MADRID – Philippe Falardeau, whose Oscar-nominated “Monsieur Lazhar” proved a U.S. sleeper and sold worldwide, is re-teaming with “Lazhar’s” sales agent, Paris-based Films Distribution, for his new film, “My Internship in Canada” (“Guibord s’en va-t-en Guerre”).
Billed as a laugh-out-loud political satire, and produced by “Lazhar’s” Luc Dery and Kim McCraw for Canada’s Micro_scope, “Internship” is the third Falardeau film which Films Distribution is handling after 2008’s “It’s Not Me I Swear” and 2011’s “Monsieur Lazhar.”
The comedy tells the story of Steve Guibord (Patrick Huard, “Starbuck,” “Mommy”), an independent member of parliament in Northern Quebec whom, in an unusual twist of fate, finds himself holding the decisive vote in a national debate that will decide if Canada will go to war in the Middle-East or not.
Guibord has no staff but accepted Souverain, a Haitian student in political science, as his new intern. As they embark on a series of public hearings throughout the constituency, dubbed the “Democracy Tour”, Guibord and Souverain will be caught in the crossfire of peace activists, miners, truckers, politicians, aboriginal groups, …and it will be up to the young Haitian, played by newcomer Irdens Exantus, far more astute a politician than his politician boss, to decide if Canada goes to its war.
As the French-language comedy business develops, sometimes wracking up double-digit million dollar grosses outside in foreign territories, so does the emergence of different comedy types: Broad comedy, auteur comedy, and, in the case of “My Internship in Canada,” high concept comedy, argued Films Distribution co-founder Nicolas Brigaud-Robert, observing this is a Canadian trait and citing “Starbuck,” which top-lined Huard as a prodigious sperm-donor who sires 633 children, 142 of whom, 20 years later, want to meet their biological father .
“Philippe has this great talent of telling stories that are both concept driven and in which characters have true depth. ‘My Internship In Canada’ is the case in point and we know that the international audience today is looking for cross-over movies like this one,” he said.
Producers Dery and McCraw added: “We are thrilled to be working again with our friends at Films Distribution who did such a tremendous work with ‘Monsieur Lazhar.’ They totally capture the full universal appeal of the film, even though it is a profoundly Quebec rooted story.”
A Music Box U.S. pick-up, “Monsieur Lazhar” went on to gross $2.0 million in the U.S. and open in every major territory around the world, nothing up an upbeat critical reception.Variety noted its “clear crowdpleaser appeal.”
Released by Warner Bros., Falardeau’s last film, and first English-languagetitle, Sudanese U.S. immigrant drama “The Good Lie,” with Reese Witherspoon – though the focus is more on the immigrants than Witherspoon – grossed $2.7 million Stateside.