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French Festivals FTW!

I recently had the supreme pleasure of going to France to attend the  Festival Regards sur le cinéma du monde (Glances on the cinema of the world) to represent the short film ‘Therapy.’

The festival was amazing, we were treated very well, I’m so glad I went.

Kert and I arrived as two very sleepy travelers at the Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris but our day brightened as soon as we spotted our driver.  I’ve always secretly coveted people who arrive to signs with their name on them and after having experienced it, I now think it is the only way to travel 😛

His name is Xavier and he is awesome.
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After a nap and some food provided by Pierre our generous host / manager of the place we were staying, Attila (of Atka Films) stopped by to give us a grand tour of the city.  Of course we had to stop to take a shot by the first festival sign we saw, even though there were many others (including a very large one which Attila successfully models in front of, in the photo below) 😀

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Attila showed us all around the city and we ended up at a great spot for dinner where we met up with Magali who works for the festival.  On a side-note, the first role I booked upon moving to Vancouver was the lead in Magali’s film F.Y.T.  Small world.

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The following day we went to see Attila’s movie ‘Over‘ play at the Melville Cinema and we also got to see an amazing short film ‘Le Quai Du Destin’ written / directed by Amina Saadi.

After the screening we all went out for dinner together along with fellow filmmaker Bilel Bali whose feature documentary ‘1, 2, 3… 5, 6, 7‘ was playing on Wednesday.  Kert and I already had plans to go to Paris that day so we missed the screening but luckily I still got to see his movie which connected with my heart (it is about so much more than dance).

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On Tuesday morning Magali picked Attila and me up to take us to another town to discuss our films.  We watched ‘Therapy‘ with the class then, with the help of a lovely interpreter, sat around dissecting it.  It was fantastic to gain insight through the minds of the younger generation.

They really connected with the subject matter, so much so that the teacher asked if she could keep a copy of Therapy to teach within her curriculum.  What an honour.

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Magali then whisked me away to the Ariel movie theatre so I could attend a screening of shorts (which included Therapy).

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We had quite a large turnout which included Amina.  She is so lovely.

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The next day Kert and I wandered around Paris.  We had a few spots we wanted to hit up like the Arc De Triomphe and the Tour Eiffel but other than that we just enjoyed the city.

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On Thursday I got to meet the amazingly magnetic Sheila O’Connor and attend the screening of her heart-wrenching movie ‘Duo.’

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On Friday was the closing night awards and film ‘Three Veils.’

With Angela Zahra, one of the stars of the film
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I was so full from the enjoyment of the week, the people I’d connected with, the art I’d seen and the sense of community, I couldn’t imagine a better experience.

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A Shot of All the Filmmakers Taken by the Talented Guillaume Godier

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Then, out of seemingly nowhere, they announced Therapy as the winner of the ‘Audience Choice’ award in the short film college division.  I was so shocked all I could really say was, “Thank you” over and over again.
I truly mean it, though, so maybe that was the best reaction to have.  This movie means so much to me and for it to win an award is like icing on an already decadent cake.

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Thank you to everyone who worked on the festival, to everyone who watched / voted and to everyone who made Therapy a reality – this award is a reflection of the hard-work and talent brought to set by our cast & crew.

**A special thanks from me to Lisa Newell, you brought so much to this piece and are a fantastic director.

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The Girls Behind the Festival – Béatrice, Magali & Claire
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With the creator of the festival Camille Jouhair
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With my hubby and my rock
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With Attila
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With Sheila
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And with Magali, someone who has believed in me for years and who I owe a great debt of gratitude
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Our Official Press Release: The short film Therapy, directed by Lisa Newell, written/produced/starring Meeshelle Neal and edited by Kirsten Johnson, which was nominated for two Leo Awards (best editor / best actress), went international last week at the Festival Regards sur le Cinéma du Monde in Rouen France.
Greeted with enthusiasm from the audience and fellow filmmakers, Therapy took home the Audience Choice Award in the short film College Division.  A winning success for the low budget production.  Meeshelle was present and thrilled to accept the prestigious award on behalf of the entire cast & crew.  Congratulations to everyone who worked on this movie!  

Cast & Crew:

Lisa Newell – director
Meeshelle Neal writer / producer / actress
Kirsten Johnson – editor / production assistant
Amanda Scott – actress
Andrew Lisset – actor
Natashia Chandra – actress
Peter Chao – actor
Clint Bargen – actor / grip / stills / promotional materials
Shane Smith – director of photography / steadicam operator
Raymund Santos – production design / graphic design
Peter Brown – 1st A.D.
Davin Tong – camera operator
Derek Howe – 1st assistant camera
Whitney Burnand – key make-up
Max Marois – sound mixer / boom op.
Nick Bedell – sound design
Trance Blackman – composer
Kert Saville – promotional materials

Special Thanks:

Stellina Rusich, Laura Pringle, Kirsten Clarkson, Sajith Gunawardena, Nenad Barjaktarovic, Lori Watt, Lisa Dery, Marita Eason, Anastasia Bandey, Redbull, Box Studios & Final Draught

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