Films take off 

By Sarah Ryeland

The Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema’s Best of the Fest screening has sent its students up, up and away.

For Jeannette Pope and Zoe Mapp, this meant a trip to Cannes. After a spectacular reception from the school, the pair’s Birth of the Smoked Meat, won the Kodak Imaging Award in the student section of the 2006 Montreal Film Festival.

The prize included a trip to the Cannes Film Festival and a chance for the young directors to get exposure that might otherwise be unattainable. “It was the most emotional feeling,” reflects Pope, “seeing our low-budget, undergrad, simple black-and-white film projected onto this huge screen at the world’s biggest festival.”

With all the networking opportunities at Cannes, Pope and Mapp were able to schedule Birth of the Smoked Meat into festivals in Mexico and Italy, with screenings at Montreal’s Goethe Institute and at the Cinématèque québécoise in September (

Pope is proud of her school, and thanks her teacher Marielle Nitoslawska, who “pushed us so hard to get the film out.”

Being in the Mel Hoppenheim Film Festival took Jean-Guillaume Bastien in a different direction: up.

Bastien’s most recent project, Les Acteurs Amoureux, is featured in Air Canada’s enRoute Student Film Festival. Selected movies are broadcast on Air Canada flights, and Bastien’s work is among the chosen few.

Still shot from Jean-Guillaume Bastien’s prize-winning film, <em>Les Acteurs Amoureux</em>. Magnifying glass

Still shot from Jean-Guillaume Bastien’s prize-winning film, Les Acteurs Amoureux.

“It’s great just to be nominated,” Bastien says. “As a filmmaker, you worry that you’ll finish a project and it will just sit in your closet. This exposure is amazing.”

Les Acteurs Amoureux started out as a final-year project, and eventually became one of the “Best of the Fest.” It was at that screening that a scout from the Young Cuts film festival approached Bastien and urged him to submit his project to the enRoute festival.

Now Bastien’s movie is being seen by millions of Air Canada travellers and online movie buffs ( Festival judges include celebrities such as Atom Egoyan, Denise Robert and Donald Sutherland. With these industry powerhouses on board, the level of recognition for student filmmakers is unprecedented.

The festival comes to a close at the end of October in Toronto, with prizes, including a Ford Escape hybrid and other goodies. But Bastien isn’t concerned about prizes. “Honestly, winning isn’t really on my mind. When you get to the festival, you’re just happy to be there.”


Concordia University