L'International des Feux Loto-Québec 2007
Montréal International Fireworks Competition Report
This was a good year, but not a great year in the history of the competition. Technical problems marred a quarter of the displays and only half of them actually began on time at 10:00pm - the lowest rate of all the years I've been witnessing the competition. As for the weather, despite various threats of thunderstorms and less than summer-like weather early in the competition, not a single display was actually fired in rainy conditions. Hopefully this record will also include the closing show.
Creativity was present this year but the level of complexity was somewhat lower than we've seen in previous years - probably a good thing. Many times a display's emotional content is lost to its technical prowess. This years choice of themes was somewhat problematic as well. We had two strongly themed displays the presented a complete scenario: Pain's Night and Day and Féérie's Romeo and Juliette. However, the Féérie display was a rework of a theme that they used previously and this exact same theme was also used in 2003. I believe the organizers prefer a display in the Montreal competition to be unique and not a "stock" display. We had five displays with somewhat more nebulous themes, from Igual's Pure Jazz through Souza's Elvis and Fireworks Spectaculars Olympian Zeus. Hop Kee's theme was interesting in name but could also be seen as a promotion for the upcoming 2008 Beijing games. Lux's Chocolate was very nebulous and, of course, IP's theme was really that there was no theme.
As well as choice of theme, there is also the aspect of staging. Pains and Féérie were the clear winners here, both presenting a very theatrical approach with excellent use made of all of the dimensions of the display area: vertical, hortizontal and the Lake itself. Fireworks Spectaculars also presented a very wide and deep display, but was less theatrical in style. The same can be said for Souza's staging. IP presented a very conventional display, but had the most notable segment for synchronization - the You are so Cool piece fired entirely with small mines.
Set pieces were seen in abundance this year, but once again waterfalls and wheels prove to be temperamental - either failing to ignite completely of refusing to rotate as the case may be. Narration was thankfully mainly absent this year. In the case of Féérie, it was well integrated into the display and did not distract nor detract. In the case of Fireworks Spectulars, it was both redundant and distracting which marred an otherwise excellent display with almost two full minutes of essentially dead time.
As usual, I will present a summary of each display and then
give my personal rankings together with my prediction for
the popular jury's votes.
Firing System / cues
|Spain - Igual||FireOne / 2105
Manual / 198
This was an enjoyable display but there wasn't really a strong theme. Probably too many pieces of music used. Whilst the display was well executed, there was something lost in all the myriad pieces of music. Well executed finale with a very unique sequencing of the salutes in a very rhythmic manner.
|England - Pains||Pyrodigial / ~2400||
Probably the strongest theme of the year. Very well staged with much attention to detail paid in the choice of effects and their positions in the sky. "Sun" setpiece used very effectively to weave the story together, but not a completely unique concept. Good choice of music but some transitions between segments were a little bit too quick. Excellent finale, though the faux finale was actually more powerful than the actual finale.
|Mexico - Lux Pirotecnia||Firelite / ~1500||
Technical problems marred this display. The theme was very nebulous, but good use was made of traditional Mexican elements such as the Castillo setpice. The staging was on the simplistic side, but it is impossible to know if the almost 400 shells that did not get fired contributed to this feeling. Some of the product used seemed to be of a rather lower quality than one might have expected too.
|Hong Kong / China - Pyromagic Productions||Pyrodigial / ~2100||
Clever use made of pattern shells to emphasize portions of the theme, but the theme itself was not as connected to the display as it might have been. Some segments were shot in more of a product demonstration fashion, but others were well sequenced. Apparently the style used was very typical of the displays seen in Hong Kong harbour. Very nice product and the Great Wall setpiece worked very well. Technically flawless, but too simplistic to be in contention.
|USA - Pyrospectaculara by Souza||Pyrodigial / ~5000||
Very lively and flamboyant display with excellent product and a popular choice of music. Somewhat a simplistic theme though very well sequenced - the choreography being so fluid that it made a complex display seem simpler than it really was. Some of the segment transitions were somewhat sloppy, but a good range of feelings from serene to extremely lively. That said, two segments used the same effects which was somewhat disappointing and the finale was rather disproportionately small compared to the grandure of the rest of the display.
|Canada - Fireworks Spectaculars Canada||Pyrodigital / ~3600||
Very disappointing that technical problems made for a much weaker start than had been designed. A good theme, but the two sections of narration spoiled the flow and feeling. After the technical problems were resolved, a very powerful display which was staged to use all of the space available - probably the broadest, highest and deepest display of the season. Some of the music edits rather left something to be desired and marred the flow of the display. Very powerful sequencing, but the type of music used naturally allowed for this. By far the most exciting finale of the competition - it was very well developed with great progression and a suitable climax.
|France - Féérie||FireOne & FireLite / ~1900||
A very theatrical production that was extremely well staged. Very careful choice of product and effects to emphasize the theme. Sadly, this theme had been used previously (both by Féérie in competition in Cannes and seen by another company in Montreal in 2003) which somewhat detracted from an otherwise excellent display. All that said, the display was extremely well executed and was a very enjoyable performance - much much more than just fireworks synchronized to music.
|Germany - IP||Pyrodigital / ~3600||
A pyromusical staged in the classical that hasn't been seen in Montreal for a few years. The theme was that there was no theme so there was no real link between any of the segments. That said, the products used were brilliant and the sequencing was flawless. The You are so cool segment set to small mines was very well done - though the designer had used similar choreography in 1997 and 1998 to slightly better effect, though that may have been to its novelty at the time. A very strong finale that was let down by coming to an anti-climatic close. All that said, I enjoyed this display in a way that I haven't enjoyed a display for a few years.
Paul's jury predictions
- Gold Jupiter - England
- Silver Jupiter - France
- Bronze Jupiter - USA
Paul's personal choice
- Gold Jupiter - England
- Silver Jupiter - France
- Bronze Jupiter - Canada
- Iron Jupiter - Germany
The iron Jupiter added because I really enjoyed the German display. As usual, I don't include any rankings below the top three (well, four this year) as it only serves to upset the people who have to come last. Let's be clear here: they were all enjoyable displays that involved a vast amount of sweat and tears to bring to stage for us lucky pyromaniacs fortunate enough to be able to witness them.
I'm very grateful to all the dedicated staff at La Ronde who work untold hours to make this competition happen. Many people would be shocked to see how much work is required to pull off this competition so flawlessly every year. So special thanks to Martyne Gagnon, Paul Csukassy, Nadia Goyer, and Marc Tremblay, Director of La Ronde, as well as everyone else whom space doesn't permit me to mention. Once again, you gave me a memorable summer and a chance to indulge my passion.
One final note, just to say that I consider myself a reporter on the competition,
not a critic. The combination of fireworks and music excites different people
in different ways. My musical tastes are different to other people's and this
inevitably influences my enjoyment of a display. This year some displays
which I personally really liked, others disliked because of the music. My job,
as your humble reporter, is to describe what I saw and report the music
used. The Jury has the exceptionally difficult job of deciding three winners from
six deserving display.
For a different perspective on the displays, take a look at
Georges Lamon's web site.
His reports are in French, but the on-line translation programs give a good sense of his thoughts.
Thanks to the public relations people of La Ronde for the official
press release material, shown in white.