Robert hands off $10,000 CMPA prize

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“My god, I’m finally one of the boys,” Quebec producer Denise Robert exclaimed as she picked up the CMPA Feature Film Producers Award at a ceremony Thursday at the start of the Toronto International Film Festival.

The accomplished filmmaker – whose vast resume includes producing the 2009 box office hit De pére en flic, and husband Denys Arcand’s L’âge des ténèbres and Les invasions barbares – became the first female producer to pick up the award, presented to her by last year’s winner Kevin Tierney.

She was honored for her work on Louis Belanger’s drama Route 132, which premieres Friday at the festival. It also recently opened WFF.

Robert, who produces through her Montreal-based prodco Cinemaginaire, didn’t hold on to the $10,000 cash prize for long, as she called collaborator Belanger (Gaz Bar Blues) to the stage where she presented him with the cheque.

“I certainly don’t need another dress or pair of shoes. I’ve wondered what it would be like to take money like that and give it to somebody I admire and say: ‘There, you go and write without any strings attached,’” she said.

Robert beat out fellow nominees Roger Frappier (Crying Out), Danny Iron (The Bang Bang Club), Jennifer Jonas (Trigger), and Michael McGowan, whose film Score: A Hockey Musical opened the fest.

Route 132 opens in Quebec on Oct. 6 through Alliance Vivafilm. Robert says she hopes for additional sales for the film and invitations to other festivals.

“TIFF is so important… it enables us to show the film to a different audience than a Quebec audience. It’s a chance at a career for the film,” she told Playback Daily after the ceremony.