Gabrielle — a film written and directed by Louise Archambault, BFA 93, MFA 00 — won Best Motion Picture at the 2014 Canadian Screen Awards (CSA) ceremony on March 9.
Archambault, who lives in Montreal, studied at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema at Concordia's downtown Sir George Williams Campus.
A musical story of love and family, Gabrielle is about a developmentally challenged young woman who seeks to prove her independence and explore her sexuality.
The film shines due to the "heartfelt performance" by Quebec actress Gabrielle Marion-Rivard, according to the Toronto International Film Festival. Marion-Rivard, who has Williams syndrome, stars alongside Alexandre Landry and Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin. Her outstanding appearance inGabrielle was rewarded with a CSA for Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role.
This marks the second year running that the work of a Concordia graduate was honoured with the year's top prize. Rebelle, directed by Concordia film production graduate Kim Nguyen, BFA 97, won in the same category.
"The Canadian film industry, specifically the Quebec industry, is chock full of Concordia graduates," says Daniel Cross, chair of the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema.
"When you see a success like Louise Archambault's Gabrielle or Kim Nguyen's Rebelle, it really inspires everyone here -- students, staff and professors -- to maintain that tradition of excellence."
Gabrielle is also nominated for nine Prix Jutra, Quebec's top cinema prize, including Best Film, Best Director and Best Screenplay. The Prix Jutra awards ceremony will take place on March 23.
Gabrielle was additionally selected as Canada's submission for the 86th Academy Awards in the Foreign Language Film category but did not make the long list.