Movie producer André Rouleau, who describes his job as "the best trade in the world," is the latest winner of the $10,000 Canadian Media Production Association Producer's Award.
The Montreal-based Rouleau accepted the annual award on Thursday, the first day of the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival, where he has a trio of prominent titles on the roster: the well-received Quebecois comedy Starbuck and the hockey comedies Breakaway and Goon. All have secured Canadian theatrical releases and are making deals for international distribution.
A lawyer-turned-movie producer and founder of Caramel Films, who has more than 15 years of film industry experience under his belt, Rouleau said he was humbled by the win.
"I'm very touched and I'm very proud," he told CBC News immediately after receiving his award.
"Producing films is the toughest job in the world. You have to be stubborn, determined. You have to be like a block of stone because you receive so many times a 'no,'" he said.
In his acknowledgement of the five producers shortlisted for this year's award, juror Mark Musselman quoted from a letter Rouleau wrote describing the uphill struggles facing independent film producers today.
"The profession of film producer is the best trade in the world...This trade can also be one of the most frustrating, the most tiresome, the most disappointing, irritating, trivial, banal profession," he said to laughter from the industry audience at the afternoon CMPA Award event in downtown Toronto.
"But the myriad frustrations that we can experience in the journey of making a film and the personal disappointments that we might suffer can — once in awhile, if you're very lucky and play your cards right — lead to great reward, critical acclaim, recognition and great personal satisfaction," concluded Musselman, who was joined on the 2011 jury by Neil Campbell, Paul Pope, Susan Shipton and 2010's award-winner, Denise Robert.
Rouleau, whose past credits include Funkytown and Polytechnique, also noted the collaboration necessary for successful filmmaking.
"I have the honour to receive this award but, like I said [onstage], it is because of the work of my team and the directors of the films that I produce that I can shine for five minutes."