CTR Home Internal  Relations and Communications Home About CTR Publication Schedule CTR Archives

September 13, 2001 Cinema student takes best film award in Montreal


by Sylvain Comeau

Third-year film production student Jean-François Daigle took the Norman McLaren Award for the best film at the 32nd Canadian Student Film and Video Festival, part of the Montreal World Film Festival, which closed on Sept. 3.

Student filmmaking can be a tough undertaking, but it does have its rewards. Those include watching your labour of love with an audience in a real theatre for the first time — Daigle’s film Pain Relief was screened at Le Parisien as part of the festival — and getting an award from people who know film.

“We spend months writing, shooting and editing our films. I don’t think we make them just to get a good grade. I loved watching my film with an audience, and they seemed to enjoy it almost as much as I did,” Daigle said.

The jury of the student film festival, made up of two movie directors and a National Film Board producer, was another appreciative audience. Daigle is pleased that they responded to his unpretentious 18-minute short, which he calls “basically just a slick flick, a cool little film that’s fun to watch. And that was the whole idea.”

Daigle received a cheque for $1,000 along with the award, which he says doesn’t even pay for the film stock he bought to make Pain Relief.

“No, the cheque doesn’t cover my expenses,” he said, laughing at the notion. “I actually spent about $8,000 on the film — my parents helped in that department. I went over-budget. I even had to rent a corner store for one night. I was going for a little production at the beginning, but it just got bigger and bigger.”

He vows to stick to the budget if given the chance to direct a feature film, even though going over budget is practically a movie tradition. “That’s the kind of thing that gets people fired.”

Daigle feels that the jury responded to the rather high production values and professional look, which he was able to squeeze out of his budget, while maintaining film festival qualities as well. “I wanted to tell a story in an entertaining way, but at the same time keep it ambiguous in terms of its theme. The film is about love, the search for happiness and the longing for a better place — all the big themes.”

Daigle says he left it up to the audience to decide whether or not the film has an uplifting or happy ending.

“The main character is alienated, but he does change at the end. But it’s not clear whether or not that’s a good thing, since he also goes kind of schizo. So it can certainly be interpreted in many ways. I think that’s a good thing in a film.”

Two other Concordia film production students won this year; Carmen Zella MacKinlay won the best experimental video award for R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots), and Alexandra Myotte won the best animated video award for Shaletown. Daigle’s film also took the award for best fiction video.

Joseph Baron, the winner of the best student film award (the Kodak Grand Prize), was at York University when he made his film, Four, but he has just become a student at Concordia’s Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema.


Catherine Martin

Catherine Martin (BFA 82)

Bravo, Catherine!

Mariages, a film written and directed by film graduate Catherine Martin (BFA 82), seen above on the set, won rave reviews and the award for best script at the Montreal International Film Festival, and is being screened at the Toronto Film Festival, too.

While at Concordia, Martin studied film and photography, worked with directors Léa Pool, Paul Tana and Jean Chabot, then struck out on her own.

Mariages, her first full-length feature, is set in 19th-century Quebec and opens in theatres across Canada on Sept. 28.