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The mission of the Au Contraire film festival (ACFF) is to showcase stirring and thought-provoking films that explore issues of mental illness from different angles.
In a culture that stigmatizes people living with mental illness, the ACFF challenges audiences to see the personal behind the labels—stories of hope, stories of suffering and, often, a mixture of both. It calls on filmmakers to help us look at our human shadows with greater compassion.
The festival is held in the stunning theatre of Montreal's Museum of Fine Arts. Films are complemented by post-screening panel discussions inviting audience participation. Panelists have included directors, subjects of documentaries, youth living with a mental illness and leading professionals in the field.
The ACFF is the only completely bilingual, French and English, mental health film festival in the world.
Our previous two years surpassed our expectations for success by standards too usual to mention save our favourite one: an entertained and engaged audience that did not want the panel discussions to end.
The ACFF raises funds for Montreal organizations providing direct services for people living with mental illness and related issues.
Awards & Prizes
The Au Contraire does not offer awards nor prizes. It is a non-competitive festival that aims to increase awareness about issues of mental illness, stimulate conversation and entertain.
Rules & Terms
As this is a mental illness film festival, submitted films must be thematically centered on or related to issues of mental illness to be considered for selection.
Mental illness is intertwined with other illness and conditions, a short list of examples is: addiction, homelessness and traumatic brain injury. Likewise, the Au Contraire Film Festival will consider films with themes that coincide with mental illness issues.
Does your film relate to issues of mental illness? Should you submit it? The litmus test, we suppose, is if your film can be validly discussed within the context of mental illness issues.
The Au Contraire Film Festival (ACFF) in Montreal, Canada is proudly bilingual (French and English). Don't let this scare you off if your film is not subtitled:
Submitters with highly-considered English films without French subtitles and submitters with highly-considered French films without English subtitles will be contacted by the ACFF to discuss arrangements for subtitling. If such is the case, and we do contact you, you will be asked for a time-coded script of the film for translation.
However, films that are in languages other than English or French must be subtitled either in English or French to be considered for selection.
The ACFF will accept all genres of film thematically related to issues of mental illness: short, long, animation, music video, documentary, public awareness advertisement— you name it.
Our "Films orientated towards Youth (high school-aged)" category refers to programming specifically for high school students. Typically, one day of the festival is reserved for our "Youth Awareness Program." After the festival our Youth Awareness Program is compiled into our "Au Contraire in the Classroom" program where we bring the Youth Awareness Program into high schools. All films submitted to the festival by the deadline will be automatically considered for our Youth Awareness Program/Au Contraire in the Classroom program.
The following submission requirements must be met before a submission can be considered. Submission materials, including DVD screeners, will not be returned.
1) Your film must be in French or English or, if your film is in another language, it must have English or French subtitles.
2) A completed "My Projects" page on FilmFreeway.
3) Submissions must include an online (Vimeo preferred) or DVD (Region 1, NTSC format) screener. A link to an online screener can be posted on your "My Projects" page on FilmFreeway.
*Please note that the ACFF reserves the right to share submitted links (with their passwords) internally for programming purposes.
4) Hard copy DVD submissions must be shipped prepaid and postmarked by the applicable deadline in a plastic DVD box and marked in permanent ink with the following information: Film Title, FilmFreeway Tracking Number (if applicable), Run Time and Subtitles (if any). Please do not place any labels/stickers on the DVD as it may render them unplayable. Please test your DVD before submission.
Hard copy DVD submissions should be sent to: Attn: Submissions, Urban Pardes, Au Contraire Film Festival, 4333 Ste. Catherine Street West, Suite 410, Montreal, Quebec, H3Z 1P9
If you are sending work from outside of Canada, please indicate on the outside of the package "FOR FESTIVAL PREVIEW ONLY – NO COMMERCIAL VALUE" or you may be require to custom duties. Declare less that $20.00 CAN value on the package.
REQUIREMENTS FOR FILMS SELECTED FOR EXHIBITION:
1) Must be available for exhibition in one of the following formats:
- DVD: region code 1 (USA and Canada), NTSC format or DVD region code 2 , PAL format *Please note that the ACFF prefers to not project films from a DVD format but will do so if you do not have any of the other formats listed below.
- Blu-Ray*: region code A (USA and Canada) *Please note that we cannot screen 25fps/50hz Blu-Ray formats
- HDCAM* (all frame rates) *Please note we cannot screen HDCAM-SR, only HDCAM
- Digital Betacam (DigiBeta) including PAL Digital Betacam
- H264 or ProRes .mov files *with file sizes that are less than 3 GB*
2) If you will be sending us a Blu-Ray as the exhibition format, please send us two Blu-Rays.
3) Exhibition copies must be delivered to the Festival office by September 1, 2015. Please send them to: Urban Pardes, Au Contraire Film Festival, 4333 Ste. Catherine Street West, Suite 410, Montreal, Quebec, H3Z 1P9.
4) Three additional DVD copies (all region 1, NTSC format) must be immediately sent to the Festival’s office (address above) for press requests.
5) A few high resolution production stills (JPEG/TIFF 300 DPI) taken from your film, a short and medium synopsis and a director bio. You can send these via email.
6) If available, promotional posters and/or postcards and digital promotional materials (e.g., digital image of film poster) should be sent to the Festival's office for marketing purposes.
Please note that the schedule of all accepted work is determined by the festival.
*BY SUBMITTING YOUR FILM TO THE AU CONTRAIRE FILM FESTIVAL (ACFF) YOU:
1) certify that you are authorized to submit this work to the Au Contraire Film Festival and that any copyrighted materials included in the work have been legally cleared for use;
2) agree that, should your film be selected for the 2015 festival, you will have a exhibition format (as outlined above) available to the ACFF by September 1, 2015;
3) understand that all print source information provided will be printed in the festival catalogue and may be made available on the festival website;
4) grant that the ACFF is entitled to use part of your film (up to 3 minutes) and/or your film's trailer for promotional purposes;
5) give full permission to use the still images you supplied for all 2015 festival promotional purposes;
6) understand that a) the festival will add your preview DVD to its archive, b) DVD submission copies are not returned, c) the ACFF may make its archives available to film festivals, broadcasters, distributors and curators for preview purposes only;
7) understand that your online submission link with password may be shared internally by the ACFF for programming purposes;
8) note that, only upon your permission (or the permission of the distributor) may your film/video be used for year-round festival outreach initiatives;
9) understand that your film submission must arrive on or before July 15, 2015 to be eligible for the ACFF 2015 festival.
By submitting your film to the Au Contraire Film Festival you agree that you have read, understood, and agree to all the aforementioned festival rules and guidelines.
If you have any questions please contact us.