October 2022. Radio-Canada announces that it is pulling the plug on the Gala Québec Cinéma, which it has presented since 2003. At Québec Cinéma, the organization responsible for the ceremony, the surprise is total.
Dominique Dugas, general director of Québec Cinema: “It was quite sudden. The current general director, Sylvie Quenneville, immediately got involved with the community. People went to meet Minister [Mathieu] Lacombe. »
Suzane Landry, vice-president, content development and French-language programming, of Bell Media (Noovo): “When Radio-Canada dropped the gala, Québec Cinema met with me. I wasn’t hard to convince. Because it was a natural association. Bell Media has been a partner of Rendez-vous Québec Cinema for a long time. We buy around twenty Quebec films per year to supply our platforms. And more than ever, it’s important to celebrate our cinema. To convince people to go see Quebec films, you have to give them a showcase.
Dominique Dugas, Québec Cinéma: “Sylvie Quenneville and Patrick Roy, the president of the board of directors, worked hard to find a solution. The challenge was to move from a public broadcaster like Radio-Canada, which assumed 100% of the production costs of the gala, to a private channel, like Noovo, which had to put in place a structure to finance the ceremony. »
Suzane Landry, Bell Media: “Québec Cinéma had taken steps with the government. They had a financial solution. »
Spring 2023. Bell Media is launching a call for tenders from production companies to resurrect the Gala Québec Cinema. Sphère Media (Les Petits Tannants, Belle et Bum) wins by offering a ceremony led by Jay Du Temple, a specialist in relaunching shows, after giving a second wind to Occupation Double in 2017.
Suzane Landry, Bell Media: “We wanted a modern, unifying and festive gala. »
Marie-Pier Gaudreault, Sphère Média: “Jay [Du Temple] had all the qualities required to host this evening. For me, it was a no-brainer. This is the one and only person I called. »
Jay Du Temple, host: “I was surprised [to be contacted]. But quickly, my brain started looking for ideas… Obviously, there was something that attracted me. My body was sending me a signal. The little hesitation I had was in relation to the cinema industry: did he agree to me hosting his gala? »
Dominique Dugas, Québec Cinéma: “We have often been criticized for offering a show for the industry. With that in mind, coming back with someone like Jay at the helm made sense. We put the public at the center of the equation. »
Jay Du Temple, host: “I’ve met several actors and actresses over the past few weeks. They were all super generous to me. They were reassuring, kind. I feel a lot of support. »
Galas have not had it easy in recent years. In Quebec, TVA has abandoned the Artis awards, audiences are declining, critics are questioning the relevance of ceremonies of this type… The context in which the return of the Gala Québec Cinema takes place has not dampened the enthusiasm of Jay DuTemple. On the contrary.
Jay Du Temple: “When you have just hosted six seasons of OD, the gala review is not stressful. And I liked the challenge side, the “it’s not a foregone conclusion” side. I find it rich. It wasn’t just another year in the history of a gala that’s already rolling. »
Suzane Landry, Bell Media: “We have just gone through two years of a pandemic. The galas that we did during this period obviously did not have the emotion, the flavor, the color that they had before. »
Preparations for the Gala Québec Cinéma have been going well for several months. Everyone agrees that it is a colossal effort for two hours of television, which will notably include a tribute to Rémy Girard, as well as a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the event.
Roxane Couture, content producer at Sphère Média: “Compared to other galas, people haven’t necessarily seen everything. We must put forward what they know. We sometimes think that cinema is niche, but that’s not true. There are plenty of super accessible films. You just have to get one foot in the door to want to see others. »
Jay Du Temple: “I’ve been thinking about people in the film industry day and night since the summer. That does not make any sense ! »
Marie-Pier Gaudreault, Sphère Média: “We talk about the rebirth of the gala, but for us, it’s a birth. Point. We are creating something completely new. »
The ceremony team will move to Studios Grandé in Montreal on Monday to complete preparations. With the second round of voting having ended last Sunday, Québec Cinéma has only known the winners for a few days. For Jay Du Temple, it’s a stressful time.
Jay Du Temple: “I ask a lot of myself, and therefore, I ask a lot of Guillaume Girard and David Beaucage. They are my best friends. We often work together. They show a lot of patience with me, because I miss it so much… My goal is to arrive in good shape on the day of the gala. I want my kit ready, my jokes ready… I want to be in a good mood. »
Mélanie Bhéré, Bell Media: “With all the pressure Jay can feel, he remains so reassuring. He is an incredible positive leader. »
Jay Du Temple: “I want everyone at Bell Media, Sphere Media and Québec Cinema to be happy. I want my mother to be happy. I want the entire film industry to be happy. I want Rémy Girard to be happy. But the important thing is that we pique people’s curiosity. I want us to make them want to go see Quebec films. »