Canada Cheers Big Cannes Competition Presence

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A country owning Olympic hockey gold has in three films by David Cronenberg, Atom Egoyan and Xavier Dolan its best chances for the Palme d'Or.

TORONTO -- Historic, unprecedented and a host of other adjectives were rolled out in Canada Thursday on news that films by three Canadian directors, David Cronenberg, Atom Egoyan and Xavier Dolan, now figure among the 18 features competing for the Palme d'Or in Cannes.

A country used to winning Olympic gold for hockey awoke to learn it has its best-ever chance to win international cinema's top prize.

"This year's Cannes festival is truly a monumental occasion for Canadian filmmakers," Carolle Brabant, executive director of Telefilm Canada, the country's biggest film financier, said in a statement.

"This is the strongest presence we've ever had and a true testament to the exceptional vision and tremendous artistry of our country's filmmakers. Canadians should feel very proud," she added.

Celebrity photographer Caitlin Cronenberg took to her Twitter account to cheer her father's deconstruction of Hollywood, Map to the Stars, which features Julianne Moore and Robert Pattinson, being selected for official competition in Cannes.

"Hooray! Congratulations to Maps to the Stars and everyone involved! Cannes has no idea what they're in for! #proud," she wrote.

Cameron Bailey, artistic director at the Toronto Film Festival, saluted three homegrown directors likely to figure in his own selections for his September festival after their world premieres on the Croisette.

"Congratulations to Atom Egoyan, David Cronenberg & @XDolan on Competition berths at #Cannes. Because Canada," Bailey said proudly on his Twitter account.

Canada's big presence in Cannes, to include Lost River, Canadian actor Ryan Gosling's directorial debut screening in the Un Certain Regard sidebar, is also good news for indie distributor Entertainment One, which is handling the Cronenberg, Egoyan and Dolan titles at Cannes.

"We are looking forward to what's shaping up to be a momentous festival and extraordinary year in film for our many talented partners," eOne Films International president Harold van Lier said Thursday in a statement.

eOne Films International will handle sales of Maps to the Stars and the Ryan Reynolds-starrer The Captive in Cannnes, while boutique sales arm Seville International will shop Mommy.