Quebec on the way to the Oscars

On January 27, members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will begin voting to determine which works will compete in the various categories. In this best short feature film, remember that two productions from Quebec were shortlisted: frostMarianne Farley and Big slapsby Annie St-Pierre. Added to this, for the best animated short film, there are three titles supported by NFB: herbsBy Claude Cloutier art affairsby Joanna Quinn and Les Mills, and like a riverby Sandra Demazeris. However, between the mentioned list and the likely date, there is a lot of work to be done.

Says Annie St-Pierre, whose movie was Big slaps It tells the humiliating, but ultimately luminous New Year’s Eve story of a divorced father who goes in search of his rebellious offspring from his ex-wife.

“It ranges from the obscure microblog to the larger media as well as niche media outlets, such as the Award Daily or the Gold Dirby, which are almost like swimming pools hockey, but for the TV and Film Awards; For in-depth articles on TV and radio… There hasn’t really been a day I haven’t given interviews since the announcement [le 21 décembre] ‘, specify.

Note that Annie St-Pierre is having such an adventure for the first time. On the contrary, Marianne Farley who is very beautiful Margaret It was in the running for the Academy Award for Best Short Film in 2019, which is a regular thing.

“The idea is that the more people talk about your movie, the more people in the academy are likely to hear about it and want to see it. So yes, there is a marathon side to it. […] “, Emphasizes.

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An anticipation movie for a burning topic that, unfortunately, has him frost It tells of the obstacle course of a woman seeking an abortion, in the near future where this medical intervention is now illegal.

With only one previous nomination to her name, and without wanting to be arrogant, does Marianne Farley think she has a head start on the other courts on the shortlist? “I was told yes, but I personally don’t think so. It is unpredictable. For example, a miscarriage may affect some organs, but postpone others. The director, who is currently working on her first feature film, believes, ‘It’s out of my will.

new context

For its part, the National Film Council has experience in the run-up to the Oscars, with the organization winning 12 statuettes and garnering 75 nominations during its long history.

“The marketing strategy for a short animated film begins in advance: starting in the summer, we concretely plan the communication, marketing and distribution actions for films that are eligible (or for which we would like to qualify) […] For the stages before (qualification) and after (pre-selection) the shortlisting, our strategies are aimed at reaching and persuading voting members, from the short film and feature-length animation branch. They are the only ones who can vote during these phases,” explains the NFB Academy Awards’ dedicated team side.

So this “strategy” is aimed at these specific members, which also includes press relations primarily in the United States, but also in Canada, advertising, promotional emails sent to voting members, content creation, etc.

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The pandemic is clearly a game-changer in these representations, as the NFB team reminds us. “A lot of influence work is always done on members in person: a tour of the biggest studios in the US (Disney, Pixar, DreamWorks, etc.) is organized every year by NFB. Two filmmakers were on their way to showcase their creative process to the staff of major studios, Most of them are members of the Academy voting […] This tour has not been possible for two years. »

Here, as in many sectors, video conferencing now prevails.

Excellence and Paradox

Don’t bother, morale is good and there are many reasons for joy. As Marianne Farley points out: “Once again, we find ourselves filmmakers from Quebec, from Quebec because [nous sommes] Two women, in this case, in the process… I find it unusual. It felt so privileged to experience this with a team wild cat The last time. Plus, we have the same distributor, h264, this time like this time. Well, we don’t have a nomination yet, but being with Annie Saint-Pierre is really cool. »

A lot of touching work has always been done with the members personally. […] This tour has not been possible for two years.

The same story with his philosophical colleague about what will happen next. “I have no expectations other than the pleasure I feel at the moment to be surprised to be there. But surely once you embark on this race you have to agree to pack all the other careers a little bit – we are in three time zones: Los Angeles, Europe and our regions . »

To continue Annie St-Pierre: “At the same time, I find the situation contradictory, because I am basically not with the artistic competition. I find that every work is a universe in itself, incomparable, unique. But at the same time, I feel awe and gratitude for all these festivals and parties that It celebrates cinema. At the moment, cinema lives thanks to them.”

The Oscar nominations will be announced on February 8, and the ceremony will take place on March 27.

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