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Cinélande: the success of a Montreal production company

Founded in 1986, Cinélande is one of Quebec’s largest production companies specialising in television commercials. For over thirty years now, its outstanding directors, highlyexperienced associate producers, teamwork, stable workforce and complete infrastructure have allowed the group to secure a prominent place in the industry. An interview with Alex Sliman, President and Executive Producer.

What is Cinélande’s mission?

For 31 years, our mission has been to showcase Quebec’s talent. Since its launch in 1986, our production company has prioritized human values and has strived to act as a large family. Today, our team is made up of about fifty people of various ages. Cinélande has its own executive producers, line producers, production managers and coordinators, as well as postproduction teams (film editors, colourists, etc.).

How can your success be explained?

Our success was built over time. Our producers are always on the lookout for new talent, which we support as best we can, regardless of the medium used. That said, I believe our family spirit and the talent of our team have played an important role in our success.

How does Cinélande attract its directors?

Pierre Lalande and André Viau founded Cinélande to provide expertise in the production of commercials, which did not exist at the time. We were collaborating primarily with filmmakers like Jean-Claude Lauzon and François Girard. Then, word of mouth drew in work from a new generation, among which were Denis Villeneuve and Jean-Marc Vallée. They had barely begun their careers when we hired them, but they all became brilliant directors. Today, we continue to invest in the promise of the next generation, which includes people like Mathieu Grimard, Mélanie Charbonneau and Sébastien Duguay. Whether they have a background in film or TV clips, our directors all display creative thought processes as well as depth and rigour in their work. They probably choose to work with us for those same reasons. In a more practical way, Cinélande offers infrastructure that makes things simpler. It is the only Montreal production company with its own studios and an integrated postproduction department.

Who are this generation’s directors?

Directors try to tell a story that leaves an impression on viewers’ minds, above all. Nowadays, the advertising industry is changing quickly and forcing us to consider things more deeply and to communicate in a different and effective way. Our directors are keeping up with the changes and always find ways to think outside the box and stand out. The new generation is inspiring; it’s amazing to what extent their creative references come from all kinds of different art forms.

Describe one of the most unforgettable projects you have produced.

It’s hard to make a choice, because since I began at Cinélande, I have produced over 3,000. I would have to say that most recently, I loved the Tourisme Québec campaign. It showed me the province from a different perspective. Quebec is full of generous people, spectacular landscapes and talent. We are very lucky.

What’s the biggest challenge for a company like yours?

Reinventing ourselves. We regularly have to look in the mirror and ask the right questions: what can we do to better support our talent, better showcase its work? Have we properly fulfilled our mission? At Cinélande, we remain humble in spite of success. We have had our ups and downs. Nothing is easy. We must always try to improve.

 

Text: Diane Stehle

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