Dolan blasts funding system

Prodigy takes aim at 'mercantile' process upon winning best film and screenplay at the Prix Jutra. Five wins for Polytechnique

MONTREAL — Telefilm Canada and Heritage Minister James Moore take note: filmmaking prodigy Xavier Dolan used the podium to blast how feature films get financed in this country when he picked up the best film Jutra for his acclaimed J’ai tué ma mère on Sunday night.

The internationally renowned director, who was visibly moved at the recognition from his Quebec peers, described the funding system as ”well-intentioned but often mercantile,’ adding that it, ‘imposes on the audience and the industry standards which under-estimate our intelligence and erase our identity.” While Quebec’s SODEC helped Dolan finish J’ai tué ma mère, the director initially financed it with his own money.

Dolan, who also picked the prize for best screenplay for his portrait of his troubled and intense relationship with his mother, also acknowledged his muse. ‘I wrote the screenplay when I was 17,’ said Dolan. ‘I wrote it with the idea of becoming someone. It wasn’t narcissistic. I want to thank my mother, with whom I share an unusual love story. The film is a declaration of love and a declaration of peace. Thanks to my mother for being my mother.’

Anne Dorval won the best actress Jutra for playing Dolan’s mother in the film, which has received numerous awards from festivals around the world, including three from Cannes, and cheers from the Toronto and Vancouver film critics associations.

Polytechnique, director Denis Villeneuve’s dramatic recreation of the murder of 14 women at a Montreal engineering school in 1989, received five of the Quebec film awards, including best director, best cinematography, best sound, best editing and best supporting actor for Maxim Gaudette, who plays the shooter.

”It was a difficult film to make,” the director said. ”I am pleased about the awards, but I really didn’t do the film for this kind of recognition.”

Polytechnique cinematographer Pierre Gill, who shot the moving film in black and white, echoed Villeneuve’s sentiments. ”It’s difficult to win a prize for a film that deals with this kind of subject.”

Unlike previous years, the Jutras weren’t held at the Radio-Canada broadcast center, but at Montreal’s Tohu, a circus performing space near Cirque du Soleil’s headquarters in northeast Montreal.

Roger Frappier’s Dédé, à travers les brumes won four awards, including best actor for Sébastien Ricard, best artistic director, best music and best costumes. The film explores the troubled life of musician Dédé Fortin, the former Les Colocs frontman who committed suicide in 2000.

Film producer René Malo was honored with a Jutra-Hommage award for his lifelong commitment to Quebec filmmaking.

Montreal filmmaker Lixin Fan’s popular Last Train Home won the prize as best documentary and Pedro Pires’s short Danse macabre nabbed the Jutra for best short or medium-length film.

The only Jutra nod to box-office hit De père en flic was the Billet d’or as top ticket-seller.