The 41st Festival du cinéma international en Abitibi-Témiscamingue ended just a couple of days ago but the energy is still there! During the week, Rouyn-Noranda has been vibrating to the rhythm of the 7th art. Fans of cinema had the chance to discover sad, confusing, smart, funny, and gut-wrenching movies from all around the world.

After two years of restrictions caused by COVID-19, the comeback of a more normal edition of the Festival does feel great. A strong return with ovations, generous guests, heart-warming discussions, and magical moments make the 41st Festival memorable. Even the weather was on our side for this Festival.



The festivities started with force with Espace Court which celebrated its 20 anniversary. During the 2 evenings, the spectators had the chance to discover around 20 short-length movies from all around the world that made many laugh, cry and feel uneasy! The public also had the chance to discover the short series Caresses magiques by Lori Malépart-Traversy and Complètement Lycée by Alec Pronovost, winners of the Prix coup de cœur Fonds Bell.

To emphasize the 20 years of this event, Émilie Villeneuve and Ariane Gélinas paid tribute (or roasted) to Carol Courchesne, coordinator of Espace Court from 2002 to 2019.

Honor to our talents

Proud of our artists, the Festival started Saturday at noon with a free session presenting two documentaries from the region. The documentary Au lieu de prendre mon char by Jean-François Perron gave the occasion to the public to go on a 680 km skiing expedition between Rouyn-Noranda and Montréal side by side with Guillaume Rivest.

Afterward, the public was forced to question itself about the exploitation of our natural resources in our region and its monetization with the documentary Pour nous chez nous by Dominic Leclerc. Since the movie ask important questions, the public was really happy to have to occasion to speak with the team behind the movie. To answer their questions, the director Dominic Leclerc and many more members of the team, like Marie-Lyne Joncas, the narrator, and contributor, were present on the stage at the Théâtre du cuivre.

Emotional moments

The opening night strongly marked the official start of the Festival with the moving film Tu te souviendras de moi. On the stage, the director, Éric Tessier, the scriptwriter François Archambault, and the actors Rémy Girard and Karelle Tremblay share their happiness for finally sharing their movie with the public, since, COVID-19 making its release impossible and forcing it to be delayed for 2 years. Tissues were in our hands during this emotional projection. Rémy Girard was particularly moved by how the movie was received by the public who offered an ovation during minutes. The film also won the public favors and gave it the Grand Prix Hydro-Québec during the closing night.

The world premiere of the documentary En attendant Raif has been a moment full of emotions that didn’t go unnoticed. The directors Luc Côté and Patricio Henriques, followed for 8 years the famous prisoner’s family of Raif Badawi during his fight for freedom. After the movie’s projection, the public was invited to discuss with the directors, Ensaf Haidar, his wife Raif and their 3 children. Many spectators said they were touched by the documentary. Even though the dramatic nature of it all, the directors and the family were able to make the audience laugh despite their hardships.

A unique PROGRAMMATION and unique guests 

During this week, fans of cinema were given a multitude of movies. Many guests were there to present their movies on stage. Sunday at noon, the public met the director François Desagnat, who came to present his movie Zaï Zaï Zaï Zaï, and the actor Damien Bonnard, who was there for the movie Le sixième enfant.

Monday, a big part of the team behind Mistral Spatial was present for its premiere at Rouyn-Noranda: the director of photography Olivier Racine, the actors Véronique Lafleur, Alex Trahan, Catherine-Audrey Lachapelle, and Samuel Brassard, and the director Marc-Antoine Lemire. For Halloween, all of them were dressed as an animal, just as a reference to the movie. The ambiance was quite jovial and gleeful in the hall of the Théâtre du cuivre.


Tuesday, we were happy to finally see Imelda again, a well-known character at the Festival for its short-length movie trilogy, but this time, he was back in an all-new long-length movie, Les 12 travaux d’Imelda. The director, Martin Villeneuve, and the comedian Antoine Bertrand and Marc-François Blondin were more than happy to hear the public’s laughter. 

Wednesday, the comedian Noa Izaï Tambwe Kabati, came from Belgium to present his latest movie Nowhere, and got very emotional from the audience’s reaction. A big part of the audience waited in the hall of the Théâtre du cuivre to congratulate him for his role.


Thursday, the Festival welcomed the comedian Mélissa Toussaint who came to present the punching movie Chien blanc. This movie, adapted from a book written by Romain Gary in the 1960s, surprised our audience. Once the credit started rolling, a long ovation from our public followed it. For the last projection of the week, the Festival at the honor to welcome the French comedian Esther Archambault who was here to present the movie Les pires. Acclaimed in numerous other festivals, this movie was the perfect one to close our Festival on. It was easy to see how much our public missed the Festival, the proximity it was given them to the art and to the artists. 

A panoply of activites


This year, kids and adults were more than happy with the big return of Ciné-muffin. Sunday, our audience had the luck to wake up with a good coffee and some pastries all while listening to Michel Ocelot’s magical movie Le pharaon, le sauvage et la princess, in collaboration with the FIFEM. 

Sunday was also the traditional day of the Brunch conference and this year, our guests were Guy et Claude Fournier. We went back in time to talk with them about the numerous events that shaped the careers of those pioneers. From Direct cinema and like shows La boîte à surprises, Jamais deux sans toi or the movie film Deux femmes en or, the 91 years old twins shared many stories all while questioning the future of cinema and television. We like to mention that it’s possible to watch the Brunch conference, who was captured by Radio-Canada Ici Abitibi-Témiscamingue, on the Facebook page of the Festival.

Children from all around the Abitibi-Témiscamingue had the chance to enjoy the Festival with André-Melançon Youth Section which took place, for some of them, in the Paramount Cinema and for others in their classes. In total, it’s 298 classes or 5462 children who had the occasion to watch 7 short length-movie from the programmation. Once again, the Youth Section was animated by the gleeful Véronique Aubin. The activity was really appreciated by the children who also really appreciated the short-length movie Kayak by Solène Bosseboeuf. This movie also won the Prix Jeunesse Fonderie Horne. The children also got the occasion to meet the director Benoit Therriault who, after he presented his movie Canary all around the world, decided to come to pay a little visit to Rouyn-Noranda for the occasion.

For the Digital section, the public was invited, for all the duration of the Festival, to see the winning creation of the digital competition of the students of UQAT from New mediatic Creation at the Café céramique Ô terrier. Exposed until the 11th of November, the art piece, titled CINÉ Ô TERRIER, offered an architectural projection/virtual reality experience that made any participant travel back in time to previous editions of the Festival.

Podscasts and Les grandes rencontres

Once again this year, the Festival was the host for 2 different podcast recordings. On jase de films, animated by Guy A. St Cyr, had the pleasure to receive the director Martin Villeneuve and the filmmaker Rafaël Ouellet, while the podcast, La balado de Fred Savard, had the honor to receive Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, Rémy Girard, and Marilyn Cooke.

Still strong from the success of the previous years, our precious collaborator, Martin Guérin animated once again the podcast Les grandes rencontres. From Monday to Thursday at 5 pm, the audience had the chance to go watch Martin Guérin talk with his guests on our Facebook page or the La Fabrique Culturelle’s. He also had the occasion to speak with the comedian and director Mélanie Pilon, the comedian Antoine Bertrand, the musician and member of the Vulgaires Machins Guillaume Beauregard, and finally the journalist Marc Cassivi. The recordings of the episodes are still available on our Facebook page.


The Festival has renewed his Pro Section by welcoming LA WATCH Talent lab nordique. Upcoming talents have been invited to participate to discuss with pros in the middle of our wilderness in Kanasuta’s lake house. The upcoming artists had the chance to speak with Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, Guillaume Lambert, Stéphane Lafleur, Rafaël Ouellet, Edouard Tremblay, Jean-François Asselin, Danny Lennon, Dominique Dufour, Félix Brouillet-Desrosiers, Samuel Pagé, and some people from the CALQ, SODEC, FIP, and Fonds Bell. Not like the usual master classes, LA WATCH wants people to be open-minded and to let the discussion be guided by their questioning. LA WATCH is the perfect occasion for them to open themself to others and creativity for their future projects.

Thank you and see you next year

After 8 days of festivities, laughter, and emotion, the Festival officially ended this Thursday night with the awards ceremony. The Festival’s team wants to thank all of the audience, partners, guests, and volunteers who joined us for this celebration of cinema! We hope to see you again for the 42nd edition of the Festival du cinéma international en Abitibi-Témiscamingue from the 28th of October to the 2nd of November 2023!


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