Quebec's youthful filmmaker Xavier Dolan is making a big impression at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival in France, where his latest and longest movie Laurence Anyways made its international debut Friday.

The 23 year old's film is an official selection in the Un Certain Regard category, which recognizes emerging talent and innovative, daring filmmaking.

8 Canadians to watch

The Canuck contingent this year includes a legendary provocateur and his filmmaking son, two acting ingénues and some hot young talent from Quebec. Read more.

  • David Cronenberg
  • Brandon Cronenberg
  • Sarah Gadon
  • Emily Hampshire
  • Arsinée Khanjian
  • Chloé Robichaud
  • Xavier Dolan
  • David Lambert

Laurence Anyways explores the struggles of a man who wants to become a woman, while simultaneously preserving his long-term heterosexual relationship. Dolan, who describes his films as "semi-fictional, semi-therapeutic," said the only thing he expects from the French festival is "friendship."

This despite the fact that his debut film, J’ai tué ma mere (I Killed My Mother) won three awards at Cannes in 2009, while his second picture, Les amours imaginaires (Heartbeats), was also critically acclaimed at the festival.

Dolan is part of a strong Canadian contingent showcasing their talent amid the star-studded festival on the French Riviera, which began May 16 and ends May 27.

David Cronenberg's son Brandon is also competing in the Un Certain Regard category with his chilling debut feature Antiviral. Meanwhile, his established father is unveiling his adaptation of Cosmopolis, based on Don DeLillo's novel.

While in Cannes, actors Emily Hampshire and Sarah Gadon will also be the recipients of the first inaugural Birks Canadian Diamond, an award presented by the Canadian diamond retailer to "recognize the accomplishments of up-and-coming Canadian talent who allow our country to be celebrated on the international stage."