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Telefilm and MoMA bring eighth Canadian Front to New York audiences

02 March 2011

Montreal, March 2, 2011 – The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, in association with Telefilm Canada, will present the eighth annual Canadian Front showcase from March 16 to March 21, 2011. This year’s festival features films coming from a variety of regions in Canada and showcase a variety of genres.

“The 2011 edition of the Canadian Front is a great illustration of the richness and the diversity of Canadian cinema. Canada is presenting eight new films in six different genres coming from different regions of Canada,” said Carolle Brabant, Executive Director of Telefilm.

“This annual showcase has given Telefilm many terrific opportunities to promote Canadian cinema with American audiences and key industry players,” she added. “New York City is the heart of the independent filmmaking and media community in the United States, so MoMA’s continued interest in our movie-making is extremely rewarding.”

“Over the past eight years Canadian Front has introduced narrative, documentary and experimental filmmakers from most provinces north of the border to New Yorkers, bringing to the attention of a discriminating audience eager to spread the word about films it likes beyond The Museum of Modern Art, the works of artists that deserve to be better known in the U.S. The selection of these films may be as personal and idiosyncratic as the curator who makes it, but the organization, the spirit and the commitment to this national adventure is Telefilm Canada’s, and its participation in this cultural event is both welcome and critical. Telefilm is an essential partner,” said Laurence Kardish, Senior Curator, Department of Film, The Museum of Modern Art.


Beauty Day (director: Jay Cheel, production company: Primitive Entertainment, Ontario) Before the body-threatening antics of Jackass came crashing into public consciousness, there was Ontario’s Ralph Zavadil, aka Cap’n Video, who cascaded off roofs into snowbanks, jumped off ladders into half-empty swimming pools, and drank eggs through his nostrils. Beauty Day is a rambunctious documentary about this irrepressible pioneer of local-access cable shenanigans who entertained and outraged viewers in the small city of St. Catharines—until a special Easter Show, featuring a fat rabbit and adorable puppies (none of which were hurt), got him kicked off the air for good. With a nod to Werner Herzog, Cheel follows the life and times of Cap’n Video and finds that the Cap’n is still quite a firecracker. World Premiere.

Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie* (director: Sturla Gunnarsson; production company: Entertainment One, National Film Board of Canada, Ontario; world sales: eOne Films International) Force of Nature is a smartly engaging documentary about one extraordinary man, Dr. David Suzuki, a media celebrity in Canada in part for his long-running television program The Nature of Things. At 74 years old, Suzuki returns to the University of British Columbia to deliver one last talk. The film is both a gripping biography and an illustrated lecture about the nature of the universe and man’s threat to our little planet. Despite the gravity of his message, Suzuki’s lecture is nothing short of exhilarating. International Premiere.


Jaloux (director: Patrick Demers; production company: Production Kinesis, Quebec; world sales: eOne Films International) Demers’s first feature is a nail-biting addition to the isolated-cabin-in-the-woods-by-a-lake genre. A young, good-looking couple on the verge of breaking up borrow a relative’s country cottage in order to work out their problems, but when a stranger comes calling—sort of—all attempts at reconciliation take a back seat to the suspense of what will happen next. The closing minutes of this taut psychological thriller are as tense and surprising as they are unnerving. New York Premiere.

Small Town Murder Songs* (director: Ed Gass-Donnelly; production company: STMS Films, Ontario; world sales: Visit Films) Film noir has taught audiences that bad things can happen in picture-perfect small towns just as easily as in the grimy big city, but rarely have filmgoers seen a film noir that’s also an ecclesiastical musical. Violent, propulsive, and gorgeous, Gass-Donnelly’s remarkable genre mash-up about a local police officer investigating a murder in a Mennonite community is filled with contemporary hymns and set amid a rural landscape of extraordinary beauty. New York Premiere.


La Fille de Montréal (A Montréal Girl)* (director: Jeanne Crépeau; production company: Box Film, Quebec) After 25 years, Ariane must move out of her cherished, if small and somewhat tatty, Montréal apartment. Though her girlfriend is away in Paris, she has close friends and her own natural optimism to fall back on. The filmmaker, who based the story on personal experience, has made a film for those who value friendship as highly as love, and for those who value the joys of urban life. US Premiere.


Les Signes vitaux (Vital Signs) (director : Sophie Deraspe; production company: Les Films Siamois, Quebec; world sales: Visit Films) Deraspe, whose debut feature, Missing Victor Pellerin, was a highlight of Canadian Front 2007, returns with her award-winning sophomore drama, about a young woman’s need for self-sacrifice. Simone, who works in a nursing home in Quebec City, finds comfort in being with the dying. Her boyfriend doesn’t understand Simone’s experiences, and tension escalates between them. Simone is played by a non-actor, and the boyfriend by a professional; the filmmaker uses their interactions to investigate the line between reality and narrative fabrication.

The Neighbor (Canada-USA, director: Naghmeh Shirkhan; production companies: Mehr Studio, British Columbia, Close-Up Videos, British Columbia and Cinemaeidos, New York) In Vancouver’s Iranian immigrant community, an older woman befriends a young mother whose husband spends more time in Tehran than with his wife and young daughter in Canada. Despite its bare-bones narrative, the film is a rich exploration of foreignness, loneliness, and how women adapt to alien surroundings. Shirkhan, who immigrated to America from Iran at the age of five, transferred the setting of her film from the Iranian expatriate community of Los Angeles to that of Vancouver at the suggestion of the film’s producer, fellow émigré Amir Naderi. East Coast Premiere.


Score: A Hockey Musical* (director: Michael McGowan; production company: Mulmur Feed Co. Ontario; world sales: Lewis Birnberg Hanet). There is quite a contradiction between Canada’s passion for hockey, the often brutal national sport, and the Canadian tendency toward nonaggression. McGowan’s musical, about a talented young hockey player who refuses to be confrontational, celebrates this bipolar Canadian condition. Ebullient and charming, Score imagines an all-singing, all-dancing (on skates, of course) local hockey league aiming for the big time. International Premiere.

* Indicates Telefilm Canada Feature Film Fund-financed films

About the Canadian Front
Canadian Front 2011 is organized by Laurence Kardish, Senior Curator, Department of Film, for the Museum of Modern Art, and is presented in partnership with Telefilm Canada with the support of the Canadian Consulate General in New York and the Délégation du Québec in New York.

About Telefilm Canada 
Telefilm Canada is a federal cultural agency dedicated to developing and promoting the Canadian audiovisual industry. Telefilm provides financial support to the private sector to create distinctively Canadian productions that appeal to domestic and international audiences. Telefilm also administers the Canada Media Fund’s programs. Visit


Media inquiries:
Douglas Chow
Telefilm Canada
514-283-0838 or 1-800-567-0890, ext. 2225