Québec films have an increasing presence in the movie capital of the world. In December 2008 the San Francisco Film Society, which for over fifty years has organised the longest-running film festival in the US, showcased the first ever Québec Cinema Week in the United States, presented with the support of the Government of Québec. Eight productions from established filmmakers, such as Academy Award Winner Denys Arcand, and talented newcomers like Stéphane Lafleur (Continental, a film without guns) were screened, often in front of sold-out crowds.
In January 2009 four Québec productions were included as part of the official selection of the 20th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival, the largest such event organised in California. Among the screenings was The Necessities of Life (Ce qu’il faut pour vivre) by director Benoit Pilon, chosen as one of “The Best of The Fest” by the festival’s jury and by the public. Its lead actor, Natar Ungalaaq, received the FIPRESCI Award for Best Actor, presented by the International Federation of Film Critics. Commenting on Ungalaag’s performance, Roger Clarke of The Independent, Sight & Sound noted, "Though not a trained actor, Natar Ungalaaq brings rare warmth and icy clarity to his role as an Inuit hunter culturally and emotionally marooned in at TB hospital in 1940's Quebec."
IFC (Independent Film Channel) bought the rights to distribute The Necessities of Life in the United States. The film that was Canada’s submission for this year's Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film.