The province of Québec has had its own annual award ceremony for films since 1999, the Jutra Awards. It was named after a famous film director from Québec, Claude Jutra, who committed suicide in 1986. This year's event is scheduled for March 20 in Montreal. As of today, Jutra's name has been removed from the awards. So far 2016 has not been a good year for icons of the Canadian media industry.
Claude Jutra's name removed from Quebec's annual film gala
February 17, 2016
Quebec’s film industry has decided to withdraw the name of alleged pedophile Claude Jutra from its annual awards show.
Quebec Cinema made the announcement at a news conference in Montreal a few hours after Culture Minister Hélène David asked the organization to consider yanking Jutra’s name from the awards, which honour the best in Quebec cinema.
The group said a new trophy will be created, but not in time for this year’s gala.
David said she made the request Wednesday morning, after a Montreal resident claimed he suffered multiple sexual assaults at the hands of Jutra over 10 years when he was a child, beginning when he was only six.
“It’s extremely upsetting. These are very serious allegations,” David said in Quebec City. “All my thoughts go with the victim, who has lived with this his whole life, with the scars of this pedophilic act.”
Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre said Wednesday the city will remove Jutra’s name from a park and street in the city.
In an interview in La Presse published Wednesday, the man, who wished to remain anonymous, reveals explicit details about the assaults that took place when Jutra would visit his home. Jutra and the man’s parents were friends, but they suspected nothing.
At the end of adolescence, he says he violently rejected one of the assaults. A few months later, he left the family home to continue his studies far from Montreal and Jutra.
During the interview, the man says he told his family about the incidents when Jutra died in 1986. The release of a Jutra biography this week, written by Yves Lever, that revealed relations with young men convinced the man to come forward.
The revelations in the book have some people in the cinema industry demanding the name of Claude Jutra no longer be associated with the yearly gala that celebrates Quebec films.
The victim who spoke to La Presse says his life has been profoundly marked by the events, having had to undergo therapy. He says he turned to alcohol and drugs, and has a criminal record.
Several renowned Quebec film directors who have won awards named after Claude Jutra stayed out of the spotlight Tuesday when asked to comment on allegations that the movie pioneer slept with young boys.
David said she spoke early Wednesday to Patrick Roy, chair of the board of directions of Quebec Cinema, to request in her name and the name of the provincial government that Jutra’s name be removed from the annual film gala. Quebec Cinema’s board is scheduled to meet Wednesday morning, she said.
David said she has also asked Quebec’s toponomy commission to contact municipalities in the province that have street or place names honouring Jutra to see whether they intend to ask for a change in those names.
According to the Commission de toponymie, these are the Quebec places named after Claude Jutra:
• Claude-Jutra Crescent, Montreal
• Claude-Jutra Park, Montreal,
• Place Claude-Jutra, Repentigny
• Claude-Jutra St., St-Bruno-de-Montarville
• Claude-Jutra St., Quebec City
• Claude-Jutra St., Lévis
• Claude-Jutra St., Blainville
• Jutra St., Candiac
Coderre said he congratulates David for asking Québec Cinéma to remove Jutra’s name from the annual awards for the best in Quebec cinema each year. The mayor also said he spoke with David on Wednesday morning.
“I always said you shouldn’t defend the indefensible in any way and you have to react promptly but in a factual way,” Coderre said. “And I think there’s no doubt on this.”
A Claude-Jutra Crescent in Rivière-des-Prairies–Pointe-aux-Trembles borough will be renamed, he said. “We’re going to look at that with the (borough) mayor.”
The city will also replace the name on a park in Plateau Mont-Royal borough that is under the city’s jurisdiction, Coderre said. “So we’ll withdraw the name of this park and find another reflects well what is Montreal.”
Parti Québécois leader Pierre Karl Péladeau described the latest revelations on Jutra as “extremely troubling.”
“Under these circumstances, a decision must be made and it will be up to the interested parties to make them, but I confess I personally also feel a great malaise,” Péladeau said.
Coalition Avenir Québec leader François Legault was more direct.
“I find this very troubling,” Legault said. “It seems the stories are true, that Mr. Jutra was a pedophile. I think we should withdraw the name Jutra from the Jutra gala.
“I think we must condemn these acts. It’s totally unacceptable, and we need to send a very clear message.”
Claude Jutra’s name to be removed from awards gala
MONTREAL — The Globe and Mail
Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016 2:26PM EST
Canada’s film industry and the Quebec government have started erasing the name of film legend Claude Jutra from a long list of honours after fresh first-hand accusations surfaced that he sexually abused a child.
Québec Cinéma announced Wednesday afternoon that its annual Jutra awards gala will have a new name when it is next held March 20. The Prix Jutra – Quebec’s version of the Oscars – has carried the director’s name for 18 years and has become synonymous with film excellence in the province.
The news came after the La Presse news outlet published a first-hand account of a man who said the film director started sexually abusing him when he was six years old.
“We were all extremely distressed to read the account of this brave person,” said Patrick Roy, president of Québec Cinéma. “It certainly allowed us to reach our decision much more quickly. The person’s story seems entirely credible and is very upsetting.”
The separate Jutra Award handed out by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television will also be renamed. “In light of recent developments, the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television will rename its Claude Jutra Award to the Canadian Screen Award for Best First Feature,” academy chair Martin Katz said in a statement.
Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre and municipal officials across Quebec said they will push to have Mr. Jutra’s name removed from streets and parks. “I’ve always said you can’t defend the indefensible,” Mr. Coderre said.
Mr. Jutra, who killed himself 30 years ago at age 56 after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, was accused of sexually abusing teenaged boys in a book published this week. Québec Cinéma and the provincial government had urged caution Tuesday, saying the book only contained vague allegations and that no victims had emerged.
The about-face was triggered Wednesday by the La Presse report on a man who says he was first sexually abused by Mr. Jutra when he was 6.
The man, who was not identified, said initial encounters of sexual touching escalated to oral sex when he hit puberty in the early 1970s, all of it taking place in the boy’s home under the nose of his parents. The man shared his allegations of abuse with his family in 1986, shortly after Mr. Jutra’s death, La Presse reported.
The man said he suffered gravely from the abuse. He was addicted to alcohol and drugs and sought treatment for victims of sexual abuse. He also had a criminal record for drunk driving and shoplifting. “He was a boy who never became a man because he was never protected by his parents,” a sister told the newspaper.
Culture Minister Hélène David, the provincial cabinet minister who had urged caution Tuesday, on Wednesday asked the agency in charge of naming Quebec’s public installations to review streets and parks named for Mr. Jutra.
“These are grave, very serious allegations, and what we hear [Wednesday] morning is completely shocking,” Ms. David told reporters at the Quebec National Assembly.
Mr. Jutra directed the Canadian masterpiece Mon oncle Antoine (1971) and Kamouraska, which starred Geneviève Bujold. He was named to the Order of Canada in 1972 but, as a Quebec separatist, he rejected the honour.
From 1984 to 2004, film experts polled every decade by the Toronto International Film Festival named Mon oncle Antoine as the greatest film in Canadian history. In 2015, it slipped to second place behind the 2001 Inuktitut-language film Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner.
The new biography written by film historian Yves Lever said Mr. Jutra’s taste for teenaged boys was well known on film sets in the 1960s and 70s.