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School of Cinema alumni and students shine at REGARD short-film festival

‘Getting this recognition in Quebec has been a big surprise’
June 6, 2023
By Delanie Khan-Dobson, MA 21

Man wearing headphones around his neck, leaning head against window A still from Vincent René-Lortie’s short film Invincible, which won REGARD’s Prix du Jury in March.

Since its inception in 1995, the REGARD Saguenay International Short Film Festival has showcased an array of emerging and seasoned short filmmakers from around the world, helping to bring their ideas to life through exposure, networking and international recognition.

This year, the 26th edition of REGARD took place in March, screening close to 200 films from 50 countries, with juries recognizing 14 filmmakers with awards for their entries.

Concordia film production students Justine Martin and Philippe Berthelet showcased their work at the festival, and former student Aziz Zoromba’s film Simo (2022) won a special mention, Best Youth Film Competition.

The film festival also featured the work of three alumni of Concordia’s Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema: Vincent René-Lortie, BFA 17, Raquel Sancinetti, BFA 13, and Will Niava, BFA 17. Learn more about the unique approaches and perspectives each graduate brings to the screen.

Vincent René-Lortie

Black and white portrait of a man with long hair wearing a button-up shirt Vincent René-Lortie, BFA 17

Montreal-based film director Vincent René-Lortie was awarded REGARD’s Prix du Jury for his short film, Invincible (2022). Inspired by a true story, the film recounts the last 48 hours of the life of Marc-Antoine Bernier, a childhood friend of René-Lortie who passed away when he was 14.

In addition to being featured at the short-film festival, Invincible has screened at film festivals around the globe, picking up seven other awards.

“Getting this recognition in Quebec has been a big surprise, and it’s been a dream to attend festivals where I can talk about a film that means so much to me,” says René-Lortie.

While studying film at Concordia, René-Lortie forged close bonds with his classmates, including Alexandre Nour, BFA 17, with whom he helped launch Telescope Films. He is currently working on an experimental short film that explores the emotions that were felt during the pandemic, as well as a feature film, Ce Qui Nous Sépare.

Raquel Sancinetti

Black and white portrait of a woman with dark hair Raquel Sancinetti, BFA 13

A celebrated film animator and video editor originally from Brazil, Sancinetti’s work is known for its unique perspectives, memorable characters and artfully told stories.

Sancinetti’s Madeleine (2023) won REGARD’s FIPRESCI International Critics’ Prize, which honours a Canadian film in the official competition. The short tells the story of Raquel, 41, and Madeleine, 107, two friends who meet weekly in a senior-living home in Montreal. Things change one day when Raquel convinces Madeleine to join her in a grand adventure: a road trip to the sea.

Will Niava

Portrait of a man with short hair wearing glasses and blue T-shirt Will Niava, BFA 17

Will Niava is an award-winning film director who divides his time between Canada, West Africa and the United States. Niava presented Element (2022), a short film he created alongside Latigone N’goma, which tells the story of a group of youth struggling to make a living in the markets of Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, and risk putting their lives on the line in the process. Niava has also garnered widespread attention for his 2020 film, ZOO, which was screened at more than 90 international film festivals, is featured on the Criterion Collection and among Vimeo’s Staff Picks.

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