05/20/2014 02:49 EDT | Updated 07/20/2014 05:59 EDT

My First Time at Cannes: The Trip of My Life

After recovering from the initial shock of the selection of my short animation JUTRA at the Director's Fortnight and realizing that, indeed, the announcement we received was not an April's fool day prank, I packed my giant suitcase full of dreams and set out for the biggest adventure of my life...

And, so far, the experience does not disappoint in any shape or form. Cannes is not your ordinary film festival; set up in an idyllic location where the beach deploys its beauty in the background and palm trees provide the shade, everything seems to be bigger, louder and somehow showcasing the complexities of oppositions in the film industry.

On La Croisette, jean shorts are walking right next to Gucci dresses. Some wait for the bus amongst myriad luxury cars. Looks are quite important. Even the photographers dress up as penguins, creating a row of flashing cameras, perched on an alley of ladders.


In Cannes, your identity is resumed to a small plastic card, your badge, that defines your rank and your status. Because, we have to admit it, this is a pretty hierarchical film festival, like a pyramid that everyone hopes to climb to the top.

But aside from its glitz and glam, Cannes is, foremost, a cinematographic manifestation. For a filmmaker like myself, not only is it the incredible opportunity to screen my work at the most prestigious festival on the planet, but also the chance to watch the cream of the crop in recent film production.

JUTRA is showing at the Director's Fortnight, a parallel section of the festival that focuses on emerging talents. I am here to infuse my brain with ground-breaking productions from all around the world therefore making it my top priority to watch as many films as possible.

Luckily this year, the Director's Fortnight is showcasing three short animated films as well as the feature 'Le Conte de la Princesse Kaguya' from Isao Takahata. Just before the feature animated film opens the Annecy Film Festival next month where the Japanese master is set to receive the 'Cristal d'Honneur'.

Aside from watching films, Cannes is the place to mingle with the film industry. After easily picking up my accreditation and entering the gigantic Palais des Festivals that hosts hundreds of film stands, my head started spinning... Where was I supposed to go with thousands of people running around? At the same moment, three young Québésoises producers walk right by me: Ménaïc Raoul, Gabrielle Tougas-Fréchette and Élaine Hébert. I am saved; they walk me around and show me everything.

The irony of travelling hundreds of miles to run into your neighbour. Cannes is the place to meet the film industry from Québec and the rest of Canada that you would normally not have the chance to access. Reinforcing the importance of Sodec and Telefilm pavillons at Cannes where people connect.

I would like to thank the NFB, SODEC, CALQ and the Director's Fortnight for funding the trip of my life.