National Film Board of Canada pays tribute to documentary filmmaker Danic Champoux
February 21, 2022 – Montreal – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)
It is with great sadness that the National Film Board of Canada has learned of the far-too-early death of Danic Champoux, a documentary filmmaker who’s been working in the Quebec cinema landscape for the last 20 years. The four films he directed or co-directed with the NFB—My Father, Sessions, Self(less) Portrait and Daughter of the Crater—attest to his boundless curiosity, remarkable eclecticism, profound humanity and love of the great tradition of direct cinema.
“Here at the NFB, we are deeply saddened by the sudden loss of this uniquely talented filmmaker, an artist with a deep and abiding desire to explore people and society through the lens. We had a project in development with Danic. His ability to listen, his approach to filmmaking, and a gaze that encompassed both the individual and the collective will be sorely missed,” said Nathalie Cloutier, Executive Producer of the NFB’s Quebec, Canadian Francophonie and Acadian Documentary Studio.
Danic Champoux’s work
- A native of Sorel, Quebec, Danic Champoux first made a name for himself in 1996‒1997 while participating in the TV show La Course destination monde, which featured many of that era’s up-and-coming Quebec filmmakers.
- In 2000, he made My Father at the NFB; his first short documentary, the film focussed on the plight of workers forced to leave their families to earn a living. Presented at the Rendez-vous du cinéma Québécois, the critically acclaimed film won the Pierre and Yolande Perrault Award.
- Danic followed up with Big Gazelle (2004), about Canadian sprinter Nicolas Macrozonaris; Caporal Mark (2006), on landmine clearing in Bosnia; Cardinal Cowboy (2007), a vivid and humorous portrait of Quebec City’s controversial former archbishop, Marc Ouellet; La couleur du temps (2008), which tackled social tensions in Montreal North; and Baklava Blues (2009), on Montreal’s and Toronto’s Canadian-Lebanese communities. All these documentaries drew attention to his work and picked up a variety of awards.
- Delving into the world of animation, in 2011 he made Mom and Me, exploring his childhood fascination with the Hells Angels.
- The director then completely shifted gears with Sessions (2012), produced by the NFB, in which he took a direct cinema approach to crafting a sensitive and compassionate look at the lives of several patients at the oncology centre in Cowansville, Quebec.
- That same year he was named an NFB Filmmaker-in-Residence, a program that honours the accomplishments of a seasoned creator who always places people at the centre of his work, and ventured into experimental cinema, devoting two years to Self(less) Portrait (2014).
- Between 2015 and 2018, he divided his time between film (Ça fait 20 ans, Cris sur le bayou, A Centre-Sud Tale) and television (multiple projects including Arbitres, Mal élevés and Mon amour, ma prison).
- The NFB-co-produced Daughter of the Crater, which he co-directed in 2019 with Nadine Beaudet, was a particularly important project to him. Exploring the life of Yolande Simard Perrault, the creative and life partner of legendary documentary director Pierre Perrault, the film paints a portrait of an extraordinary woman, while affording Champoux the opportunity to pay tribute to the man who once nurtured his desire to become a filmmaker, and remained a huge inspiration.
- His most recent work, CHSLD, mon amour (2020), shot before the pandemic, examines the critical role of long-term care centres. The film earned a Gémeaux nomination in 2021.
- The films Danic Champoux made with the NFB can be viewed here.
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French version here | Version française ici.
About the NFB
The NFB is Canada’s public producer and distributor of award-winning documentaries, auteur animation, interactive stories and participatory experiences, working with talented creators across the country. The NFB is taking action to combat systemic racism and become a more open and diverse organization, while working to strengthen Indigenous-led production and gender equity in film and digital media. NFB productions have won more than 7,000 awards, including 12 Oscars. To access this unique content, visit NFB.ca.