We are pleased to announce the results of five months of work : a diverse program of more than 180 films from 50 countries that festivalgoers will have the chance to see on the big screen in 32 programs from March 22 to 26.
Of the 180 films, 75 are Canadian. Festivalgoers will have the chance to see a hundred world, North American and Canadian premieres and take part in numerous activities complementing the screenings, from the professional market to late-night parties.
“This is a big year not only in terms of films but in terms of ideas, activities and guests. We’ve added a second program to the Tourner à Tout Prix! Competition and created a new competition putting queer realities in the spotlight. And after a three-year involuntary hiatus, we are delighted by the return of the Carte Blanche and foreign-film Focus activities. Above all, I am truly impressed by the quality and distinctiveness of each and every film in this year’s program!” - Mélissa Bouchard, programming director
This year’s Official Competition is brimming with cinematic surprises in both aesthetic and narrative terms. Its ten programs, presented at Théâtre C (Chicoutimi) and Salle François-Brassard (Jonquière), include several exclusives and some of the year’s very best short films. The many new films to discover include Jusqu'à ce que tu meures by Florence Lafond (Quebec, Canada), an intimate drama set in the bedroom of a couple in an open relationship, starring Marine Johnson; Madeleine by Raquel Sancinetti (Quebec, Canada), about a close friendship between two people born 67 years apart; It’s a date by Nadia Parfan (Ukraine), a sequence shot filmed in the streets of Kyiv that captures the powerful emotions felt in a city in a state of wartime emergency; and Se dit d’un cerf qui quitte son bois by Salomé Crickx (Belgium), a completely wild black comedy. The year’s not-to-be-missed films include Simo by Aziz Zoromba (Quebec, Canada), winner of the award for Best Canadian Film at TIFF in 2022, and Invincible by Vincent René-Lortie (Quebec, Canada), winner of the Special Jury Prize (international) at the Clermont-Ferrand festival. The selection also includes Le matelot volant (Quebec, Canada) and Ice merchants (Portugal), two of the five animated short films nominated for the Oscars.
The Official Competition will open on Wednesday, March 22, at Théâtre C, with the festival’s official opening-night screening. Competition programs 1 and 2 will be preceded by the first open-air cocktail party of the 27th edition, presented by Télé-Québec/La Fabrique Culturelle. On March 22, 24 and 25, the Hydro-Québec outdoor terrasse (in front of Théâtre C) invites festivalgoers to get together for drinks before each screening. In Jonquière, there will be cocktail parties on March 23 and 24 in the lobby of Salle François-Brassard – a welcome festive return to this venue!
It is worth noting that the festival team has decided to make room in the schedule by making REGARD online the place to rewatch the films in competition as well as all the other programs of the 27th edition. The streaming platform will be available starting the day after the festival, March 27, until April 9.
The Parallel Competition showcases emerging filmmakers, independent films and voices that are often underrepresented in cinema. The essential Tourner à Tout Prix, 100% Régions and Americana selections are joined this year by Short & Queer, a new competition for queer films and filmmakers presented by the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi (UQAC). Please note that the ultra-low-budget section, Tourner à Tout Prix, presented by Unis Tv, includes two full programs to be presented in a single evening dedicated to independent filmmakers on Saturday, March 25 in Jonquière.
The 100% Regions program, presented by Hydro-Québec and Culture Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, presents works by filmmakers from Montérégie (Au bout du monde by William Pagé), Rimouski (La trajectoire des marées by Marie-Ève Boisvert), Pessamit (Milikᵘ tshishutshelimunuau by Isabelle Kanapé), Centre-du-Québec (NDDJ by Sita and Grace Singh) and Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean (Soup is good food by Alexandre Thériault and Et si tu m’entends by Martin Rodolphe Villeneuve).
Festivalgoers will have the opportunity to vote for their favourite short films in the Official and Parallel competitions. Audience members can vote after screenings by asking a festival volunteer for a ballot or by visiting the festival’s website. The films with the most votes will be shown at Théâtre C on Sunday, March 26, as the official closing event of the 27th edition. Audience awards will be presented for the short films that received the most votes in each competition.
Several thematic programs are included in this 27th edition. First, there will be a Focus on new voices in Kosovar cinema, presented by DokuFest, Kosovo’s largest film festival. There will also be a Carte blanche program presented by the prestigious Montreal First Peoples’ Festival on Friday, March 24, at Salle François-Brassard.
Also returning are annual gatherings for fans of genre films, presented by Énergie 94.5, and the Arts & Essai section. In addition to these five programs there are four on special themes that emerged through numerous screenings. The Cinéma engagé program, presented by Le Quotidien, presents activist, uncanny, galvanizing and deeply humane works; Les Stupéfiants explores different aspects of illicit substance use; Territoires is an infinite source of visual delights as well as incongruities; and Transmissions explores, in shadows and light, the theme of intergenerational learning. Last but not least is a retrospective with live commentary in honour of actor Steve Laplante, announced last week and presented by ICI Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean. To mark the first 20 years of Laplant’s film career, REGARD will revisit five shorts in which he stars. All of these programs will be presented at the Centre d’Expérimentation Musicale in Chicoutimi-Nord.
At the same venue, there will be a special screening called Les Dernières Mondiales, presented by the Riverbend microbrewery. To assemble the program, the REGARD programming team scoured the questionable past of some of the filmmakers in the 27th edition in search of their most cringeworthy work. The filmmakers, who have all agreed to play along, will be there to provide live commentary in a festive setting full of good-natured self-deprecation.
Once again this year, the festival will present four movie dates for local families as part of the youth section, March 25 and 26. First up are the two P’tites vues programs (ages 2 to 7), which include a selection of the best films from the world’s top youth-oriented international festivals and the world’s best animation schools. These sessions, in Chicoutimi and Jonquière, will continue to be hosted by the team of Phil & Ciné. Les Grandes vues (ages 8 and up) is another must-see program for children who love discovery and travel, presented on the afternoon of Sunday, March 26, at Théâtre C. Families are invited to show up a half hour before the screenings, presented by Hydro-Québec, for fun activities in the venues’ lobbies.
The festival also has something especially for teens, with the return of the popular #13-17 program, presented by Mode Choc, on the evening of March 25 at the Centre d’Expérimentation Musicale. Hard-hitting documentaries and otherworldly animations await the teens and adults who attend. Movie-loving teens and their friends are invited to show up at 7 p.m. for an hour of pre-movie cabaret-style improv by the dynamic L’Imprévu Improvisation troupe.
“I feel incredibly privileged to have the mission of presenting such a great variety of beautiful films to the region’s young people! This year, we have plenty of premieres of Quebec-made films, such as À mort le bikini by Justine Gauthier and IF by Didier Charette. We plan to give them a rock star’s welcome, to make sure their time with the young audience is unforgettable.” - Noémie Bouchard, youth section director
REGARD – The podcast
The festival’s podcast is getting a makeover for 2023. This year, REGARD will present six interviews with filmmakers who will discuss their love of cinema, artistic approach and their latest short film. The episodes will be hosted by the festival’s official spokesperson, Nicky Lamontagne, and recorded at the Centre d’Expérimentation Musicale during the festival. The project is produced and directed by Balado Boréal, with the financial support of the Bureau du cinéma de Saguenay. The six episodes will be released in April on the Balado Boréal website as well as on the podcast services of Apple, Spotify and Google.
More than just shorts
Of course, REGARD is known for more than its short film programming. Each year, the event offers festivalgoers a host of activities and special projects. The return of the Cabaret SiriusXM, announced in early January, is a major highlight. On March 24 and 25 starting at 11 p.m., the Cabaret will set up in a new venue, Hôtel Le Montagnais. On the menu: mystery artists, surprises, a carte blanche program by Festival La Noce, a festive atmosphere and unforgettable encounters.
As for the Ruelle du court métrage (short film alley) located to the left of Centre Bang in downtown Chicoutimi and powered by Ubisoft Saguenay, REGARD offers the community several free activities for all from March 23 to 25: an outdoor cocktail party to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Ubisoft Saguenay, a snowy pétanque tournament, and of course the traditional sugaring-off party.
In addition to passes, which have been on sale since January 16, single tickets for each session and access to REGARD’s streaming platform will go on sale March 1 on the festival’s website. Admission to Cabaret SiriusXM is free for pass holders.
REGARD Festival mobile app
You will soon be able to download the Festival REGARD mobile app, which allows you to create a personalized schedule and get up-to-the-minute festival news. We will send you notifications throughout the festival to announce surprises and information relevant to the smooth operation of the Festival.