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Screenwriter, Producer, Director
In 1998, Manon Briand became a recognized and acclaimed young star in the Canadian filmmaking community. This was a result of the success of her first feature-length film, 2 secondes, which was screened at that year's Montréal World Film Festival. Her participation in this festival earned her three awards: Best Director, Best First Film and Best Canadian Film. In addition to these honours, the newspaper La Presse named her Person of the Year in the Arts and Theatre category.
Manon Briand was born in Baie-Comeau in 1964, where she lived throughout her childhood. As a child and teenager, she liked sports, particularly cycling, since, according to her, "there really was nothing else to do." [translation]. She was a gifted, curious and artistic student; especially enjoying drawing, writing and telling stories, and, fortunately, still does.
In 1981, Manon Briand began studies in graphic arts at the Cégep du Vieux-Montréal. She used her talent to produce posters, including one for Cinoche, her hometown's film festival. She then enrolled in Concordia University's fine arts program, specializing in film. In 1987, she began her film career by writing screenplays. She then started directing short films, producing Les sauf-conduits in 1991 and Picoti Picota in 1995. The quality and originality of her work earned her numerous awards, including the Prix Claude-Jutra/OFQJ for the most promising filmmaker at the Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois.
In 1996, Manon Briand joined forces with five other young filmmakers to create Cosmos, a film composed of sketches; at that time she met producer Roger Frappier, who recognized that she had a lot of potential. This meeting gave her the opportunity to make the film 2 secondes, which she wrote, produced and directed. The filming, which showcases the city of Montréal, lasted for 30 days and featured a dynamic team of actors, including Dino Tavarone and Charlotte Laurier. The filmmaker was delighted with the film's success.
Manon Briand then undertook a second feature-length film entitled Chaos and Desire (2002). In this film, she substitutes the pavement of Montréal for the warm sand of Baie-Comeau. She spins a story in which the chaos of the environment is echoed by the emotions of some of the residents of Baie-Comeau. Once again, she had a dream team to work with, including Pascale Bussières, Julie Gayet, Jean-Nicolas Verrault and Geneviève Bujold. Manon Briand's film was distributed in Canada and France, thanks to the participation of Luc Besson and EuropaCorp in production and distribution. In 2002, Chaos and Desire won the Telefilm Canada award for best Canadian Film chosen by the public at the Montréal World Film Festival.
Manon Briand makes films that are profoundly human and vibrant with some autobiographical elements. George Privet says that 2 secondes is "first and foremost, a film that looks like her: a film with moments of great mirth and great anguish; her mocking eye and her appetite for life; her passion for speed and her existential doubts; her passion for movement [...]." [translation]. (Voir, 1998, p. 16). Working with a modest budget by film industry standards, she knows how to get the most from the funding she receives. As she says, more money does not make better films.
Manon Briand has certainly made a great contribution to the Canadian film repertoire by making films that are rich in colour and emotion. We hope she continues to tell us stories on film and to explore her potential.
"Canadians in the Movies." Northern Stars. 2001. http://northernstars.ca/directorsal/briand_manon.html (accessed June 14, 2004).
Le dictionnaire du cinéma québécois. 3rd ed. Montréal: Boréal, 1999, p. 82-83.
Millot, Pascale. "Manon prise 1." L'actualité. (January 1999), p. 64-67.
Perreault, Mathieu. "Manon Briand et 2 secondes : Le film comme le dessin." Séquences. No. 198 (September-October 1998), p. 39-40.
Privet, Georges. "En roue libre." Voir. (August 27, 1998), p. 16.
Remy, Julie. "La turbulence des fluides. Manon Briand fait un film en 3D : Désirs, désordre et danger." Objectif Cinéma. 2003. www.objectif-cinema.com/horschamps/075.php (accessed June 14, 2004).
Ruer, Juliette. "Pression atmosphérique." Voir. (August 22, 2002), p. 45.