Telefilm Canada names Gabrielle as Oscar pick

The Locarno audience award winner comes from micro_scope, the same Quebec producer behind two earlier Oscar best foreign language contenders, Monsieur Lazhar and Incendies.
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Indie producer micro_scope’s Gabrielle, by director Louise Archambault, on Tuesday afternoon was named as Canada’s contender in the best foreign language film competition at the 86th Academy Awards.

“We are very pleased and sincerely honoured to represent Canada in the Oscar race,” Archambault and micro_scope principals Luc Dery and Kim McCraw said in a joint statement.

micro_scope was also behind the 2011 Canadian Oscar contender Monsieur Lazhar, directed by Philippe Falardeau, and Denis Villeneuve’s Incendies, Canada’s 2010 contender.

Lazhar rode a steady awards momentum through the Canadian and international festival circuits in 2011, and Gabrielle this year has already garnered early praise.

The film won the audience award at the Locarno International Film Festival in August, and securing early sales to Haut en Court in France and Cineart in Belgium after an April screening for French and Belgian distributors.

The $4 million film, which is backed by SODEC and Telefilm Canada, follows a developmentally challenged but musically gifted young woman, and her quest to pursue an independent life and romantic relationship.

Gabrielle Manon-Rivard stars as Gabrielle, along with Alexandre Landry and Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin.

Gabrielle, which had its North American premiere at TIFF, is set to open the Hamburg Film Festival on Sept. 26.

With files from Dani Ng-See-Quan and Etan Vlessing