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Le Prix du Cheval Noir

For its fifteenth edition, the Fantasia festival team wished to invest with a name and personality a jury prize that, in previous years, was simply titled “Best Feature.” Drawing inspiration from Quebecois folklore, the festival adopted a name and imagery from the legend of le Cheval Noir (the Black Horse) for this award, henceforth known as LE PRIX DU CHEVAL NOIR.

Several variations of the legend exist, but key details remain largely the same. A priest who wished to build a church prayed to the heavens to come to his aid. It came in for form of a dark horse of uncommon strength, allowing it to rapidly transport the blocks of stone with which the church would be constructed. The priest was given but one caveat — to never remove the horse’s bridle. One day, however, a workman did exactly that, and the horse disappeared in an eruption of flame and thunder, before the final stone could be hauled up. To this day, the church remains unfinished.

To depict this legend on our official poster, the festival organizers approached acclaimed illustrator Donald Caron. It’s worth noting that Caron has previously created Fantasia poster artwork in 1997 (our tribute to Masters of Italian Horror), 1998 (the official poster) and more recently 2010 (le Fantastique weekend du court métrage québécois). Illustrator and cinema lover, he has worked in the fields of role-playing games, film and video games. For this poster, Caron drew on the legend of the church of Trois-Pistoles.

Following that, in order to have a trophy in the likeness of le Cheval Noir, the festival went to C.J. Goldman, an award-winning special make-up effects magician and sculpture artist who ranks among the top in this country. You’ve likely seen his work in such international blockbuster productions as 300, THE FOUNTAIN, SILENT HILL and the forthcoming CONAN THE BARBARIAN. In Quebec productions, he was nominated for a Genie Award for his work on LES 7 JOURS DU TALION, and has done effects on 19-2, INCENDIES, C.R.A.Z.Y., AURORE, THE THEATRE BIZARRE

(world-premiering at Fantasia this year) and LE COLLECTIONNEUR, to name a few. He has also won a Gemini award and has been nominated for additional Genies and Jutras.

And finally, Jet Films, in collaboration with BOS, offered to develop for us a televised publicity cam- paign starring Dominique Lévesque, presenting a cinematic variation on the horse impelled to labour. Martin Henri produced the campaign while Julien Demers Arsenault directed it.

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