25 YEARS OF CINEMANIA: FILM FEST REPRESENTS ‘WHAT QUEBEC IS, AND WHAT CANADA IS’

It’s kind of brilliant in its simplicity: a festival that nods to Quebec’s francophone reality, without excluding the anglophone minority. The 25th edition runs from Nov. 7 to 17.

Cinemania gives many French films "a kind of visibility they can’t get on their own," says founder Maidy Teitelbaum, with festival director Guilhem Caillard. ~ DAVE SIDAWAY / MONTREAL GAZETTE

Maidy Teitelbaum has one word to describe marking the quarter-century milestone with Cinemania’s 25th edition, Nov. 7 to 17.

“Unbelievable,” said the founder of Montreal’s festival of French films, all shown with English subtitles.

“I don’t know where the time went. Every year, we just put on our boxing gloves and said, ‘Go out there and fight for the films, the guests and the venues.’ ”

It’s a rather specific concept, kind of brilliant in its simplicity: a festival that nods to Montreal’s and Quebec’s predominantly francophone reality, without excluding the anglophone minority.

Teitelbaum came up with the idea after attending a similar festival in Sarasota, Fla., of all places.

“They had French films with English subtitles,” she said. “Fabulous films.”

Teitelbaum notes that though she comes from an English-speaking family, French was all around her. She grew up in Outremont, and the family spent summers in Lac-Mégantic.

“We adopted my sister from Brussels after the Second World War,” she said. “I’ve always had French in my life. I’ve gone to France many times.”

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