Monsieur Lazhar swept 32nd annual Genie Awards, winning six of its nine nominations including Best Picture and Best Director, beating out David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method.
Monsieur Lazhar is about an Algerian immigrant who is hired to replace an elementary school teacher who died tragically.
Sophie Nélisse took home the Genie for Performance by and Actress in a Supporting Role for Monsieur Lazhar, at age of 11! When asked what her favourite part of making her film, she said “playing with my friends”.
Luc Déry and Kim McCraw produced the film, originally a one-man show turned into a film by director Philippe Falardeau.
“I was touched by the end of the play, I felt like I could do something with this character in a movie. It’s a rich character which is difficult to find,” Falardeau said in the press room following his win.
When asked about the Oscars experience, he says “the carpet is a little longer, it was good general rehearsal for tonight.”
For Dery and McGraw, this is the second year in a row that they have won (last year they also won Best Picture for Incendies), and many Quebec films are being recognized at the Genies. What does this say about the state of Quebec cinema?
“To all filmmakers out there, be bold, be persistent, be wild, be a little delinquent and take risks and I think that what we’ve been doing back home. I think that the films that are winning are worth seeing,” said Falardeau.
“I would like to say to the Canadian public, go see them – not because they are Canadian films but because they are good films.”