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MONTREAL, Feb. 4, 2016 /CNW/ – Telefilm Canada is pleased to highlight what will be an outstanding year for Canadian talent at the2016 Berlin International Film Festival, which has programmed 16 Canadian films in various sections, including a record nine feature films. This major festival, an important event on the international film calendar, is an essential springboard for Canadian filmmakers, who have shone brightly at Berlin for many years now. The Berlinale runs from February 11 to 21, 2016.

“The Berlinale is once again putting Canadian cinema in the spotlight, offering Canadian filmmakers an incredible opportunity to get international exposure,” said Carolle Brabant, Executive Director of Telefilm Canada. “Renowned filmmakers, as well as emerging talent, who have gone to Berlin have come back from the Festival better-known than they were before, and gained valuable experience of networking at international festivals. This is why we’ll always be very proud to take part in this important event.”

Director Denis Côté has become a Berlinale regular, with several of his films having screened at the Festival. These include Vic+Flo Saw a Bear (Vic+Flo ont vu un ours), which in 2013, was selected in official competition and won  the Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize, awarded to a feature film that opens new perspectives. Côté has a film in official selection at Berlin again this year, Boris without Béatrice (Boris sans Béatrice), which is having its world premiere. The filmmaker attaches great importance to this annual gathering of the world’s film industry, which has welcomed him many times over the years: “I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I’ve found a family at the Berlinale, but I have found a community of kindred spirits, a place that’s always great to come back to, and where risk-taking is not only welcomed but encouraged and celebrated. The Festival isn’t about the ‘flavour of the day’: it’s the first major cinema gathering of the year, where most film professionals converge. It’s where festival-goers can often get a first look at my films.”

Kazik Radwanski, saw his career take off after his first short was selected for Berlin in 2009. “I was only 23 when my film Princess Margaret Blvd. was invited to screen in the Berlinale Shorts competition. Seeing my work presented at that level alongside such incredible films from around the world was life-changing. To come back years later with a feature is incredibly gratifying and humbling. It’s a tremendous honour.”

Chloé Leriche will make her debut at Berlin with her first feature, Before the Streets (Avant les rues). “When I found out that my film had been selected for the Berlinale’s Generation section,” she said, “I remembered that I had made the film for the youth of the Atikamekw First Nation. Like a painter who takes a few steps back to better see the mural they’re working on, this selection allowed me to see the bigger picture, the essential point: the purpose of my film.”

Held alongside the Festival, the Berlinale Co-Production Market and the European Film Market allow Canadian producers to connect with foreign producers, ultimately leading to collaborative intiatives. Luc Déry, a producer at micro_scope, noted how important the Festival is in this regard: “For the kind of films that we produce and like, Berlin is an indispensable stop on the festival circuit. We attend the Festival every year, without fail, whether or not we have a movie in official selection or at the EFM, or a project at the Co-Production Market. Year after year, Berlin gathers together the industry players we want to work with—distributors, producers and sales agents.”

Jennifer Weiss and Simone Urdl, producers at The Film Farm, shared this sentiment: “The Berlin Festival has always played an important role in our business here at The Film Farm. It is an incredible place to screen our films, and to watch films. The Berlinale Co-Production Market is one of the most important markets to meet potential coproduction partners, distributors and financiers. It is absolutely a must-attend market for us. This year, we are honoured to be attending as one of five highlighted international companies in the Market’s Company Matching program.”

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