International Short Film Festival in Saguenay | REGARD belongs to its filmmakers

(Saguenay) It was in front of a packed house at Théâtre C in Chicoutimi that the 28e edition of the annual celebration of short films got underway on Wednesday. A favorite of artists and film buffs alike, the REGARD festival will present, until Sunday, more than 200 films from 56 countries.

“This festival was created for filmmakers and you will always be welcomed with open arms, with or without a film,” launched the director of programming, Mélissa Bouchard, provoking a lively wave of applause from the public, announcing all the generosity he would show during the evening.


Justine Valtier and Mélissa Bouchard form the duo at the head of the REGARD festival, launched Wednesday evening.

The atmosphere was festive, but the one who has taken on this role for 15 years this year still wanted to formulate a few messages. After recalling the cry from the heart of distributor h264, which was threatened with closure in February before receiving help from Quebec, she clarified that according to her observations, “almost all other small distributors” would be in the same boat. “We puff out our chests when we see that our films are going (to festivals) to Sundance, to Berlin, to Clermont or to the Oscars, so it is important for me to emphasize that the work that getting there requires is monumental and expensive . »

Read “H264 film distributor threatened with closure”

Without them, there just aren’t any films that represent Quebec abroad. Or if there are, it’s because they sell their rights to foreign companies who usually don’t care about the interests of filmmakers.

Mélissa Bouchard, director of programming

In 2023, three Quebec short films made their way to the Oscar preselection. dead catby Annie-Claude Caron and Danick Audet – presented at REGARD in official competition –, Invincibleby Vincent-René Lortie, and Oasis, by Justine Martin. In recent years, we have also seen the shine Wildcat by Jeremy Comte (in 2019), Daisy by Marianne Farley (2019), Brotherhood by Meryam Joobeur (2020) and Henry by Yan England (2013).


Invincible, by director Vincent René-Lortie, pictured here last January, was a finalist at the last Oscar ceremony.

If so many local films travel, it is, among other things, thanks to the showcase offered by the REGARD festival. The presence of producers, distributors and teams from all over the world allows for fruitful networking in addition to creative excitement. “It’s like a big cinema holiday camp, where everyone takes the time to make discoveries and meet people,” explains Mélissa Bouchard.

The festival where it all begins

For Annie-Claude Caron, co-director of the very funny dead cat, REGARD represents the beginning of a beautiful story. In 2020, an infamous year when the festival had to stop 24 hours after its start due to COVID-19, she and her partner, Danick Audet, presented their first documentary, Gino Birch.

“In just one day, we met people who were essential for the future,” notes the filmmaker, who had the opportunity to meet many people at the Professional Breakfast, a networking activity intended to create links between local industry and international guests.

“Even just having the opportunity to present our shorts on the big screen, to experience the reactions of the public live, it’s incredible and it’s worth gold,” adds the Abitibienne.


Isabelle Giroux in Extrasby Marc-Antoine Lemire

An opinion shared by Marc-Antoine Lemire (Space Mistral), director ofExtras, a shattered and “meta” film about a lovesick actress presented Wednesday evening. According to the one whose baptism this edition is, the “best part” of the festival remains the meeting with the public.

I really wanted to launch this film in a festive, gang context, where I knew there was going to be a participatory energy. I was really hoping we could come here for that.

Marc-Antoine Lemire, director

Opportunities are indeed rare for directors of this film format to present the fruit of their work in a context of such scope. After all, REGARD is the most important short film event in Canada.

Place of all possibilities

Director of the magnificent Your earsinspired by the 150th paradee anniversary of the village of Armagh, in Chaudière-Appalaches, and of his family reality, Alexandre Isabelle is on his third appearance at the festival as a filmmaker.


Scene from the movie Your ears

In 2017, he presented his first professional short there, The part. The Levisian was able to observe the impact of this showcase, because his film began to circulate in events across the country, but also as far as the United States and Europe. The dream continued in 2021, with the screening of So Socrates is mortal.

For me, REGARD is the opening of possibilities. (…) And it is an achievement that the festival manages to remain relevant both from a local and international point of view.

Alexandre Isabelle, director

This year, Your ears is already destined for a good journey, even before being shown to the REGARD public. The film and its director have just returned from South by Southwest, in Texas, where it was selected.

The Saguenay International Short Film Festival is the event that attracts the most tourists annually to Chicoutimi, recalled Saguenay municipal councilor Marc Bouchard, before Wednesday evening. Let us hope that the progress of the event, which has been constantly developing for 28 years, will reflect the careers that will begin there.

The hosting costs for this report were paid by REGARD, which has not exercised any rights of REGARD over its content.


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