Quebec short film on teen mental health lands Oscar nomination

Based on a true story, Vincent René-Lortie’s drama Invincible traces the last 48 hours in a rebellious boy’s life.

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A Quebec film about teenagers’ mental health has been nominated for an Oscar for best short fiction film. Based on a true story, Vincent René-Lortie’s drama Invincible traces the last 48 hours in a rebellious boy’s life, including his struggles with the legal system and descent into isolation and self-doubt.

“On July 5, 2008, I learned that my best friend Marc-Antoine Bernier had tragically died at the age of 14 after driving a stolen car into a river,” René-Lortie said in a statement about the film. “I will never forget the overwhelming feelings of sadness and incomprehension I felt that day.

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“In making this film, I found a way to dive into that dark, tragic abyss in order to better understand my friend and the decisions that led to his death. In my research, I learned a lot about Marc’s mental health, but also about the behavioural issues faced by many kids his age.”

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Invincible’s nomination was announced Tuesday morning in Los Angeles, along with the rest of the Academy Award nominations.

“It’s a big wave of emotions we’re feeling today. We can say it’s the realization of a childhood dream,” René-Lortie and Samuel Caron (who co-produced the film with Élise Lardinois) said in a statement.

The Oscar nomination is the third for the film’s Quebec distributor, h264, which had two Quebec shorts — Jérémy Comte’s Fauve and Marianne Farley’s Marguerite — in the running in 2019. Add Meryam Joobeur’s Brotherhood in 2020, and Invincible becomes the fourth Quebec production in six years nominated in the category of best short fiction film.

Invincible qualified for the Oscars by winning best short fiction film at the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival. It also won best short fiction film at the Gala Québec Cinéma.

The 96th Academy Awards take place March 10 in Los Angeles.

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