Outstanding performance seduces Atlantic Film Festival

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Tara Bradbury
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Mark Critch, filmmaker G. Patrick Condon win at Atlantic Film Festival

He credits the success to others, but Mark Critch was named winner of the David Renton Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor at the Atlantic Film Festival in Halifax Thursday evening.

Mark Critch in a scene from “The Grand Seduction,” for which he won the David Renton Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor at the 2013 Atlantic Film Festival in Halifax. — Submitted photo

Critch won for his role as banker Henry Tilley in Morag Loves Company/Max Films’ production of “The Grand Seduction,” one of the Canadian film festival circuit’s most buzzed-about films of the year.

Filmed on location in Trinity Bight last summer, the film is a remake of the 2003 Quebec film, “La grande séduction.” The local version, directed by Don McKellar, is set in a community called Tickle Head, where an oil company plans to set up in the town, saving it from economic misery, but only if there’s a resident doctor and a certain size population. The villagers then attempt to seduce a doctor (Taylor Kitsch) into moving there by making him believe it’s the finest place on Earth to call home.

Along with Critch, the film stars Brendan Gleeson, Gordon Pinsent, Kitsch and Liane Balaban, along with other local performers, such as Cathy Jones, Mary Walsh and Pete Soucy.

“I was shocked to win,” Critch told The Telegram.

“It was an honour to act alongside Brendan and Gordon, so this truly is the icing on the cake.

“Don was a patient director and every day on set was a master class. Any success I had was due to those three,” Critch told The Telegram.

“The Grand Seduction” premiered earlier this month at the Toronto International Film Festival, receiving a standing ovation. Critch didn’t make last night’s awards gala, since he’s in Calgary, where the movie is opening the Calgary Film Festival. Next month, it will open the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival.

Critch feels it’s the film’s charm that people are attracted to.

“It doesn’t strive to be anything more than a well-written story told with care,” he said. “It would have been easy to play it broad and cutesy, but the performances are all quite grounded, so when the comedic scenes play out, there is a release — a real, honest-to-goodness belly laugh — that you don’t get as much these days. People leave the theatre smiling. That’s a lovely thing.”

Critch wasn’t the only local winner at the Atlantic Film Festival: filmmaker G. Patrick Condon won the award for Best Atlantic Short for the film “Infanticide!.” Other winners were:

• Best Atlantic Director: Jay Dahl for “There are Monsters”

• Best Atlantic Screenwriter: Jasmine Oore for “There’s Been a Terrible Mistake”

• Best Atlantic Cinematographer: Kyle Cameron for “There are Monsters” and Ken LeBlanc for “Hive”

• Best Atlantic Original Score or Song: David Chisholm for “Bunker 6”

• First Feature Project: Chris Turner for “Lure”

• Film Crew Excellence: Gary Swim

• Best Atlantic Feature: “Arctic Defenders”

• Joan Orenstein Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actress: Kristin Langille, “There Are Monsters”

• Script Development Award: John Hillis for “Niagara Falls (And Other Stories)”

• 10 x 10 Emerging Artist Award: Matthew Ingraham (filmmaker) and Shaun LeBlanc (musician)

• Special recognition for Animation: Tim Tracey for “Kreb”

Organizations: Morag Loves Company, Max Films, The Telegram

Geographic location: Trinity Bight, Quebec, Calgary Toronto Arctic Niagara Falls

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  • Kay Prince
    September 26, 2013 - 15:35

    Well deserved. Awesome Job Mark Critch!!

  • Chris
    September 20, 2013 - 20:35

    We attended the Animation Shorts and the Atlantic Shorts Gala. Didn't find the dark pieces useful. (Kreb, Liminalia, Conceptual Mishap and Infanticide). There is so much pain, uncertainty, anger, aggression and attendant depression in the world, why mimic and aggrandize the the problems? Loved the hopefulness, energy, playfullness, intelligence, ingenuity, techniques and rampant creativity of Mary, the Wind , Purrfectic Pair, Lil's Meatballs, Horska, Billington Prep, 28 Feet, Queen of Crows. Two Penny Road Kill, Wing Man, Scarlines, and Impromtu were A++ memorable and awesome. Thanks to the caring, diligent visionary folks who bring us up!

  • wavy
    September 20, 2013 - 08:08

    Excellent- well done Critch! Really looking forward to seeing this movie.