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In Conversation: Chloé Leriche on Avant Les Rues (Before the Streets, 2016)

Wednesday, March 17, 2021 - 2:30pm

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The Program for Film and Media Studies and the Office of the Vice President for the Arts at Stanford present a public discussion with filmmaker Chloé Leriche, director of Avant Les Rues (Before the Streets, 2016).

Since its premiere at the prestigious Berlin International Film Festival in 2016, Avant les Rues has gained international acclaim, winning, among others, Best Film at the American Indian Award Show and the Borsos Award for Best Canadian Feature at the 2016 Whistler Film Festival. Produced in collaboration with the three Atikamekw communities of Quebec, Avant les Rues offers a revival of native cultures and their traditions, a revival itself embodied by the largely non-professional actors within the film.

Of Atilamekw First Nations background, unsettled, irresponsible, and unemployed Shawnouk (Rykko Bellemare), a young man, still lives at home on the Manawan Reserve in Quebec with his mother Anita (Janis Ottawa), young single mother sister Kwena (Kwena Bellemare-Boivin), and Anita’s boyfriend Paul-Yves (Jacques Newashish), a police officer with the reserve service. Coerced into burglarizing nearby country homes, Shawnouk commits murder and goes on the run. Paul-Yves, investigating the crime, comes to learn of Shawnouk’s involvement. Risking his own standing within the reserve force, Paul-Yves helps Shawnouk find redemption through indigenous healing methods. 

Self-taught, Chloé Leriche has written, directed, edited and produced several indie short films screened at numerous international film festivals. Her film Fragments ou lettre à un Allemand (dont je suis amoureuse en secret) received an honorable mention for the Creation Prize 2004 at VideoForme (France). Les grands was selected at the Toronto International Film Festival and revealed as one of TIFF's Canada’s Top Ten short films of 2007.

In 2004, she started teaching filmmaking through Video Paradiso, working with Montreal's homeless. From 2006 to 2013, she periodically worked in native communities through the Wapikoni mobile, a caravan equipped with cameras and editing suites. While encouraging native people to express themselves through documentary film and music videos, she started writing her first feature Avant les Rues with the intent to involve the Atikamekw communities in the filmmaking process. In 2018 she was named Artist of the Year in Mauricie by the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec.

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