It’s long been known outside Quebec that Quebec’s film industry is relatively successful while the rest of Canada’s is not. I’ve long been curious about why and, when a friend told me that noted and knowledgeable Quebec film producer Roger Frappier would agree to an interview, I leapt at the chance.
Roger Frappier is one of Canada’s most successful producers. His films include Pouvoir intime, Night Zoo, The Decline of the American Empire, Jesus of Montreal, Maelström and La grande séduction. His films have won hundreds of awards, including three Golden Reel Awards, which recognize domestic films with the highest box-office receipts, and four Genie Awards for best film. In 1996, France’s Minister of Culture named him a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres; in 1998 he was recognized by the Cannes Film Festival in a tribute to film producers; and in 1999 the government of Quebec recognized his contribution to Quebec film with the Prix Albert-Tessier. He was director of National Film Board’s Fiction Studio from 1984 to 1986.
I thought it appropriate to see a Quebec film while in Montreal for the interview, and wondered if one might be in the theatres. As it turned out, there were four Quebec films showing on a total of 54 screens in and about Montreal that weekend. A month later, Atom Egoyan’s Where the Truth Lies could be seen at the Cannes Film Festival, but would be hard to find in a Canadian theatre. Nothing demonstrates more clearly the differences between Canadian cinema inside and outside Quebec.
I interviewed Mr. Frappier the afternoon of August 19 in Montreal. That evening I caught Jean-Marc Vallée’s C.R.A.Z.Y., recently selected as Canada’s nomination to the Academy Awards.
— Arthur Milner