Karlovy Vary: Canadian Film Rides Critical Wave Out of Cannes

2:21 AM PST 07/08/2014 by Etan Vlessing
Telefilm

Fresh from triumph on the Croisette for Xavier Dolan and David Cronenberg, emerging Canadian filmmaking talent is being showcased at the west Bohemian spa town festival.

KARLOVY VARY -- As Canadian directors walk the red carpet at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival for world premieres, top Canadian film financier Carolle Brabant is on a mission to promote Canadian film after a big competition presence at Cannes.

"I'm seeing the wave after Cannes. We're getting calls from festivals worldwide to do Canadian film retrospectives, as they want to know what films we have," Brabant told The Hollywood Reporter while attending the west Bohemian spa town festival.

As head of Telefilm Canada, Brabant oversees an investment of around $100 million annually in Canadian film.

The critical wave she highlights started with Canada having three films, by David Cronenberg, Atom Egoyan and Xavier Dolan, in contention for the Palme d'Or at Cannes.

In the end, Dolan's Mommy shared Cannes' Jury Prize with veteran Jean-Luc Godard, and Julianne Moore won the best actress prize in Cannes for her star turn in Cronenberg's Maps to the Stars.

Brabant's Telefilm Canada, eager to prove the Cannes prizes were more than a coincidence, is showcasing films by young Canadian talent in Karlovy Vary.

Besides Mommy, which is screening here along with an earlier Dolan film, Tom at the Farm, there are also competition berths for David Lambert's Je suis à toi, a Canada-Belgium co-production, and Andrew Huculiak's Violent.

"People reacted well. It was a very warm welcome," Lambert said of his world premiere in Karlovy Vary, where he also screened his debut feature, Beyond the Walls, in 2012 after a Cannes bow.

For his part, Huculiak is hurling a brick for Canadian newcomers with his Norwegian-language drama about impulsive teen angst that is filled with creative risk.

Neither Huculiak nor his fellow screenwriters, Josh Huculiak, Cayne McKenzie and Joseph Schweers, speak Norwegian.

And Violent, about a young woman vividly recalling the memory of five people who loved her most before a catastrophic event, is Huculiak's debut feature, after he made his name as the drummer and songwriter for the Canadian progressive pop group We Are the City.

"I find being on the verge of disaster very exciting. I wouldn't have it any other way," Huculiak said of having to translate the Violent screenplay into Norwegian for first-time actors to perform on set in Bergen, Norway, before the film was translated back into English for editing and subtitling.

There's method in the madness: Huculiak and his collaborators are veteran music video makers, and Violent started out as a companion piece to We Are the City's 2013 sophomore album of the same name.

Calgary-based sales agent Media Darling reports distributors are circling Violent ahead of a possible slot in Toronto, followed by screenings elsewhere on the festival circuit.

The Canadian contingent in Karlovy Vary also includes Andreas Horvath's Earth’s Golden Playground, an Austria-Canada co-produced documentary; Bruce LaBruce's Pierrot Lunaire, a Germany-Canada co-production; and
 Denis Côté's Que ta joie demeure.

The Karlovy Vary Film Festival continues through July 12.

Watch the trailer for Violent below.

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