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Quebec: the belle of the cinema ball

The Story

At any supermarket checkout stand in Quebec, shoppers can choose from a rack of celebrity gossip magazines like 7 Jours or Echo-Vedettes. Unlike the rest of Canada, who indulge their guilty pleasures with Hollywood-focused tabloids, the Québécois read about the lives and loves of their own stars and starlets. This phenomenon is unique to French Canada which boasts its own star system, a successful movie-marketing machine, and a distinctive filmmaking voice, as shown in this CBC Television clip. 

Medium: Television
Program: Newsmagazine
Broadcast Date: Nov. 1, 1991
Guests: Gilles Carle, Arlette Cousture, Guy Fournier, Carl Marotte, Chloe St. Marie
Host: Alison Smith
Reporter: Tom Kennedy
Duration: 6:25
Film credits: Les filles de Caleb: Les Productions de l'Intrigue Inc.
Lance et compte: Communications Claude Héroux International , SGCQ, SRC, Société Français

Did You know?

• In 2003, Canadian films filled 18.8 per cent of the French movie market in Canada. By contrast, Canadian films made up only 0.9 per cent of the English market in Canada.

• In Quebec, films filter through a highly sophisticated promotional circuit. Before the final cut of the film has been edited, producers release trailers to play in the movie theatres. When the film has been completed, the cast, directors and producers participate in press-junkets, advance screenings and town halls across the province.

• "If you watch a French film, you know where you are: you are right here in Quebec. You can watch La grande séduction or Les invasions barbares or Gaz bar blues and you know exactly where you are. The film is addressed directly to the audience that it is made for: it is addressed to the French-speaking Canadian audience. A lot of the films that we've seen in English Canada in the past have not squarely addressed English Canadians." - Richard Stursberg, president of Telefilm Canada, Cultivating Audiences

• On July 11, 2003, Jean-François Pouliot's La grande séduction (English title: Seducing Doctor Lewis) premiered in Quebec. The French film, about a small fishing village along the St. Lawrence River, faced considerable competition given that it was also the opening week for the Hollywood blockbusters Pirates of the Caribbean and Terminator 3. But, Pouliot's film was triumphant, earning $800,000 and the top spot at the box office in its first weekend.

• As of 2004, Les Boys II (1998) is the top-grossing French-language Quebec film. The movie about a rag-tag group of Montreal hockey players earned a domestic total gross of $5,974,732.

Film Credit: Les filles de Caleb, Les Productions de l'Intrigue Inc. Lance et compte - Communications Claude Héroux International , SGCQ, SRC, Société Française de Production (SFP), FT1, Téléfilm Canada.



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