Canadian feature Pour l'amour de Dieu (For the Love of God) will screen in competition at this year's Shanghai International Film Festival — an important event for raising the stature of Canadian films in China.

Directed by Micheline Lanctôt, the film follows a lonely girl in 1959 Quebec who forms an attachment, at school, to the beautiful Sister Cecilia and the young father Malachy. Meanwhile, the nun and priest are torn between love of God and love for each other.

Organizers of the Shanghai festival have unveiled the 10 films invited to compete for the main prize, the Golden Goblet, including White Tiger by Russia's Karen Shakhnazarov and Chrysalis by Spain's Paula Ortiz.

French director Jean-Jacques Annaud will chair the jury chosing the winner.

In addition to Lanctôt's film, nine Canadian documentaries will screen in the festival's International Panorama section, a forum for diverse films from around the world. They will compete for the Magnolia international Documentary Award, organized by Shanghai's film and TV community.

The Canadian contenders include Jennifer Baichwal's Payback, a reflection on debt based on Margaret Atwood's book, and Waking the Green Tiger, Gary Marcuse's examination of an environmental campaign within China to stop a huge dam project on the upper Yangtze River.

The Other docs headed to Shanghai are:

  • 40 Days at Base Camp, directed by Dianne Whelan.
  • A People Uncounted, directed by  Aaron Yeger.
  • Les États-Unis d'Afrique (United States of Africa), directed by Yanick Létourneau.
  • People of a Feather, directed by Joel Heath.
  • To Make a Farm, directed by Steve Suderman.
  • Trente Tableaux (In Pieces), directed by Paule Baillargeon.
  • We Ain't Rich or Famous but We're the Happy Pals, directed by Jay Bajaj.

Telefilm also plans to take an additional 10 feature-length films to Shanghai for Focus Canada, an industry event to showcase Canadian filmmaking. The federal film funding agency led a delegation travelling to the annual festival for the past three years.

The 2012 Shanghai International Film Festival runs June 16 to 24.