SAGUENAY, Monday, March 25, 2019 – Throughout the five days of the REGARD festival, local and visiting festivalgoers came together with the festival team to enjoy some of the world’s finest short films. Works from Quebec and around the world were celebrated once again with another high-quality program. The 23rd annual REGARD closed on Sunday with a selection of audience favourites.
In the words of REGARD’s executive director Marie Elaine Riou, “smiling festivalgoers and the festival’s electric atmosphere are a testament to how essential it is to present the year’s best films on the big screen, in a festival setting. A festival should be a platform for discovery and encounters, a platform that gives the films a boost. In my opinion, this role is all the more crucial for short films. When the public and filmmakers go home happy and inspired for the coming year, we’ve done our job!”
At the awards ceremony, ten short films were honoured by the various juries. The winners included Juste moi et toi, by Sandrine Brodeur-Desrosiers, winner of the Canadian Grand Prize, and Riviera by Jonas Schloesing, winner of the Grand Prize. The REGARD Festival is part of the OSCARS® nomination process for Best Short Film. Riviera also won the award for Best Animated Film as determined by the professional jury. The short film À l’aube, by Saguenay-based directors Anaë Bilodeau and Louis-Pierre Cossette, won the Bourse à la création régionale, a grant for local artists. The two directors received a $1,000 cash prize presented by MAtv and Hydro-Québec, as well as $15,000 in creative services courtesy of La bande Sonimage.
RECORD NUMBER OF PASSES SOLD
The public came out in large numbers, purchasing 50% more passes than the previous year. A number of steps were taken to accommodate everyone, such as an overflow venue in the Salle François-Brassard at Cégep de Jonquière for select sessions. The initiative proved successful and will return for the 24th edition.
Nearly half of the festival’s activities were sold out, while the other half were also well attended, with enthusiastic audiences filling theatres throughout the event.“We worked hard to develop the schedule, and took a few risks, like parallel screenings in Chicoutimi and Jonquière on Friday night, the Market activities held in a large venue and the gala opening on Wednesday evening. Although we still need to make some adjustments, we are very pleased with the public response, and audiences’ clear appreciation. It’s great to see,”added Riou.
REGARD is more than a five-day festival: it is also a non-profit organization that produces numerous activities and screenings year round, giving cinephiles the chance to watch and re-watch their favourite shorts from the festival’s 23rd edition.
As part of the extended REGARD program, ten of the top short films from the 23rd annual festival, including eight fictions, one documentary and one animation, both domestic and foreign, are available online at La Fabrique Culturelle. Une soeur, the Jury Prize winner by Delphine Girard, or Kinship, directed Jorge Camarotti, are there to be watched and watched again until March 27 inclusive.
The REGARD team is already planning off-festival screenings for the coming months. First up is the Tournée des coups de cœur de la 23e édition, a selection of favourites that will return to most of the same venues as in previous years, in every region of Quebec. The REGARD en Famille screenings for all ages will also return, having reached more than 1000 young people last year thanks to numerous collaborations. REGARD’s series of screenings for film societies will continue, after starting in the Chicoutimi, Jonquière and Roberval clubs the day after the festival with the award winners from the 23rd edition. Lastly, a selection of shorts selected by the nine cegep students of the festival’s emerging programmers’ committee will be presented in cegeps starting this fall. Interested promoters, film societies and cegeps can book dates as of now if they wish to participate in the 100-plus screenings planned for the coming year.