305 Bellechasse, an intimate foray into precarious artists’ studios

The title of Maxime-Claude L’Écuyer’s first feature film, 305 Bellechasse, refers to the address housing the studios of dozens of Montreal visual artists on the edge of the Mile-Ex district. A renowned place of creation whose survival is however threatened by real estate speculation.

Presented as a world premiere at the International Festival of Films on Art last winter, the documentary explores in complete intimacy the creative process of a dozen artists who mainly practice contemporary painting, but also engraving, sculpture or painting. ‘facility.

Their artistic practice was disrupted when the building in which they rented their studios – a former Catelli pasta factory – was sold to a group known to have already raised rents in other newly acquired properties.

Artists have left the premises, while others have taken advantage of a grant of nearly $150,000 awarded by the City of Montreal in 2019. However, the situation remains precarious for tenants in a context of real estate escalation.

The film benefited from the collaboration of Marc Séguin, one of the most prominent personalities in the world of visual arts in Quebec, and the instigator of the conversion of the building into artists’ studios.

His colleagues Sylvain Bouthillette, Jean-Benoit Pouliot, Christine Major, Nicolas Grenier, David Elliott, David Lafrance, Alexis Lavoie, Janet Werner and Eliza Griffiths also participated in the filming.

305 Bellechasse will be released on September 23 in Montreal, Sherbrooke and Quebec City, where a special screening will also be organized the day before in the presence of director Maxime-Claude L’Écuyer, at the Cartier Cinema.

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