At an event held yesterday morning, Telefilm Canada  presented its eighth annual Guichet d’or award to director and screenwriter Xavier Dolan for his film Mommy, the French-language feature that had the highest domestic box-office earnings in 2014, at $3.3 million. The award comes with a cash prize of $40,000 ($20,000 for the director and $20,000 for the screenwriter). Attending the event were actress Anne Dorval, producer Nancy Grant of Metafilms, Victor Rego, Senior Vice-President – Marketing and Distribution, of Les Films Séville, Anick Poirier, Vice-President of International Sales, also of Les Films Séville, as well as several major players in Canada’s audiovisual industry.
“While most prizes that recognize box-office performance are awarded to producers and distributors, we wanted to pay tribute to the creative talents that bring our movie industry to life and drive its success,” said Carolle Brabant, Telefilm Canada’s Executive Director. “Mommy has had an incredible career since its release. Audiences everywhere have been profoundly moved by the film, and it has been one of the most talked-about movies of the year. The story it tells is unique—as is Xavier Dolan’s story. His forceful, emotion-laden tale has won over audiences in Canada, attracted more than 1 million moviegoers in France, won several international awards, and has been sold to more than 50 countries. This proves that a film with a highly distinctive voice can draw viewers into movie theatres. For us at Telefilm, Mommy also serves as a reminder that we must continue to pursue our mission of encouraging and supporting filmmakers having as wide a variety of backgrounds as possible.”
Added Xavier Dolan: “I’m obviously honoured to receive this award. At a time when the arts community, like the industry more broadly, is engaged in self-questioning, this recognition proves that Quebec audiences are capable of having a real passion for a kind of home-grown cinema that doesn’t claim to be in the film d’auteur or commercial genre—but simply a sincere and honest labour of love.”
Over the years, Telefilm’s Guichet d’or Award has successively rewarded the directors and writers of the following films: Louis Cyr : l’homme le plus fort du monde, Omertà, Starbuck, Piché : entre ciel et terre, De père en flic, Cruising Bar 2 and Les 3 p’tits cochons.
Mommy had its world premiere screening at the 2014 Festival de Cannes, where it received a standing ovation lasting more than 10 minutes. The movie’s spectacular launch was capped by its co-winning the Jury Prize, which it shared with Jean-Luc Godard’s Adieu au langage. The film also screened at some 60 festivals, including those in Melbourne, Dubai, Karlovy Vary, Los Cabos, Palm Springs and San Sebastian.
Mommy has won several awards, including, most recently, France’s prestigious César for best foreign-language film—a first for a Canadian director. The film has also won prizes in Canada, most recently sweeping the Canadian Screen Awards held last Sunday in Toronto, where it won nine awards in the 13 categories in which it was nominated, among them the awards for best picture, best director and best original screenplay. Mommy’s three stars, Antoine Olivier Pilon, Anne Dorval and Suzanne Clément, won the awards, respectively, for best actor, best actress and best supporting actress.
Mommy also has 10 nominations for the upcoming Jutra awards, which celebrate Quebec cinema. The Jutras will be held on March 15.