Quebec director Annie St-Pierre has always wanted to present a film at Sundance. His wish was granted at the start of the year: his new short film, Les grandes claques, will be screened in official competition at the 43rd edition of the renowned American festival, which takes off today.
One of the largest film festivals in the United States (it was notably founded by actor Robert Redford), Sundance takes place each January in the small town of Park City, nestled in the mountains of Utah. But this year, due to the health crisis, the event will be held entirely online.
Filmmaker Annie St-Pierre (Love Migration, Farmers) does not hide it: she has always seen Sundance as the ideal springboard to launch her new film internationally.
“Sundance has always been my first choice,” she admits in an interview with the Journal.
“It’s a festival that I have admired for a long time and with which I identify for its artistic, but also social values. It’s really a festival that wants to create a community and that defends independent cinema. There is international representation in the films they choose and they always give pride of place to minorities. I don’t know why, but I had a hunch that Les grandes claques was intended for this festival. “
Shot last winter, Les grandes claques takes us to Christmas Eve, somewhere in Quebec, in the early 1980s. Denis (Steve Laplante) must visit his ex-wife’s family (Larissa Corriveau) to recover his two children (Lilou Roy-Lanouette and Laurent Lemaire). But they don’t really want to leave the party to go home with their father.
“I set my film in the 1980s because it was the time when parents did not yet have much experience with divorce and how to deal with children suffering less from the separation of their parents, ”explains Annie St-Pierre.
“My parents divorced when I was quite young and I went through this kind of situation. But the film is not based on something that happened to me. Rather, I wanted to look at this moment when we go from the magic of naive childhood to this stage of life where we become more aware and more empathetic, ”she explains.