François Girard’s Hochelaga, Land of Souls to represent Canada in the race for the 2018 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar
Montreal, September 25, 2017 – Director François Girard’s Hochelaga, Land of Souls (Hochelaga, Terre des Âmes) will represent Canada for in the race for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar at the 90th Academy Awards, held on March 4, 2018. The pan-Canadian Oscar selection committee, chaired and coordinated by Telefilm Canada, announced its decision today.
“Promoting Canadian film to audiences the world over is a top priority for Telefilm Canada, and the Academy Awards provides an incredible opportunity to do just that,” said Carolle Brabant, Executive Director, Telefilm Canada. “An Oscar nomination can completely change a filmmaker’s trajectory, as it provides the opportunity for their work to be discovered by millions of new film lovers around the globe.”
“I warmly congratulate François Girard, Roger Frappier, and the entire team behind Hochelaga, Land of Souls. I have no doubt that your film will continue to seduce audiences and the Academy’s voting members, and I look forward to seeing the groundswell of public support during this high profile race.”
François Girard is a renowned film, opera, and theatre director. In 1993, his feature film Thirty Two Short Films about Glenn Gould was an international success. Five years later, the Oscar-winning The Red Violin established the filmmaker as an important figure in international cinema. In 2007, he directed Silk, an adaptation of the successful Alessandro Baricco novel, and in 2014, he helmed Boychoir. To this day, François Girard’s films have won close to 100 awards internationally and the praises of filmgoers from all four corners of the globe.
This is François Girard’s first time representing Canada in the race for the Best Foreign Language Film nomination at the Academy Awards.
“This is a great honour that reflects on Hochelaga, Land of Souls and on all those who worked on the film, starting with my dear friend and producer Roger Frappier,” said director François Girard. “In the film, French is heard alongside Mohawk and Algonquin, the languages of the two great founding nations of our people.”
Hochelaga, Land of Souls was produced by Roger Frappier (MAX Films). Frappier is one of the most prolific Canadian producers, having produced more than 50 productions over the last 40 years. Two of his films have been nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, including Jesus of Montreal, which also won the jury prize at the Cannes Film Festival. From his start as a producer at the National Film Board in the 1970s, Frappier has worked with almost all of Quebec’s renowned filmmakers, on top of having discovered a number talented young filmmakers. Over his career, he has thus contributed to the birth of major cinematographic work.
Producer Roger Frappier added: “Working with François Girard was one of the greatest experiences of my life. His vision of our belonging to this land, from the First Nations people to the present day, was in some ways a premonition of what we are presently living. I am delighted that this film will now sit next to the best films from around the world.”
A tremendous downpour hits Montreal, and a spectacular sinkhole opens up in Percival-Molson Stadium in the middle of a football game. The stadium is evacuated, and a few hours later, it becomes a protected archaeological site. Centuries of history are revealed beneath the field. Mohawk archaeologist Baptiste Asigny begins investigating, and he will discover the multitude of generations who have occupied this land, each with buried secrets. Baptiste then sets out to find what he has spent his career searching for: the vestiges of the village of Hochelaga where his Iroquoian ancestors met French explorer Jacques Cartier in October 1535. Hochelaga, Land of Souls explores 750 years of history in one single spot where the souls of all centuries and all cultures come together.
The impressive cast includes Samian, Vincent Perez, Wahiakeron Gilbert, Raoul Trujillo, Sébastien Ricard, Siân Phillips, Linus Roache, Emmanuel Schwartz, David La Haye, Tanaya Beatty, Gilles Renaud and Naïade Aoun, to name just a few.
Hochelaga, Land of Souls was financed by Telefilm Canada and produced by Roger Frappier (MAX Films). The film distributed in Quebec by Les Films Séville, affiliate of eOne, and represented internationally by Seville International.
The film will be released theatrically in fall 2017.
Selection process for the Best Foreign Language Film category
Telefilm coordinates and chairs the pan-Canadian Oscar selection committee, which comprises 23 representatives from the main governmental organizations and associations active in the audiovisual industry. This jury is responsible for submitting one film to represent Canada to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which accepts only one film per country in the Best Foreign Language Film category. The selected film must have been produced outside the United States, be primarily in a language other than English, and have been shown in a movie theatre for at least seven consecutive days in its country of origin between October 1, 2015, and September 30, 2016. The Academy will announce the shortlist of nine films, selected from among those submitted, in December of this year. The official nominations are announced January 2018.
Canada and the Best Foreign Language Film category at the Oscars
In the history of the Oscars, eight Canadian films have been nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category: Kim Nguyen’s War Witch (Rebelle), in 2013; Philippe Falardeau’s Monsieur Lazhar and Agnieszka Holland’s In Darkness (a minority coproduction with Poland and Germany), in 2012; Denis Villeneuve’s Incendies, in 2011; and Deepa Mehta’s Water, in 2007. Three films by Denys Arcand were also nominated: The Decline of the American Empire (Le Déclin de l’empire américain), in 1987, Jesus of Montreal (Jésus de Montréal), in 1990, and The Barbarian Invasions (Les Invasions barbares), which won the coveted award in 2004.
Members of the pan-Canadian selection committee
Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television (ACCT)
Alberta Media Production Industries Association (AMPIA)
Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA)
Alliance québécoise des techniciens de l’image et du son (AQTIS)
Association québécoise de la production médiatique (AQPM)
Association québécoise des critiques de cinéma (AQCC)
Association des réalisateurs et réalisatrices du Québec (ARRQ)
Canada Council for the Arts
Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA)
Directors Guild of Canada
Global Affairs Canada
Manitoba Film and Music
National Film Board of Canada
New Brunswick — Tourism, Heritage and Culture
Newfoundland and Labrador Film Development Corporation
Nova Scotia Business
Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC)
Société de développement des entreprises culturelles (SODEC)
Société des auteurs de radio, télévision et cinéma du Québec (SARTEC)
Union des artistes (UDA)
Yukon Media Development
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Annie Tremblay, Communications Annie Tremblay
Deputy Director, Communications