JF Rivard

Opening message from the president of the feature film jury


Let's be honest. Like many of you I'm sure, I went out and dug holes in snow banks back in Loretteville when STAR WARS: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK came out. After CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, I turned my mother's mashed potatoes into Devil's Tower at family dinners on Sundays. JAWS made any pier on Lac Beauport seem less than safe and the EXORCIST considerably shortened the life expectancy of my bedroom's light bulbs.

While filming the LES INVINCIBLES series, I amused myself by paying tribute to these classics that nurtured my imagination as a youth. There's more to the fantastic genre than just the latest special effects, even though I'm still condemned to sleep with the lights on at night. The fantastic genre is more of a gateway into the subconscious, reflecting through the use of metaphors our fears, anxieties and also our hopes for a better world.

I discovered the Fantasia festival many years ago and not only am I an avowed fan of genre cinema but this type of cinema has always been an important source of inspiration for my work. The melting pot of genres and the originality of the works presented at Fantasia continue to surprise and fascinate me. A film like LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, my personal favorite from last year's edition, is as good an example as any other.

Watching a film at Fantasia is an experience like no other. You can literally feel the energy in the air and the public's enthusiasm is simply indescribable. This is why I was honored when the organizers of the festival asked me to preside over the Feature Film Jury. I sincerely think that the film festival circuit would not be the same without Fantasia. It provides the opportunity for individuals to experience, as a group, audacious cinematography. The consistent quality and variety of films presented at Fantasia will never cease to amaze me. Personally, there are certain films on the program this year that I just can't wait to see. Furthermore, I am happy to see that the festival has scheduled a number of independent Québécois films and is organizing many symposiums for young directors. A film only exists if seen or shown. At Fantasia, thousands of you take part in bringing to life all these films from around the world.

I hope that by the end of July 2009, the organizers will look ahead to the 2010 edition and say, like Roy Scheider in Jaws, "We're gonna need a bigger boat!"

Enjoy the show!

Jean-François Rivard

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