3 Canadian films heading to Cannes

Several Canadian filmmakers will be headed to the French Riviera this spring, with a pair of short films and a documentary chosen to screen as part of the Cannes Film Festival.

Several Canadian filmmakers will be headed to the French Riviera this spring, with a pair of short films and a documentary chosen to screen as part of the Cannes Festival.

The documentary At Night, They Dance (La Nuit, elles dansent) will screen in the Directors' Fortnight, a independent program that runs alongside the main Cannes lineups.

The Cairo-set film, directed by Quebec filmmakers Isabelle Lavigne and Stéphane Thibault, delves into the world of belly dancers by focusing on one working-class family. Set to hit Montreal and Quebec City theatres in late May, the documentary will also be shown at Toronto's Hot Docs festival.

The Directors' Fortnight program is where recent Canadian titles such as Polytechnique and J'ai tué ma mère (I Killed My Mother) made a splash internationally.

Two Canadian short films will also vie in official competition at Cannes.

Ce n'est rien (It's Nothing), a 14-minute production by Quebec's Nicolas Roy, will compete against eight other titles for the festival's coveted Palme d'Or prize for short film.

Meanwhile, Saskatchewan filmmaker Jefferson Moneo's Big Muddy — a live-action short about a teenage outlaw — has been chosen for the festival's Cinéfondation competition. Moneo, who studied at New York's Columbia University, is one of 16 filmmakers whose work was selected out of the nearly 1,600 submissions from graduating students at film schools around the globe. Three Cinéfondation prizes will be awarded.

Director Michel Gondry, whose credits include Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Be Kind Rewind and The Green Hornet, will chair the jury judging the short film Palme d'Or and the Cinéfondation honours.

Cannes organizers also announced on Tuesday additions to the jury that will present the festival's main prize. Previously announced jury chair Robert De Niro will be joined by:

  • Directors Olivier Assayas, Mahamat Saleh Haroun and Johnny To.
  • Actors Jude Law and Uma Thurman.
  • Argentine actress and producer Martina Gusman.
  • Chinese producer Nansun Shi.
  • Norwegian writer and critic Linn Ullmann.

Films in the running for the top prize include Pedro Almodovar's The Skin I Live In, Lars von Trier's Melancholia and Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life.

The 2011 Cannes Film Festival, which opens with a screening of Woody Allen's romantic comedy Midnight in Paris, runs May 11-22.