Canadian Film Programmes Blog

- 2008
- 2007

There was a bit of a politically-charged brew-ha-ha at the screening of Maman Est Chez Le Coiffeur last night.  First let’s give the film its due, its an elegiac story of a troubled childhood which shares the exact themes as C’est Pas Moi, Je Le Jure, and Un Ete Sans Point Ni Coup Sur.  Fine company indeed.  The three films would make an ideal weekend bill at Cinematheque Ontario sometime. 


It’s no secret filmmakers have been unusually political at this year’s fest.  Concerns over what a majority Conservative government could due to crucial agencies like Telefilm has filmmakers like Francis Leclerc encouraging audiences not to vote Harper.


So it seemed a fair enough question for programmer Matthew Hays to pose.  He wasn’t even being overtly political at first, only quoting what’s been said so far. Rumours around the TIFF office suggest Hays is actually a Goldwater Republican at heart. (joking)


“The last few nights when we’ve been doing these Q and A’s invariably a producer says they’re really alarmed when they look at Telefilm and all these agencies being cut.  Polls seem to indicate a Conservative majority.  One of the filmmakers said last night:  ‘I will not vote for Harper and I encourage you not to vote for Harper’ and I haven’t heard anything like that at a film festival in a while,” said Hays.


“Why do you have to ruin this film with politics?” shouted the first angry right-winger.


“I’m not trying to ruin it,” said Hays.  I buy that.  Why would a TIFF programmer want to ruin one of the films he’s been advocating for months on premiere night?


“The only reason I bring it up is because we don’t have the money that Hollywood has and a lot of producers have been bringing it up so isn’t that a fair question?”


“Hey maybe you can’t see the audience for the lights, can we ask a question?” demanded another angry Harper-ite.  At this point a number of mostly older people began shuffling out of the theatre, or interrupting the Q and A with a style of rancour any fan of Question Period can recognize as being downright Harper-esque.


In another TIFF/Parliament parallel the audience was loaded with liberals, but in typical fashion they were too polite (or meek) to shout anything back at their Conservative counterparts.  They did applaud with vigour after the producer came to Hays’ defense with this call to action however:


“It’s a fair enough question because our film was financed by Telefilm and by Quebec agencies.  This government thinks we don’t need art.”


Below are links to articles by the Star’s Peter Howell and CBC.CA on the Telefilm funding issue. The third link is another article by Howell discussing the three French Canadian films mentioned above.