Canada’s Quebecor, Elephant Launch Elephant ClassiQ

New standalone classic film fest a sign of further growth in heritage cinema sector

Canadian telco/media giant Quebecor is teaming with Elephant: The Memory of Quebec Cinema, a large-scale, non-profit Quebec movie restoration program, to launch a new event, Elephant ClassiQ, a classic film fest focusing on milestone movies that have marked the history of cinema.

Elephant ClassiQ already existed, but as part of the Montreal World Cinema Fest. Expanded as a standalone event, its inaugural edition will run Nov. 19-22, overseen by Elephant directors Claude Fornier and Marie-Jose Raymond. A team of classic film experts will join them. The new festival will also feature master classes and a distinguished guest list.

Movies will play three theaters in Quebec: the Imperial Cinema, Salle Claude-Jutra at the Quebec Cinematheque, and Salle Pierre-Bourgault at UQAM.

“Repertory films are a fabulous window on the past,” commented Fournier. “They piece together what it means to be human and give us a new take on ourselves. They truly are a kaleidoscope of marvels.”

Elephant ClassiQ will not be North America’s first heritage cinema event: the TCM Classic Film Festival, for example, celebrated its 2015 edition March 26-29 in Los Angeles.

But, while the TCM Fest naturally focuses very largely on Hollywood movies, and Elephant’s restoration drive centers on Quebec movies, Elephant ClassiQ will screen past movies from not only Quebec but also from all over the French-speaking world: France, Belgium, Switzerland and Africa, shown with subtitles in English.

Launching this year, Elephant ClassiQ joins the select ranks of high-profile classic cinema events that also include October’s Grand Lyon Lumière Festival, run by the Institut Lumière’s Bertrand Tavernier and Thierry Fremaux; and Il Cinema Ritrovato, organized by Italy’s Cineteca Bologna, now in its 29th edition, which takes place June 27-July 4.

It was near inevitable maybe that Elephant: The Memory of Quebec Cinema would one day launch a high-profile film event.

Quebecor is proud to help bring our cinema to a wider audience,” said Pierre Dion, president and CEO of Quebecor. “For us, Elephant ClassiQ is another way to make restored, digitized films better known and more accessible — not only movies from Quebec’s cinematic heritage but classic films from the world over.”

A philanthropic nonprofit initiative fully funded by Quebecor, owned by Pierre Karl Peladeau, from which it derives no financial benefit, Elephant suggest an alternative business model for the classic film business that mixes private funding and market-driven economics.

Launched in 2008 by the Montreal’s media giant Quebecor, Elephant has digitized nearly 225 Quebecois pics to date; a further 800 films remain to be eventually restored.

As part of a large telecom, Elpehant has always placed a large emphasis on not only on Quebec heritage movie preservation but also access to and promotion of restored titles via digital technology. Quebec classics can be viewed 24 hours a day, seven days a week on Quebecois cabler Videotron’s TV platform Illico and via atunes, in a partnership which bowed in November 2013, in Canada, the U.S., France and other French or English-speaking countries in Europe and Africa. Theatrical exhibition promotion in an event context has, of course, significant marketing value for the round-the-year Elephant offerings and the cause of classic film in general.

Elephant’s work is being internationally recognized. In 2014, the Cannes Festival invited Elephant to screen a restored copy of Jean-Claude Lauzon’s 1992 young Montrealer tale “Léolo” as part of its Cannes Classics section.

Francis Mankiewicz’s “Les bons debarras” (Good Riddance), a 1979 drama considered a flagship film of both Quebecois and Canadian cinema, which was digitally restored in 2013 by Elephant, screened Oct. 14 in the Splendors of Restoration section at Lyon’s sixth Lumière Festival.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • 'Bombay Rose,' Venice Premiere, Debuts Trailer

    'Bombay Rose,' Venice Film Festival Premiere, Debuts Trailer (EXCLUSIVE)

    Variety has been given exclusive access to the trailer for animated film “Bombay Rose,” which will have its world premiere opening Venice Critics’ Week on Aug. 28. The film, written and directed by Gitanjali Rao, will also play in the Contemporary World Cinema strand at the Toronto Film Festival on Sept. 7. “Bombay Rose” is [...]

  • Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu speaks during a

    Alejandro G. Inarritu on the Need to Preserve Poetry in Cinema

    Alejandro G. Iñárritu is urging the film industry to guard against the influence of television storytelling in cinema, a looming crisis he said could strip film of the beauty and poetry that make it a unique artistic form of expression. Attending the Sarajevo Film Festival to receive the Honorary Heart of Sarajevo award, the Oscar-winning [...]

  • Levan Akin on the Impact of

    Levan Akin on the Impact of ‘And Then We Danced’

    Georgian-Swedish filmmaker Levan Akin is already enjoying success with “And Then We Danced,” his acclaimed social drama about a young dancer struggling with the confines of tradition and forbidden love. The film, which premiered in Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes, went on to win three top awards at the Odessa Film Festival, including best film and [...]

  • Brian Oliver'Black Mass' Premiere, Toronto International

    'Rocketman' Producer Developing Comedy 'Inward Bound' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Brian Oliver’s New Republic Pictures, the company that co-financed and produced “Rocketman,” is developing a female ensemble comedy “Inward Bound.” The announcement comes on the heels of Universal’s “Good Boys” becoming the first R-rated comedy to open in first place at the North American box office  in three years, as well as the biggest opening [...]

  • Heroic Losers

    Watch Clip from Ricardo Darin’s Toronto-Bound ‘Heroic Losers’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    Variety has been given access to an exclusive clip and poster from Toronto Special Presentation “La Odisea de los Giles” (“Heroic Losers”) which, starring Ricardo Darín, has just scored in is native Argentina a standout opening weekend of Peso 58.8 million ($1.1 million) and 316,300 admissions for Warner Bros. Pictures. With “Heroic Losers” having released [...]

  • "The Hunt"

    'The Hunt' Director Breaks Silence on Film's Cancellation (EXCLUSIVE)

    Craig Zobel, director of “The Hunt,” hopes that the controversial political thriller will eventually be seen by audiences, and argues that its message has been misrepresented in media reports. Zobel spoke for the first time since Universal canceled the film’s release on Aug. 10, in the wake of a series of mass shootings and amid [...]

  • Mark Damon, CEO & Chairman, Foresight

    Mark Damon's DCR Finance Receives $150 Million for Financing Georgia Films (EXCLUSIVE)

    Mark Damon’s DCR Finance Corp., co-headed with financer Adi Cohen, has received a $150 million investment from Go Media Productions for Georgia projects, Variety has learned exclusively. Damon, whose credits include “2 Guns” and “Lone Survivor,” made the announcement Monday with Cohen. The deal calls for Atlanta-based Go Media Productions to join a private placement as [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content