2011 Prix Communications et Société given to film Monsieur Lazhar
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
The 30th Abitibi-Témiscamingue International Film Festival was held 29 October to 3 November 2011 in Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec. The Prix Communications et Société, known as the Robert-Claude Bérubé Prize, was awarded to the film Monsieur Lazhar by Quebec filmmaker Philippe Falardeau. Director Thierry Binisti’s film, Une bouteille d’eau dans la mer de Gaza, received special mention. Eighteen full-length films were entered in the competition at this year’s festival.
Since early 2011, Philippe Falardeau has received other awards for Monsieur Lazhar, including the Prix du public at Locarno and the prize for the best Canadian feature film at the Toronto International Film Festival. Monsieur Lazhar has been chosen as the Canadian entry in the Best Foreign-Language Film category at the 2012 Oscars.
The prize was awarded by Communications et Société, a non-profit organization based in Montreal which collaborates with the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops on various communications projects and services.
The Prix Robert-Claude Bérubé is given to films in recognition of their artistic and cinematographic qualities as well as for their contribution to human progress and their recognition of ethical, social and spiritual values. French filmmaker Xavier Beauvois received the 2010 Prize at the Abitibi-Témiscamingue International Film Festival for his film Of gods and men.
The prize was created in honour of Father Robert-Claude Bérubé, a Sulpician priest from Montreal. Following a career in teaching, he served until his death in 1991 as director of the Montreal archdiocesan office for broadcasting media and as director of Service information-cinémas at what was then the Office des communications sociales. In Quebec film circles, he is known for starting Mediafilm (today the film agency for Communications et Société) and a system it uses to evaluate movies. Originating in 1968, this film classification system continues to be used today by Quebec media.