Chloé Robichaud’s "Pays" opens Quebec City Film Festival

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Photo: Cassandra Kerwin

Screenwriter and director Chloé Robichaud (far left) proudly presented her latest feature film Pays to fans, friends and family in her home town, along with actors Yves Jacques, Alexandre Landry, Rémy Girard, Nathalie Doummar, Emily VanCamp and Macha Grenon at the opening of the Quebec City Film Festival. 

Place d’Youville was the place to be for movie aficionados on September 14. Crowds gathered at the foot of the stairs in front of the Palais Montcalm, where a band welcomed cinephiles to the opening film of the sixth Quebec City Film Festival –  Pays (Boundaries in the English version). 

Director and screenwriter Chloé Robichaud walked the red carpet arm-in-arm with the film’s three main stars: Emily VanCamp, Nathalie Doummar and Macha Grenon, along with veteran Quebec actor Rémy Girard. 

For the Festival’s grand opening, Robichaud proudly presented her second feature film. “The Festival gave me the best gift ever by inviting me to share my work with you, my friends and family, especially in my native city,” she said. “We did do some crazy things in this movie, like filming on a remote island near Newfoundland.”

 Pays tells the story of three female politicians who meet for international discussions. A Canadian company is interested in staking a claim for minerals on the fictitious island country of Besco. At 25, Félixe is thrown into the development of this very commercial proposal, but feels excluded from her colleagues. Danielle, president of Besco and an experienced executive, steers the discussions to benefit her country while balancing her work and family life. The third main character, Emily, remains professional, mediating exchanges between the two parties while coping with a divorce and a custody battle for her son.  

“I thank my three muses, Emily, Macha, and Nathalie,” said Robichaud. “Yes, the movie is about politics, but more importantly about politicians and the challenges they face. It is a film about self-affirmation as an individual, as a citizen and as a group.” 

Rémy Girard, who played a minor role as a politician in the film, said, “It is a wonderful movie. Reading a script is one thing, but actually seeing it completed and on the screen is another, especially with such beautiful and talented actresses.” 

“Just as my character Félixe discovers the world of politics, I discovered the world of cinema,” said actress Nathalie Doummar. “Everyone agrees that it was an incredible film process, thanks to Chloé Robichaud.” 

“I loved filming this movie,” said Emily VanCamp, known for her roles in the television series Revenge and in recent Captain America movies. “It was great being in Newfoundland. The people there are really nice and helpful.” She continued, “I accepted this role because it is bilingual.” Since many of her roles are in American productions and she is from Ontario, many aren’t aware that she is fluent in French, after living and studying in Montreal during her teen years.

 “I am happy to have this movie presented for the first time in the province of Quebec, here in Chloé’s home town,” said Macha Grenon. “It was a great script and a complex story.” 

“I just stepped off the plane from Toronto where I attended the TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival), the second biggest film festival in the world,” said Monique Simard, president of SODEC (Société de développement des entreprises culturelles). “There, they were saying that more women should be involved in movies. Well, here with Pays, we’re ahead of them. This film was written, directed, acted and produced by women. And it is the Festival’s opening film.”

 Pays will be released in movie theatres on November 18.