Lyla Films (Lafontaine) and MK2 (Nathanaël Karmitz and Charles Gillibert) co-produce the transgender love story.

Young Quebec cineaste Xavier Dolan has begun principal photography on his third feature, Laurence Anyways, a transgender love story which takes place over 10 years and four seasons, it was announced by producer Lyse Lafontaine, co-producer of the Oscar-nominated Barney’s Version.

Winter scenes of Laurence Anyways, an C$8 million Canada-France co-production written and directed by Dolan, are scheduled to shoot Feb 27 to April 12 (mainly in Montreal), followed by an autumn shoot from mid-September to the end of October.

Lyla Films (Lafontaine) and MK2 (Nathanaël Karmitz and Charles Gillibert) co-produce; Alliance Vivafilm distributes in Canada and MK2 distributes in France.

LaurenceAnyways tells the story of impossible love shrouded by lies, secrets and games. On the day of his 30th birthday, Laurence, (Melvil Poupaud), who is in love with Fred tells Fred (Suzanne Clement) — after much obscure circling around the subject — that he wants to become a woman.

The Laurence Anyways cast includes Karine Vanasse, the award-winning star of Denis Villeneuve’s drama Polytechnique, as well as Nathalie Baye, David Savard, Yves Jacques, Catherine Bégin, Patricia Tulasne, Jacques Lavallée, Anne Dorval and Violette Chauveau. Director of photography is Yves Bélanger.

Dolan is extending his creative reach this time to the costume department and is listed as having ’’conceived the costume ideas’’ with assistance from François Barbeau and Brigitte Desroches.

Laurence Anyways marks the first time Dolan will have a decent budget, after bowing internationally with the $800,000 J’ai Tue Ma Mere (I Killed My Mother), followed by his $1.7 million sophomore outing, Heartbeats, the latter of which has the wunderkind nominated for Best Foreign Feature at the Cesars in France. Laurence Anyways also marks the first time federal funder Telefilm Canada has invested in a Dolan picture according to Carole Mondello, who line produced all three of his features.

Laurence Anyways is scheduled to be complete in time for the 2012 festival season, namely the Cannes extravaganza that launched Dolan’s career when he garnered three awards in 2009 for I killed my mother.