebecois films, the Quebec market is saturated by the influx of films that cater to two audiences. Often the same film is provided in both official languages meaning that sometimes the smaller films from the American or European markets hardly see the day. We love our movies and the box office shows it – the province of Quebec is in fact, the only market in North America where admissions and box office sales aren’t in a nose dive – and the success of our own film festivals prove that cinema is an engrained cultural activity.

The Mont Tremblant Film Festival (visit the official here) is nestled in the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec – its a good one hour drive away from Montreal but once there it looks much like artificial places where the jet set like to talk real estate and where authenticity is lacking – but its hard to resist the charm of breathing in some fresh air, the allure of ski bunnies, alcohol and hot tubbing the rest of the night away. This kind of reminds me of another film festival that I really enjoyed…can anyone say “Sundance”. This may just be the kind of festival for hardcore folks who enjoy films that usually find themselves undeservingly by the waste side – and with the right setting and décor to watch a film take a breather and then go back in and catch another one – there might be some surprising numbers on this hill top.

L-R: Guy Primeau, Louis Plamondon, François Rodrigue & Daniaile Jarry

At first notice the team (see above) have set themselves some very reasonable goals – taking three years to prepare the first edition and as Daniaile Jarry noted with me in a quick interview that it was Rodrigue (Artistic director & president of the festival) who got inspired by his first couple of trips to Sundance some 15 years ago. Eventually he brought these experiences, the Sundance-template, his passion for cinema and his background in marketing and pitched the idea to the Intrawest folks (who own the resort). This obviously is a no-brainer which is why Jarry – a 22-year vet in the industry, festivals and markets joined the team as head of programming.

Potential problems in ski resorts with festivals are the venues, I’m curious to see whether the quality if the films will be matched by the quality of location – but as Jarry pointed out, once the decided that the festival was a go, they installed a screening room and got an expert in Michel Prince (a top projectionist) and the head of Pine cinemas of Tremblant involved then this matter shall not become a “matter”.

A major difference between Sundance and Tremblant is that the heavy white stuff and get feet wet won’t be a factor. They strategically made sure that they wouldn’t get in the way of other Canadian festivals and the major decision as to why they choose the early portion of summer is as Jarry states a “perfect springboard to summer releases” with a “public who wants to see more than just the big Hollywood Machine”. Those backing the event in terms of distributors couldn’t agree more, “we’ve had a great response from quite a few distributors who saw the whole potential and thought the project was intriguing and interesting from a marketing point of view – and its was perhaps difficult to get them into the idea of another festival after what happened last year”, said Jarry.



Indie distributor THINKFilm will showcase 3 films: including the excellent HALF NELSON among the near 30 feature films to be shown in the 4 day span, but it’s a heavy concentration of European fair coming from places like Cannes. And speaking of Cannes, Jarry just came back from what will certainly be an annual trip to the croisette mentioned that her favorite was Babel – “a masterpiece”, the same can be said for Requiem for Billy the Kid which she proudly grabbed for her festival – and we most likely won’t see Marie Antoinette which obviously didn’t win over this attendee.



Besides the location and the cinephiles that pile into town we can count on a few celebs, Jarry enthusiastically named that “quite a few filmmakers are expected, especially from Europe – we have Michael-Caton Jones whose coming with his excellent movie Shooting Dogs, we have the writer-producer Oscar-nominee Milo Addica (The King), we have French-star Vincent Elbaz (Ma vie en l’air) who is almost confirmed, we have the Swedish team behind Kill You Darlings” and well a couple of more surprises might just make the trek as well. The Mont Tremblant festival runs between the 14 and the 18th of June at the beautiful Mont Tremblant resort, and hopefully will be there to cover the event.

Here is the films selected for the inaugural edition.

Feature Films

UltraNova – Bouli Lanners
DirtNap – D.B. Sweeney
Shooting Dogs – Michael-Caton Jones
ILS – Xavier Palud, David Moreau
Iluminados por el fuego – Tristan Bauer
Inconscientes – Joaquín Oristrell
Offside – Buket Alakus
Obaba – Montxo Armendáriz
Agnes and His Brothers – Oscar Roehler
Lemming – Dominik Moll
Quatre étoiles – Christian Vincent
La bestia nel cuore – Cristina Comencini
Half Nelson – Ryan Fleck
The King – James Marsh
Down in the Valley – David Jacobson
Greyfriars Bobby – John Henderson
Kill Your Darlings – Björne Larson
Het Schnitzelparadijs – Martin Koolhoven
L’iceberg – Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon, Bruno Romy
Sur la trace d’Igor Rizzi Noël Mitrani
Ma vie en l’air – Rémi Bezançon
Sommer vorm Balkon – Andreas Dresen
Het mysterie van de sardine – Erik van Zuylen
Requiem for Billy the Kid – Anne Feinsilber
Essaye-moi – Pierre Francois Martin-Laval
Les sentiments Noémie Lvovsky
The Overlookers – Christopher Warre Smets
Solidarnosc, Solidarnosc … – Juliusz Machulski, Andrzej Jakimowski, Jan Jakub Kolski, Filip Bajon, Jerzy Domaradzki, Piotr Trzaskalski, Krzysztof Zanussi, Robert Glinski, Jacek Bromski, Ryszard Bugajski, Feliks Falk, Andrzej Wajda, Malorzata Szumowska

Shorts Program

Smart Card – James Oxford
A Cigar at the Beach – Stephen Keep Mills
Emoticons – Alessandra Bergero
Impotence – Ryan Louie
Kooniklaster – Mariko Saga
Enfants terribles – Terry Nemeroff
Nikita and the Old Iron Woman – Vitaly Urusevsky
My Backyard was a Mountain – Adam Schlachter
Beyrouth après-rasage – Hany Tamba
No Boundaries – Ozwald Boateng

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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