Concordia's Thursday Report

Vol. 28, No.12

March 18, 2004


Student film at Jutras

By Silvia Cademartori

Still image Dark figures on white backgrounds

Production still from Encre noire sur fond d'azur.

“It was an honour just to be nominated” can ring hollow in the fiercely competitive world of cinema, but when uttered by 22-year-old Concordia filmmaker Félix Dufour-Laperrière, you believe him.

Dufour-Laperrière is a part-time Film Animation student at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema whose first film was nominated for a Jutra Award, Quebec’s version of the Oscars, It’s a challenge for an experienced filmmaker to get nominated, let alone for a student to get the nod, but Dufour-Laperrière did – in the best animated film category.

His five-minute colour and black-and-white film, Encre noire sur fond d'azur (Black Ink on Sky-Blue) lost out to Bleu Comme un coup de feu at the glittering, televised Jutra Awards on Feb. 22, but he’s overjoyed. The door to Québec’s film industry has opened for him.

“The nomination came as a big surprise and I was flattered. I’ll probably have an easier time funding my next film because the nomination looks good on my CV and my film got so much exposure.”

Encre noire sur fond d’azur is a hand-drawn animated film using ink, water colour, and touched-up photos on white paper. There’s a soundtrack but no dialogue to the film, which was inspired by a break-up with an ex-girlfriend.

Dufour-Laperrière was “in a dark place” when he conceived of the idea of a character in a basement disappearing into a giant black ink blot and discovering another world living within. He says the film ultimately is about hope, as black slowly fades to sky-blue.

The film was barely into production when Dufour-Laperrière was accepted into the university’s cinema program two years ago. He credits the School for teaching him the basics, especially the animation process in relation to sound and sound editing. “I learned the technical aspects of film animation here,” the Chicoutimi native said.

He also credits Assistant Professor of Cinema Farzin Farzaneh for getting him into the program in the first place. Dufour-Laperrière’s first application to the animation program was turned down. After drawing all summer, he showed his portfolio to Farzaneh, who convinced the School to accept him.

“He happens to have the drive to start a film and get the funding under way before starting the animation program. He has the motivation and inspiration to succeed,” Farzaneh said, downplaying his role as a mentor.

“All I did was offer informal advice and introduce him to local film distributor Cinéma Libre, which ended up distributing his film. He secured editing at the National Film Board.”

Farzaneh said that all Cinema students are left to their own devices once the basics have been taught so as to encourage them to become independent filmmakers. Dufour-Laperrière is already working on his second animated film, a concept piece about a big philosophical idea, the individual vs. the collectivity.