History, Milestones and Achievements
Les Films du 3 mars (F3M) was established on February 24, 2005. The initial membership consisted of 50 filmmakers and the organization received institutional support. At the founding assembly on March 3, 2005, a Board of Directors consisting of eight independent filmmakers was elected; the organization officially opened its doors. F3M’s first theatrical release was La classe de Madame Lise by Sylvie Groulx, winner of the 2006 Jutra award (now Iris) for Best Documentary.
Such recognition from the Québec film community got F3M up and running. Emerging talents like Simon Lavoie, Frédérick Pelletier and Maxime Giroux handed distribution of their short films over to the organization.
In 2008, F3M released a first short-film compilation entitled Maintenant, despite the financial uncertainties anticipated by its management and Board of Directors. Indeed, own-source revenue and government assistance weren’t enough to support a permanent full-time team. At that point, F3M underwent an important period of reflection.
Then 2009–2010 marked a major rebound, with F3M notching up successes on a number of fronts. Four feature-length documentaries — including Art in Action by Magnus Isacsson and Jean-François Caissy’s Journey’s End, selected to screen at the prestigious Berlinale — were released in theatres. F3M had also begun to acquire a great many short fiction films and animations, of which a growing number were being selected for festivals in Québec and abroad. In 2010, A Tent on Mars (Martin Bureau/Luc Renaud) was nominated for a Jutra award for Best Documentary, while Snow Hides the Shade of Fig Trees (Samer Najari) was a finalist in the Best Short Film category. F3M also received support for its administrative operations from the Conseil des arts de Montréal. As a result, the works in its ever-burgeoning catalogue became eligible for the city’s Maison de la culture film tours.
With the theatrical release of Bull’s eye: A Painter on the Watch (Bruno Boulianne) and the inclusion of Vous n’aimez pas la vérité, 4 jours à Guantanamo (Patricio Henriquez/Luc Côté) in the Forum section of the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma, the year 2010 put F3M on the map once and for all.
The following year was equally successful. La nuit, elles dansent (Isabelle Lavigne/Stéphane Thibault) was the sole Canadian feature film to be selected for the Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes, while Godin (Simon Beaulieu) enjoyed a six-week theatrical run in over 40 Québec cities and towns.
The combination of quality cinema, strong film community support and sound financial management strengthened the organization further still. In November 2012, Notes on a Road Less Taken (Catherine Hébert) took the National Grand Prize at the Rencontres Internationales du documentaire de Montréal. In February 2013, Over my Dead Body (Brigitte Poupart) was selected to close the Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois. Both films went on to have a five-week cinema run. In April, four documentaries distributed by F3M received Jutra nominations, with Philippe Lesage’s The Heart That Beats emerging as the winner.
The following years were marked by digital distribution. Aware of the ongoing technological revolution, F3M created its own viewing platform, f3msurdemande (now F3M.ca). At this time, Red Square on a Blackboard (Santiago Bertolino) was released on television as well as on the big screen at Cinéma Excentris.
The years 2014 and 2015 were marked by Bà Noî (Khoa Lê), The Sower (Julie Perron), Slums: Cities of Tomorrow (Jean-Nicolas Orhon) and Miron, un homme revenu d’en dehors du monde (Simon Beaulieu), with over 250 screenings around the world. F3M released a first feature drama with Rodrigue Jean’s Love in the Time of Civil War, widely hailed by the critics. In 2015, The Amina Profile by Sophie Deraspe, eminently topical in its examination of online identity, was selected for Sundance. In 2015, A Summer Love by Jean-François Lesage took the award for Best Canadian Film at the RIDM; the same award went to Resurrecting Hassan by Carlo Guillermo Proto the following year. Proto’s film also won the Iris award for Best Documentary at the Gala Québec Cinéma 2018.
The successes of the last decade have garnered F3M a nomination for the Grand Prix du Conseil des Arts de Montréal for its diligence and international reach.
Today, the organization has over 170 members.