Emerging Canadian talent is already making waves towards the upcoming Academy Awards with the film selected to represent Canada this year in the Best Foreign Language Film category being the directorial debut of a female filmmaker from Quebec! The film chosen by the pan-Canadian Oscar selection committee to represent Canada in this category will be (drum roll, please) Sophie Dupuis’s Chien de garde (Family First).

Distributed by Axia Films, produced by Bravo Charlie, and funded by Telefilm Canada, among others, this French-language drama takes place within the Montreal area of Verdun and tells the story of JP (played by Jean-Simon Leduc) as he tries to balance the needs of his family, job, and his uncle’s drug cartel.

The selection for the Oscar competition is the next chapter in this movie’s cinematic success story; one that’s even more meaningful when you consider that Chien de garde is Dupuis’s feature debut! (Before Chien de garde, the Val-d’Or, Quebec-born filmmaker, who now lives in Montreal, directed the documentary short Forces tranquilles, as well as some narrative shorts.)

Its cast showcases awesome Canadian talent; alongside Jean-Simon Leduc, Maude Guérin, Claudel Laberge, Paul Ahmarani, and Théodore Pellerin (who plays JP’s brother Vincent) also star in the film. It also made its way through the international festival circuit. Chien de garde’s awards to date have included three Iris Prizes from the Gala Québec Cinéma: the best editing award, as well as the best actress honour for Guérin and Revelation of the Year for Pellerin, who is known for appearing in Xavier Dolan’s 2016 film Juste la fin du monde (It’s Only the End of the World), among others. Pellerin is working on a new series also starring Kirsten Dunst, called On Becoming a God in Central Florida.

Will Chien de garde make it onto the official nomination list for the 91st Academy Awards, which will take place February 24, 2019? Stay tuned for updates, and meanwhile, check out the best moments from the press conference, right here!