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Lauzon cited for ‘Leolo’

Quebec filmmaker Jean-Claude Lauzon has finally won an award for his provocative feature “Leolo,” the tale of a young Montrealer who counters the banality and madness of family life with wild fantasies.

“Leolo”–distributed by Fine Line and Alliance Communications–was overlooked in both the official Cannes competition and at the Toronto fest last month.

But yesterday the film grabbed the award for best Canadian screenplay at the Vancouver International Film Festival, which started Oct. 2 and concludes Sunday.

Contacted at his home in Montreal, writer/helmer Lauzon was surprised to hear about the award, and delighted with the Rogers Communications Award prize–a high-end computer and software package.

Lauzon said he hadn’t attended the fest because dates conflicted with the New York Film Festival (where pic also was well-received) and that he needed “to go flying (his own bi-plane) and relax” after a whirlwind fest circuit including Telluride, Colo., Toronto, Spain, Germany, Czechoslovakia, New York and a theatrical launch in Paris.

The jury’s president, American film critic Harlan Jacobson, said pic’s prizeless status after so many festivals was a major part of the jury’s decision. The three-member jury also included Telefilm Canada’s Pamela Hawthorn and Canadian filmmaker Mary Daniel.

In Toronto, “Leolo” was runner-up to “Requiem Pour un Beau Sans-Coeur” (director Robert Morin’s ‘Requiem for One Beautiful Son of a Bitch’) and had to settle for honorable mention.

Jacobson says the torn jury was “faced with a conservative choice of mastery (for narrative technique in “Leolo”) vs. the fresh choice of innovation,” for “Requiem.” Writer/helmer Morin “did something daring and pulled it off,” Jacobson said. “But we all ultimately felt that Lauzon dealt with deeper issues. It was a tough decision.”

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