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TV5Monde Maine Heritage Film Grant to ‘Le Carrefour’

Le Carrefour (The Intersection) by Daniel Quintanilla and Jessamine Irwin

TV5MONDE USA and the Camden International Film Festival (CIFF) announced that the inaugural 2020 TV5MONDE Maine Heritage Film Grant has been awarded to Maine-based documentary filmmakers Daniel Quintanilla and Jessamine Irwin for Le Carrefour (The Intersection) the film they directed about a Congolese asylum seeker coming to America.  The Grant supports the production of a film being filmed in Maine highlighting Francophone culture in state.  As a result, Mr. Quintanilla and Ms. Irwin will receive the $15,000 grant to produce their film and Le Carrefour (The Intersection) will have its world premiere at CIFF 2021 this October.

Le Carrefour (The Intersection) is a documentary film about Trésor who, fleeing unrest like many Congolese still affected by an era of genocide and war, seeks asylum in the United States and ends up in Lewiston, Maine. Trésor befriends Franco-American retiree, Cecile, and begins to understand the scars left by the KKK’s Protestant Nativist movement targeting the French immigrants. Today, as nationalist sentiments rise up once again, a new wave of immigrants struggle to decide whether or not to pass on French to the next generation.

Mr. Quintanilla is a Maine-based documentary filmmaker and virtual reality storyteller who grew up in a multicultural home in Mexico. The experience of having lived on both sides of the border has shaped the kind of stories he chooses to focus his camera on  ̶  stories that relate to migration, identity and language. Ms. Irwin grew up in Maine, left the state to teach and was inspired to return after creating the course “Living in French in North America” and began documenting oral history in Maine. Collectively their mission is to spread the word about the past and present status of French and French speakers, to give voice to individual stories, and to let francophone communities, old and new, know that they are seen, heard, and valued.

CIFF has enjoyed a close relationship with the documentary filmmaking community and, in turn, has long been supported by the media industry including such sponsors as A+E Indie Films, CNN Films, Netflix, Showtime Documentary Films, and TV5MONDE, to name a few.  The new TV5MONDE Maine Heritage Film Grant marks yet another chapter in the festival’s partnership with the industry. Maine culture is a product of many, a multi-faceted kaleidoscope made up of voices from across the globe who have found their way to this diverse ecosystem.   One such voice has been heard in Maine for hundreds of years - a voice speaking the French language - and that voice has endured.  Joining these French voices is a new wave of French-speaking immigrants, who came to Maine from countries around the world, including Burundi, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Angola. People speaking the French language at home continues to be a part of the Maine cultural experience to this day.