10 Canadians to watch at 69th Festival de Cannes

by W. Andrew Powell
It's Only the End of the World

The 69th Festival de Cannes is just over a week away, running from May 11 to 22, and leading up to the big, international film festival, Telefilm Canada has put together a cheat sheet for the Canadian talent to watch this year, including directors Xavier Dolan, and Kim Nguyen; producers Nancy Grant, and Allison Black; and actors Tatiana Maslany, and Sophie Nélisse.

“Behind this selection of Canadian films that do us proud are men and women who pursue their creative vision on a daily basis, and who breathe life into their stories,” said Carolle Brabant, Telefilm Canada’s executive director. “Beyond these success stories are the talent people who create and sustain them, both in front of and behind the camera, who take them to events where they can truly shine, such as Cannes—a major festival and an incredible forum for the world’s best films. Today, we want to thank these men and women for literally making our cinema.”

10 Canadians to watch – 69th Festival de Cannes:

Xavier Dolan, writer-director, Juste la fin du monde [It’s Only the End of the World] – official competition
The 27-year-old writer, director and actor returns to Cannes for a sixth year with his latest feature film. In 2015, he was selected to serve on the jury for the main competition section at Cannes, while in 2014 his film Mommy shared the Jury Prize with Jean-Luc Godard’s Adieu au langage. In 2009, his first feature, J’ai tué ma mère [I Killed My Mother] screened at the Directors’ Fortnight. His subsequent films, Les amours imaginaires [Heartbeats] and Laurence Anyways, were selected for the Un certain regard section in 2010 and 2012. More recently he directed Adele’s video for her song “Hello” which has reached more than 1.4 billion views.

Juste la fin du monde, coproduced with France, is adapted from the play of the same name by playwright Jean-Luc Lagarce and stars Vincent Cassel, Marion Cotillard, Léa Seydoux, Nathalie Baye and Gaspard Ulliel.

Nancy Grant, producer, Metafilms, Juste la fin du monde (It’s Only the End of the World)
Producer Nancy Grant is one of the moving forces behind Juste la fin du monde. Since 2003, she has produced more than 30 Canadian feature-length, medium-length and short films, including Xavier Dolan’s two most recent films, Tom à la ferme [Tom at the Farm] and Mommy, as well as Denis Côté’s Boris sans Béatrice [Boris Without Béatrice], Anne Émond’s Les êtres chers [Our Loved Ones], and Maxime Giroux’s Félix et Meira.

Producer at Metafilms, which aims to offer young, unusual screenwriters a means to express their vision of cinema and the world, Grant has contributed to the success of several emerging filmmakers whose movies are now eagerly awaited by movie-lovers in Canada and around the world.

Kim Nguyen, writer-director, Two Lovers and a Bear – Directors’ Fortnight
Filmmaker Kim Nguyen makes his debut at Cannes with his fifth narrative feature, Two Lovers and a Bear, which will have its world premiere screening at the Directors’ Fortnight. This section will screen 18 films, two of which are Canadian.

Nguyen engaged audiences in Canada with his award-winning feature Rebelle [War Witch], which screened in official competition at the 2013 Berlin Film Festival and won 10 Canadian Screen Awards. The film was also nominated for an Oscar in the Best Foreign-language Film category.

Tatiana Maslany, actress, Two Lovers and a Bear
Actress Tatiana Maslany will co-star with American actor Dane DeHaan in Two Lovers and a Bear. Famed for her roles in the hit series Orphan Black, Maslany has been nominated for a Golden Globe and was a winner of the Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Actress in a Drama Series in 2013 and 2014. She also starred in the film Cas & Dylan and the series Cracked, among others.

Nathan Morlando, writer-director Mean Dreams – Directors’ Fortnight
Writer-director Nathan Morlando will be on hand for the world premiere screening of his second feature film, Mean Dreams, at the Directors’ Fortnight. This will mark his first visit to Cannes. Morlando is best known for his debut feature Edwin Boyd: Citizen Gangster, winner of the award for Best Canadian First Feature Film at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Allison Black, producer, Mean Dreams
Producer Allison Black has played a role in Nathan Morlando’s success by producing his two feature films. There’s no question that she’ll be a producer to watch in the years ahead.

Sophie Nélisse, actress, Mean Dreams
Sophie Nélisse co-stars alongside American actor Josh Wiggins (Hellion) and well known Canadian Colm Feore in this coming-of-age thriller. The young actress shot to fame in The Book Thief, for which she was nominated for several awards, winning the Spotlight Award at the 2013 Hollywood Film Awards. She also earned acclaim for her performance in Philippe Falardeau’s Monsieur Lazhar, nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar in 2012.

François Jaros, writer-director, Oh What a Wonderful Feeling – Semaine de la Critique
François Jaros once again shifts gears with his short film Oh What a Wonderful Feeling, which he will premiere at the Semaine de la Critique at Cannes.

He delighted audiences with the caustic humour of his short Toutes des connes [Life’s a Bitch], which screened at the Sundance Film Festival, and then turned to a darker and more troubling theme, dying with dignity, in the short Maurice, winner of the award for best short at the 2016 Gala du cinéma québécois.

Fanny-Laure Malo, producer, La boite à Fanny, Oh What a Wonderful Feeling
Fanny-Laure Malo of La Boite à Fanny has been increasingly making her presence felt over the last several years, joining a select group of talented young women producers. In addition to producing François Jaros’s films, she produced Chloé Robichaud’s two movies, Sarah préfère la course [Sarah Prefers to Run], from 2013, and Pays, slated for release this year.

This will mark Malo’s second time being selected for Cannes, with Sarah préfère la course having been selected for the Un certain regard section at the Festival de Cannes in 2013.

Karelle Tremblay, actress, Oh What a Wonderful Feeling
Karelle Tremblay starred in two major movies in 2015, Mathieu Denis’s Corbo and Anne Émond’s Les êtres chers. She will also appear in Anne Émond’s third feature, Nelly, and in Podz’s upcoming feature, King Dave.

Tremblay was nominated for the best actress award at the Canadian Screen Awards for her performance in Les êtres chers.

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