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Robin Spry to be Honoured Posthumously by The New Montreal FilmFest

Acclaimed Canadian filmmaker Robin Spry, who died in a car crash in March, will be honoured with a retrospective including five of his early films during the Festival’s inaugural edition, September 18-25, 2005.

One of the most important documentary directors of the National Film Board in the late 1960s and early 70s, Spry went on to become a fiction director of considerable repute with such political and social dramas as Prologue (1969), One Man (1977), Drying Up the Streets (1978) and Suzanne (1980). In the 1980s and 90s, he emerged as one of Canada's premier film and TV producers through his Montreal production house, the Telescene Film Group, responsible for such works as the Canadian-Japanese co-produced Hiroshima (1998), winner of three Gemini TV awards, including best Canadian mini-series. He later served as president of CinéGroupe Images, the company's live-action division.

Born in Toronto in 1939, Spry was educated in the U.K. at Oxford and the London School of Economics, where he first became interested in the cinema. He made several shorts in England before returning to Canada and joining the NFB in 1964 where he began making documentaries touching on such subjects as abortion and youth rebellion. In 1973 he directed his most famous film, Action: The October Crisis of 1970.

Spry earned numerous film and television honours during his career, including ten Genies, three Geminis, a Peabody Award and a British Academy Award.

The Festival's Spry retrospective will include the documentaries Flowers on a One-Way Street (1967), Prologue (1969), Action: The October Crisis of 1970 (1973), Reaction: A Portrait of a Society in Crisis (1973) and One Man (1977), which was presented out of competition at the Cannes Festival.

Michel Brault, one the great names of Quebec and Canadian cinema, will be honoured by the New Montreal FilmFest. One of the country's premier cinematographers and directors, Brault will receive the Iris Achievement Award crowning a retrospective of his work presented at National Film Board (NFB) cinema during the inaugural edition of the Festival, September 18-25, 2005.

With over two hundred films to his credit as cameraman, director of photography, director and producer, Brault has made and contributed to some of the great films in the history of Canadian cinema, including – as cameraman or director of photography – Mon oncle Antoine (1971) and Kamouraska (1973) directed by Claude Jutra, Le Temps d'une chasse (1972) and Les bons débarras (1979) by Francis Mankiewicz, Mourir à tue-tête (1978) by Anne‑Claire Poirier, and – as director – Pour la suite du monde (1963, first Quebec film to make Mediafilm’s select list of “masterpieces”) and L'Acadie, l'Acadie (1971), both with Pierre Perrault, as well as his own masterful take on the October Crisis, Les Ordres (1974), which earned him best director at the Cannes Festival and four Genies.

Brault joined the National Film Board of Canada in 1956 where he shot over forty short and medium length films with such directors as Claude Jutra, Jacques Giraldeau, Fernand Dansereau, Louis‑Georges Carrier, Claude Fournier and Gilles Groulx. It is with Groulx that Brault co-directed Les Raquetteurs in 1958, a documentary that incorporated a fluid camerawork and direct style of filmmaking that became a sort of cinematic manifesto for the French section of the NFB. He later collaborated with the father of cinéma-vérité, French documentarist Jean Rouch, on Chronique d'un été (1961), and refined his style through the 1960s and 70s on films of his own or other directors.

Other fiction features he directed include Les noces de papier (The Paper Wedding, 1989), Montréal vu par (co-directed, 1991), Shabbat Shalom (1992), Mon amie Max (1993), Quand je serai parti... vous vivrez encore (The Long Winter, 1999).

Films confirmed for the retrospective of Brault’s œuvre are Les Raquetteurs, La Lutte (1961), Les Enfants du silence (1963), Geneviève (1964), Pour la suite du monde, Entre la mer et l’eau douce (1967), Les Ordres and Quand je serai parti... vous vivrez encore. Two other films will be added to this list and announced later. This retrospective will be held in collaboration with the NFB which will be launching a DVD on that same occasion.

The New Montreal FilmFest will be held in Montreal's Latin Quarter, September 18-25, 2005.

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