Claude Jutra's name to be pulled from Quebec film awards

MONTREAL - Quebec's film industry has decided to withdraw the name of alleged pedophile Claude Jutra from its annual awards show.

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Quebec Cinema made the announcement at a news conference in Montreal a few hours after Culture Minister Helene David asked the organization to consider yanking Jutra's name from the awards, which honour the best in Quebec cinema.

A biography released this week said Jutra slept with young boys, while Montreal La Presse quoted a man Wednesday as saying the late filmmaker began touching him when he was six years old and that the abuse escalated over a 10-year period.

Patrick Roy, head of Quebec Cinema's board of directors, said he and his colleagues were "deeply upset" by the abuse the man allegedly suffered at the hands of Jutra.

"That's what has prompted us to change the name of the gala," he told a news conference Wednesday.

The man interviewed by La Presse said Jutra was a friend of his parents.

"He would always bring me presents," he said. "I was happy to see him. I was a kid. I would jump on his back and he would make me roll over. Everyone had the impression it was good fun."

The alleged victim said Jutra would lie beside him in his bed and ask for long hugs before he began touching the boy's genitals.

He said the abuse then heightened over the years and involved masturbation and oral sex.

No new name has yet been set for the next gala, which is scheduled for March 20.

David has also requested a list of all the places in Quebec that bear Jutra's name so municipalities can decide whether to keep them as is.

"I'm very very troubled and so sad about what I read this morning," David said in Quebec City.

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre also weighed in Wednesday, saying the city would move to withdraw Jutra's name from a downtown park as well as from a street in an east-end borough.

Coderre said he could not "defend the indefensible."

The film director committed suicide in 1986 after battling Alzheimer's disease. The Jutra Awards, which recognize the best in Quebec cinema, have been named after him for nearly 20 years.

The biography, which was released Tuesday, says Jutra had a penchant for sleeping with young boys.

The allegations in Yves Lever's "Claude Jutra, biographie" upended the province's film world and forced Quebec Cinema to say it was forming a committee to determine whether to keep the awards show named in his honour.

Lever said Jutra, whose body of work included 'Mon oncle Antoine' and 'Kamouraska,' "especially liked boys of 14 or 15 and even younger."

No complaints were ever filed with authorities.

Telefilm Canada, the federal agency that sponsors the Claude Jutra Award, given by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television for the year's best feature film by a first-time director, did not want to comment Tuesday. That award, which began in 1993, is separate from the Quebec ones.



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