Sundance picks three Canuck titles

Family Portrait in Black and White

Three Canadian films are among the titles in competition at the upcoming Sundance Film Festival, which announced its picks in the dramatic and documentary categories for U.S. and world filmmakers Wednesday.

The Salesman (Le Vendeur), the first feature for director/writer Sébastien Pilote, and Vampire, (a Japanese-Canadian co-production) directed and written by Iwai Shunji, are among 13 competitors in the world dramatic category. Julia Ivanova’s Family Portrait in Black and White (pictured), a Canadian-Ukrainian co-pro, is one of a dozen titles to screen in world documentaries.

Produced by Boris Ivanov, Family Portrait follows Olga Nenya who is raising 16 black orphans amidst a population of Slavic blue-eyed blonds in a small Ukranian town.

Vampire follows Simon, a seemingly average young man who hunts through online chat rooms and message boards, searching for the perfect girl who will ensure his own survival. Shot in Vancouver, Vampire marks the English-language debut of Japanese director Shunji (All About Lily Chou Chou) and features Keisha Castle-Hughes and Rachael Leigh Cook. The film is produced by Rockwell Eyes in conjunction with Convergence Entertainment.

For his part, the producer of The Salesman is delighted the film he describes as “exceptional” is going to one of the most prestigious independent film events in the world: “It’s our second film at Sundance in five years,” Marc Daigle told Playback Daily. “It’s a very special film that deals with a reality many people are living in Quebec’s regions.”

Distributed by Les Films Séville and produced by Daigle and Bernadette Payeur (ACPAV) the film stars beloved Quebec actor Gilbert Sicotte and tells the story of a car salesman Marcel Lévesque, who runs his business in a declining industrial town in rural Quebec.

According to the festival, organizers received 10,279 film submissions, including 3,812 fictional features and 1,637 documentaries.The 2011 Sundance Film Festival takes place Jan. 20-30 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah.