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An InformAction/NFB co-production, in association with Majda Films International. Jean-Daniel Lafond’s documentary Michaëlle Jean: A Woman of Purpose launching in Montreal, Ottawa and Quebec City at the Vues d’Afrique festival, and in Toronto in conjunction with Hot Docs. Doc offers intimate and sensitive portrait of Michaëlle Jean during her tenure as Governor General of Canada.


April 5, 2016 – Montreal – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

Michaëlle Jean: A Woman of Purpose, a new documentary by Jean-Daniel Lafond, will have its French launch at the Vues d’Afrique International Film Festival in Montreal (April 21), Ottawa (April 22) and Quebec City (April 23), and its English launch in Toronto (April 22) in conjunction with the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, with the director, Michaëlle Jean and other guests in attendance. In this InformAction production (Nathalie Barton), co-produced by the National Film Board of Canada (René Chénier) in association with Majda Films International, the filmmaker shows the recent journey of Michaëlle Jean, his wife, through Canadian society and diplomacy. This intimate and sensitive portrait takes us behind the scenes, revealing her growth as a stateswoman.

Michaëlle Jean: A Woman of Purpose will also be available to the public on various TV and Web platforms: broadcast on ICI Radio-Canada Télé and TV5 Monde, accessible online at NFB.ca (in English) as well as ONF.ca and ICI Tou.tv (in French), and distributed in community, institutional and educational networks across Canada.

Quick Facts

  • Premiere and other screenings at the Vues d’Afrique Festival

World premiere in Montreal (public screening), Thursday, April 21, at 6:30 p.m. in the main theatre at the Cinémathèque québécoise, with Jean-Daniel Lafond, Michaëlle Jean and Government Film Commissioner and Chairperson of the NFB Claude Joli-Coeur in attendance. There will be a second screening at 8:30 p.m. at the same venue.

Ottawa screening, Friday, April 22, at 7:30 p.m. at La Nouvelle Scène.

Quebec City screening, Saturday, April 23, at 7:00 p.m. at the Musée de la civilisation, with Jean-Daniel Lafond, Michaëlle Jean and Claude Joli-Coeur in attendance.

  • Screening in conjunction with Hot Docs

Toronto, Friday, April 22, at 6:30 p.m., Bloor Cinema, with Jean-Daniel Lafond, Michaëlle Jean, Hot Docs Director of Programming Shane Smith, and Claude Joli-Coeur in attendance. Presented by CBC Radio’s Anna Maria Tremonti.

  • Television

The film will be broadcast throughout Canada on ICI Radio-Canada Télé on Saturday, May 7, at 9 p.m. on the 1001 vies program (in French).

It will be broadcast on TV5 Monde before the end of 2016.

  • Online

Starting May 8, the film will be accessible throughout the country, online, for free at NFB.ca (in English) as well as ONF.ca and ICI Tou.tv (in French).

  • Additional distribution

The documentary will be distributed this fall by the NFB and its partners in Canada’s educational, community and institutional networks.

About the film

On September 27, 2005, Michaëlle Jean became Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada. It was a historic moment. Not only was she the first black woman to occupy Canada’s highest office, she would also redefine the role through her desire to turn it into a civic space and her focus on cultural diplomacy. As a woman actively engaged in social issues and a citizen of the world, Jean quickly made her convictions clear—using the arts as a tool for social change, encouraging the voices of people in excluded and marginalized communities, defending the rights of women and Indigenous people, and bringing a message of hope to people in the 40 or so countries she visited during her mandate, and in regions as disparate as the Far North and Africa. While in office, Jean was also deeply affected personally by the 2010 earthquake that ravaged Haiti—the land where she was born and has deep roots—during the last year of her term. Filmed behind the scenes and at the heart of the action by her husband, Michaëlle Jean: A Woman of Purpose, is an intimate portrait, showing Jean’s own perspectives.

About the director

Taking a poetic, provocative, and thoughtful look at the destinies of individuals and peoples, director and writer Jean-Daniel Lafond has made over 15 films, including Tropique Nord (TV5 award for best French-language documentary), Haïti dans tous nos rêves (best political film award, Hot Docs), Salam Iran: A Persian Letter (best documentary film award, Gémeaux), and Madwoman of God, his first fictional film, inspired by the writings of Marie of the Incarnation. Lafond is the co-founder of the Montreal International Documentary Festival and the Observatoire canadien du documentaire (Canadian Documentary Network). His latest film, Michaëlle Jean: A Woman of Purpose, is about the extraordinary adventure he shared with his wife during her term as Governor General of Canada.


Associated Links

Vues d’Afrique International Film Festival
Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival
Michaëlle Jean
ICI Radio-Canada Télé
TV5 Monde
ICI Tou.tv

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  • About the NFB

    Founded in 1939, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is a one-of-a-kind producer, co-producer and distributor of distinctive, engaging, relevant and innovative documentary and animated films. As a talent incubator, it is one of the world’s leading creative centres. The NFB has enabled Canadians to tell and hear each other’s stories for over eight decades, and its films are a reliable and accessible educational resource. The NFB is also recognized around the world for its expertise in preservation and conservation, and for its rich and vibrant collection of works, which form a pillar of Canada’s cultural heritage. To date, the NFB has produced more than 14,000 works, 6,500 of which can be streamed free of charge at nfb.ca. The NFB and its productions and co-productions have earned over 7,000 awards, including 11 Oscars and an Honorary Academy Award for overall excellence in cinema.