Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Genies, Jutras. Jutras, Genies.

So I just arrived home from covering the Genies for the Post (here's CP's story on who won), and a good four of the main winners are the same from last month's Jutra Awards for Quebec cinema: Best actor (Roy Dupuis), Best actress (Pascale Bussieres), Best director (Francis Leclerc), Best Supporting actor (Jean Lapointe).

It was a funny show: Most of the presenters spoke English; most of the winners spoke French. The three most nominated films -- Ma vie en cinemascope, Memoires affectives, and Le Dernier Tunnel -- still haven't opened in English Canada, so pretty much nobody watching on Citytv, Star!, Bravo!, Access, A-Channel and ASN has even had the possibility of seeing these movies. Why on earth would they watch the ceremony? For Andrea Martin's banter?

Memoires affectives is opening with English subtitles in Toronto on one screen in April. Director Leclerc said backstage that he hoped the three Genies his film picked up will help him get the film on more screens in the ROC. But he wasn't too optimistic. He said he was amazed at how little money Don McKellar's lastest, Childstar, pulled in at the box office. Don't English Canadians want to see Canadian movies? he asked.

Bussieres -- who, I have to brag, had me pull down the back of her dress and look at the tag when a reporter asked who designed the classy number she was wearing -- said she hoped now Ma vie en cinemascope would be seen in English Canada. She brought up problems with distribution as the main reason why no one outside of Quebec watches Quebec films and no one watches English Canadian films at all... I mean, can't we ditch (at least part of) the tax break we give American productions that come up and film here and instead give tax breaks to multiplexes if they show Canadian movies? Or something? The movies are there; we just can't see them without going out of our ways...

Anyway, I don't mean to be a big downer on a party night. My favourite part of the ceremony was when Clark Johnson, a.k.a. Detective Meldrick Lewis from Homicide: Life on the Street, presented an award. Then, I ran into him on the escalator, dropped my journalist demeanor, turned into a fanboy and gushed, "I know you probably hear this all the time, but you were great on Homicide."

"Thanks, man," he said. "You know, I don't hear that enough."

And then he totally went and went on a call with Detective Crosetti like a good mur-der po-lease. Oh yeah.

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