sikiitu-1 Pleins ecrans short film festival online Quebec


Quebec’s online short film festival Plein(s) Écran(s) returns this week

We spoke with festival director Ariane Roy-Poirier about the mandate of Plein(s) Écran(s) and 2023 highlights.

Returning for its seventh edition, Quebec’s online short film festival Plein(s) Écran(s) continues to expand. From Jan. 18 to 29, the festival unfolds free and online, showcasing four new films every 24 hours available to stream on Facebook, Instagram and their website. Viewers will have access to forty films and many events throughout the festival. The online component will also feature interviews, commentaries and a podcast to dive further into the world of short-form cinema. 

As Ariane Roy-Poirier, the general director and programming director, explains, while many festivals were forced to pivot online due to the pandemic, they’ve been doing it virtually from the start. “Being online was a way to highlight short film and make it as accessible as possible,” she explains. “It’s about the democratization of films. We want to use social media to help connect an audience with short films, particularly those who might not otherwise have an opportunity to see it.”

Suzanne et Chantal, directed by Rachel Graton, will be the festival’s opening film. It will be presented with three other shorts (the day one online lineup) during an opening night event at Cinéma Beaubien on Jan. 17. The event will feature filmmaker Q&As, spokesperson Catherine Brunet and Plein(s) Écran(s) team members. Taking things in person, explains Roy-Poirier, is a “chance to celebrate the festival.”

Suzanne et Chantal is one of 24 films in the official competition, which features films that screened at festivals at Sundance, TIFF and nouveau cinema (among others). The program was selected by a committee compromised of Dora Moats, Sarra El Abed and Kevin Laforest. For Poirier-Roy, the team needed to reflect different tastes and sensibilities in the final programming. “It was important that we didn’t just vote by consensus. Everyone’s coup de coeurs were included,” she says. The final selection features fiction, documentary and animation. 

Films in competition are eligible for a wide selection of prizes to be awarded by a jury composed of actress and writer Julianne Coté, Nour Belkhiria (best known for her leading role in Antigone) and writer-director Marc- Antoine Lemire, whose new film Mistral Spatial premieres this month. 

La main gauche (directed by Maxime Robin)

This year’s edition will similarly feature other in-person events, including a Kino Kabaret at Cinéma Moderne (Jan. 21 at 9 p.m.), a masterclass at UQAM with Stéphane Lafleur and d’André-Line Beauparlant and a special event in Drummondville on Jan. 13, where spokesperson Catherine Brunet will present some of her personal favourites from this year’s lineup. 

The event in Drummondville represents an expansion for the festival as the first event outside of Montreal. “At the base, the festival is about accessibility and is not just for the big cities,” says Roy-Poirier. “Drummondville was a natural first choice, as they have a passionate public hungry for Quebec cinema.” Ariane Roy-Poirier hopes that they visit different parts of the province every year. 

While the festival is dedicated to Quebec cinema, this year, it will spotlight films from the Festival Off-Courts, which takes place in Trouville, France. “I went and fell in love with the films,” says Ariane Roy-Poirier, “so we approached them to present some of their premieres and our favourites at our festival.” Among the films is Chiatura, by Quebec filmmaker Toby Andris. Financed in France and shot in Georgia, about a cable car operator who launches a personal battle against the entire city of Chiature, GA, after her husband is killed in a mining accident. The film premiered at Slamdance last year. 

There will be a night of celebration for the closing ceremony at the Diving Bell Social Club, including a drag show hosted by Selma and Uma Gahd with performances by Jessie Précieuse and Vulveeta. An ’80s-inspired dance party will follow. 

As the festival continues to grow and expand, it stays close to its original mission: shedding light on the incredible diversity and talent in Quebec short films and making them as accessible as possible. 

For more information and the full festival program, please visit the Plein(s) Écran(s) website.

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