A bazar for cinephiles by cinephiles

We chat with Médiafilm’s Martin Bilodeau about what to expect from this weekend’s annual CinéBazar.

PHOTO CINÉBAZAR_6059_(c)Daniel_Roussel (640x427)
CinéBazar 2014. Photo by Daniel Roussel
CinéBazar is Montreal’s flea market for film buffs, a congregation of cinephiles that feels somewhere between a swap meet and a record convention, with hundreds of DVDs, VHS tapes, movie posters and other memorabilia for sale.

Organized by Médiafilm, the long-running organization responsible for the rating system from 1 (masterpiece) to 7 (stinker) that’s commonly used in TV guides, newspapers and your very own DVR, CinéBazar is designed to raise funds for Mediafilm’s CinÉcole program. I spoke with Martin Bilodeau, editor-in-chief of Médiafilm, about this weekend’s bazar.

Alex Rose: Can you tell me a little bit about the history of CinéBazar?
Martin Bilodeau: CinéBazar was born in 2008, out of our need at Médiafilm to make room for our new offices, which were loaded from floor to ceiling with VHS, DVDs, books and magazines, and raise money to varnish our new floors! At first, we thought we should organize some kind of yard sale, then the idea came to invite friends and other people in the film community to rent tables and sell some their own stuff.

We were 12 exhibitors that year, displayed over roughly 30 tables, 16 of which were Médiafilm’s. A thousand people showed up at the door on that Saturday in January. Because of that demand we had no idea existed, what had originally been planned as a one-time thing became a yearly event. We grew steadily from then, and we now have over 50 exhibitors displaying with over 100 tables.

Belle de jourAR: CinéBazar profits go towards CinÉcole. Can you tell us a little bit about this project?

MB: CinÉcole is a program dedicated to introduce high school kids to the art of cinema on the big screen. It reaches out to teachers to encourage them to bring their pupils to screenings at Cinéma Beaubien, Excentris and other venues, where we show high-quality local films. With the help of our official partner, la Régie du cinéma, and some money coming from Telefilm Canada and the René Malo Foundation, we brought 4,000 kids to see 1987, Bidonvilles, Félix et Meira, Tu dors Nicole and Henri Henri. The money raised at CinéBazar helps finance that program, which is entirely free for schools, parents and kids.

AR: Are there any new things that people can expect from this year’s CinéBazar?
MB: That’s what I love about CinéBazar : it’s like Christmas, we never know what’s we’re going to find under the tree.

AR: What’s your personal favourite find at one of these?
MB: A vintage, big-scale French poster of Ingmar Bergman’s Cries and Whispers. And, more recently, some smaller posters, including Éric Rohmer’s Ma nuit chez Maud. Movie posters are my thing. But anyone who has a thing — from movie reels or memorabilia to genre films on VHS or romcoms on Blu-ray — should find his or her wishes fulfilled. ■
CinéBazar is happening at Centre du Plateau (2275 St-Joseph E.) this Saturday, March 28, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.