Entertainment

Chien de garde is Canada's Oscar hopeful in category of best foreign language film

Sophie Dupuis' Chien de garde has been chosen to represent Canada in the category of best foreign language film as a contender for the 2019 Oscars.

The crime drama about a Montreal drug cartel is Canada's submission for the 2019 awards

Filmmaker Sophie Dupuis' Chien de garde has been chosen to represent Canada in the category of best foreign language film for the 2019 Oscars. (AFP/Getty Images)

Sophie Dupuis' Chien de garde, which goes by the title Family First in English, has been chosen to represent Canada in the category of best foreign language film for the 2019 Oscars.

Telefilm Canada made the announcement in Montreal today, where Dupuis currently lives.

She found out that her film had been chosen just two hours before the news went public.

I knew that they were announcing today, but I was sure it would not be us.- Sophie Dupuis , Filmmaker

"I was going to the grocery store. I wanted to do a little recipe in the Crock-Pot. I was really surprised," she said.

"I knew that they were announcing today, but I was sure it would not be us." 

Chien de garde is a crime drama set in Montreal's Verdun neighbourhood about a young man involved in a drug cartel run by his uncle. 

Starring Jean-Simon Leduc, Theodore Pellerin, Maude Guerin, Paul Ahmarani and Claudel Laberge, it was considered a dark horse up against Canadian film legend Denys Arcand's The Fall of the American Empire. Arcand is the only Canadian director to have won the best foreign film Oscar.

Christa Dickenson, Telefilm's executive director, said that at a time when "gender parity is on the tips of everybody's tongues," it was "exciting" to see a female director chosen.

Chien de garde will now compete with films from dozens of other countries for a spot on the list of official Oscar nominations.

Dupuis, a native of Val-d'Or in northwestern Quebec, is in her early 30s and directed Chien de garde on a budget of about $1.5 million.

"I'm happy to represent the country with a movie from Quebec, in French, and to show all around the world that we exist," she said.

"It's a big responsibility, but I'll do it. I can handle that."

The ceremony is set for Feb. 24 in Los Angeles.