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Understanding the challenges of living together in harmony in Quebec. Jean-Martin Gagnon’s documentary series Maisonneuve launches February 23 on nfb.ca.


February 12, 2024 – Montreal – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

After being shown in its entirety on the big screen at Montreal’s Rendez-vous Québec Cinéma (RVQC) festival, the award-winning documentary series Maisonneuve, directed by Jean-Martin Gagnon, launches online for free at nfb.ca, on Friday, February 23. Filmed in the years following an event that shook Collège de Maisonneuve in 2015—the arrest of students preparing to leave for Syria to join the Islamic State—the series highlights the importance, as well as the fragility, of living together in harmony in Quebec. In depicting both the challenges and the richness of students’ conversations, Maisonneuve amplifies the voices of a new generation of Quebecers. The series will also be shown throughout the month of March at the Rendez-vous de la Francophonie (RVF), across Canada.

About the documentary series

Maisonneuve by Jean-Martin Gagnon (6 x 25 min)
An NFB/Coop Vidéo de Montréal (Canada)/Akka Films (Switzerland)/Temps Noir (France) co-production, in collaboration with TV5 MONDE
Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/maisonneuve_en

Filmed over several years, Maisonneuve drops us into the culturally pluralistic milieu of Montreal’s Collège de Maisonneuve as it picks up the pieces after the trauma of 2015, when 11 students were arrested before they joined the ranks of the Islamic State in Syria. Over six episodes, the series looks at the repercussions of this event, introducing us to five young adults who arrived at the college after the arrests. The interviewees share their points of view even though they often diverge, opening up a space for dialogue. Each of the protagonists offers smart and nuanced views on their lives in their late teens, revealing a maturity that reflects their own journeys. We see how their thinking evolves, and how their reflections become marked by a real openness to others. Through their eyes, Maisonneuve offers a true barometer of society today, showing a clash of ideas and generations.

Giving young people permission to say what they think, to say they don’t agree, is a good thing in a modern society that wants to grow and that considers itself open and democratic,” says Mohamed Mimoun (Momo), a school social worker. By allowing them to express themselves and creating safe spaces for dialogue, the College fosters debate in order to deconstruct persistent myths and reduce tensions among members of the student body. And the series reflects that, through its human-centred approach.

Maisonneuve received the Coup de coeur Fonds Bell award in the fall of 2023.

Screenings, online launch and events

  • At the RVQC in Montreal:
    • First showing of the entire series on the big screen: Thursday, February 22, 8 p.m., Cineplex Odeon Quartier Latin, Salle 10, with the director and subjects in attendance.
    • A round-table discussion will be held on Friday, March 1, at 6 p.m. in Cinémathèque Québécoise’s Salle Norman McLaren. For the event, director Jean-Martin Gagnon will be joined by three of the film’s protagonists, Idir Mazouzi, Mohamed Mimoun and Kaëlla Stapels. The themes addressed in the series will be discussed: living together in harmony, diverse identities, prejudice and diversity. Facilitator: Raed Hammoud. Free event.
  • Online launch
    The series will be available for free streaming on nfb.ca as of February 23.

About the filmmaker

Jean-Martin Gagnon graduated from UQAM with a bachelor’s degree in Cultural Action. He has been directing dramas, documentaries and music videos since 2014. His last three short dramas, Puisqu’on se tue toujours trop tard, Pharmakon and Bonne fête, le désordre!, all won audience awards at the REGARD short film festival. He was also one of the producers of the acclaimed feature film Les rayons gamma, directed by Henry Bernadet. With Maisonneuve, Jean-Martin returns to college to direct this documentary series exploring important social issues.

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French version here | Version française ici.

Media Relations

  • 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.