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The Demons, directed by Quebec director Philippe Lesage

The Demons, directed by Quebec director Philippe Lesage, will get its world premiere in official competition at the 63rd San Sebastian International Film Festival (Donostia Zinemaldia)  in Spain, which runs Sept. 18 to 26. The Demons will be competing for the Concha de Oro, the festival’s top prize, awarded in the past to such luminaries as Francis Ford Coppola, Claude Chabrol, Bahman Ghobadi, François Ozon, Peter Mullan and Arturo Ripstein. “I’m very honoured and happy to see my first feature selected in official competition at the prestigious San Sebastian festival,” said Lesage. “Bravo to our entire team!”

The film’s exceptional cast is mostly made up of children and teenagers, some making their first appearance on screen. The young actors include Édouard Tremblay-Grenier, Yannick Gobeil-Dugas, Vassili Schneider, Sarah Mottet, Mathis Thomas, Théodore Pellerin and Rose-Marie Perreault. They play alongside  such seasoned professionals as Laurent Lucas, Pascale Bussières, Bénédicte Décary and younger talents including Victoria Diamond and Pier-Luc Funk.

The Demons, directed by Quebec director Philippe Lesage

With the city of Montreal shaken by a series of kidnappings of young boys, a sensitive 10-year-old named Félix lets his imagination run wild as he comes to the end of his school year. Nothing much ever seems to happen in the quiet suburbs where he lives, but Félix is afraid of everything: his parents’ impending divorce, the maniacs who target little boys, his weird neighbours, even the AIDS epidemic. Slowly but surely, the child’s imaginary demons begin to resemble those of the real, disturbing world around him.

Before venturing into fiction, Philippe Lesage made four feature-length documentaries: Pourrons-nous vivre ensemble ? (2007), Comment savoir si les petits poissons sont heureux ? (2009), Ce cœur qui bat (2010) andLaylou (2011). Centred on life in a Montreal hospital, Ce cœur qui bat won the prize for best Canadian film and most promising Canadian film at the 2010 Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montréal (RIDM), as well as the prize for best feature documentary at the 2012 Jutras. In 2011, Lepage was honoured with a retrospective of his works at the Cinémathèque Québécoise called Découvrir Lesage, giving the public a chance to see his early films. Between his many projects, Lesage also taught filmmaking at the European Film College in Denmark. His first two feature dramas – Copenhague A Love Story and The Demons – have been selected at a number of festivals and will open in cinemas in 2015 and 2016. His next feature, Genèse, is now in pre-production, with shooting slated to begin in the summer of 2016.

Produced by Galilé Marion-Gauvin and Philippe Lesage for Les Films de l’Autre in collaboration with Unité Centrale, The Demons is written and directed by Philippe Lesage (2012 Jutra for best documentary, Ce cœur qui bat). The crew includes Dominique Noujeim, associate producer; Nicolas Canniccioni, director of photography; Marjorie Rhéaume, artistic director; Marcel Chouinard and Pascal Van Strydonck, sound (with overall design by Olivier Calvert); and Mathieu Bouchard Malo, editing. The Demons received funding from the SODEC, Téléfilm Canada, the CALQ, Super Écran and La Société Radio-Canada , as well as federal and Quebec tax credits.

The film is distributed in Canada by Funfilm Distribution and will open in Quebec cinemas on Oct. 30.

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