(Expo 67 Live model. Photo: © Angel Carpio/NFB)
September 6, 2017 – Montreal – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)
Dive into the heart of Expo 67 and experience it as if you were really there! The National Film Board of Canada is launching Expo 67 Live, a cinematic storytelling experience created entirely with archival treasures from around the world. This epic experience, which features 52-foot-high images and spatial audio, will be projected onto several surfaces, including the exterior walls of Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier and the Maison Symphonique. This journey through the greatest moments of Expo 67 is presented in collaboration with Radio-Canada and Place des Arts, and is part of the official programming lineup for the 375th anniversary of Montreal. The project was conceived and directed by Karine Lanoie-Brien and produced at the NFB by executive producer René Chénier to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Montreal World’s Fair. In addition to the director and producer, Expo 67 Live ambassador Louise Latraverse will be available to give interviews about her memories of Expo 67 and the vibrant era that produced it. Expo 67 Live will be presented free of charge from September 18 to 30, beginning at 7:30 p.m. every evening.
A cutting-edge work
Created in the same forward-looking spirit that brought the world multi-screen audiovisual experiences like In the Labyrinth (the precursor to IMAX technology that screened at the Montreal World’s Fair), Expo 67 Live is an innovative, auteur-driven work that uses today’s technology to evoke memories and provoke reflection among Montrealers, Quebecers, and Canadians. Several different projectors will simultaneously project images onto giant screens placed on walls surrounding the Place des Arts Esplanade, creating an extraordinary cinematic space. Screens integrated into five cubes in the middle of the site display the narrative thread of the story, while the monumental projections that surround them offer historical context. The experience is rounded out with spatial audio made up of voices and music from the era that can be enjoyed without any special equipment. Through a 27-minute-long story, viewers will discover specific locations from Expo 67, relive the ambience of the day, and experience the atmosphere at some of the World’s Fair pavilions through images that are at times projected to the same scale as the original buildings.
Fifty years ago, while the world was rocked by major events including the Cold War, the Vietnam War, the Space Race, the end of segregation in the US and the emergence of new roles for women, Expo 67 embodied a vision of hope for a humanist future in which everything was possible. In 1967, Montreal was on a mission to get to know the world—and the world came to discover Montreal. Can we draw parallels to today? Expo 67 Live aims to reach out to those who lived through Expo, but also to later generations who have heard of the World’s Fair but never had the chance to experience it. Through this innovative work, Karine Lanoie-Brien shares memories of this essential collective moment which, despite the sense of disenchantment widely felt today, still has the power to inspire an ever-present hope for a better world, for all generations.
“In honour of the 50th anniversary of Expo 67, I wanted to offer people the opportunity to relive some of the special moments of this incredible gathering. My hope was that Expo 67 Live would engage our bodies in a narrative, just as Expo 67 itself engaged our bodies in meeting the unknown. So I wanted to make sure that this film/experience was as realistic as possible, by using modern tools to provide an authentic encounter with a vibrant past that has strong parallels with the present.” – Karine Lanoie-Brien, creator and director of Expo 67 Live
“Back in 2014, I started to think about celebrating the 50th anniversary of Expo 67 in the great tradition of innovation that has marked the history of the NFB. That intention was sustained through the avant-garde vision and multi-faceted talent of Karine Lanoie-Brien. Producing her concept—outdoor projections on massive screens that captured the excitement felt by visitors to the Montreal Universal Exposition—meant bringing together the varied know-how of many artists and experts, in order to produce this absolutely unique, site-specific experience. In the spirit of the NFB, this was a major step forward in the evolution of the art of storytelling—a first in the annals of public film events.” – René Chénier, NFB producer for Expo 67 Live
Locations and music
Over 27 minutes that cover a span of five years—from 1962-1967—audiences will witness events such as the construction of the Quebec and US pavilions as well as Habitat 67. They can move through the Expo 67 site to discover or rediscover various pavilions, including those of Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago/Grenada, and the Man and Life pavilion, as well as going into the control room, participating in the opening ceremonies at Place des Nations and taking a tour on the Expo Express. And then there’s the music: from songs that inspired “the Twist” and go-go dancing to the roots of the “peace-and-love” sound, the soundtrack includes nearly two dozen songs. Among them: “The Happening” (The Supremes), “Wild Thing” (The Troggs), “Un Canadien errant” (sung by none other than Nana Mouskouri), “The Clapping Song” (Shirley Ellis) and two contemporary compositions created specifically for Expo 67: “Polytope de Montréal” (Iannis Xenakis, French pavilion) and “Centre-élan” (Gilles Tremblay, Quebec pavilion), written at a time when the world was discovering electronic music. This immersive score will envelop visitors in the sounds of a fascinating and creative era thanks to the spatial audio environment created by Jean-Michel Caron.
An enormous challenge
The projected images and soundtrack are the result of hundreds of hours of research by Karine Lanoie-Brien—who came up with the concept for Expo 67 Live—and her team. For source material, Lanoie-Brien turned to a remarkable number of black-and-white and colour films, both 16mm and 35mm, from the archives at the NFB, Radio-Canada, the Institut national de l’audiovisuel, and Pathé, along with other public and private collections around the world. She painstakingly screened and studied them, determining exactly where they were shot. The footage was then digitized at high resolution, one image at a time, primarily by the NFB team. In order to fully realize Lanoie-Brien’s vision, the NFB also called on the expertise of Couleur.tv, a company headed by Francis Gélinas, artistic director of images for Expo 67 Live.
Eyewitnesses and collective memory
The stories of several people who personally experienced the Montreal World’s Fair also guided the development of Expo 67 Live. Among those who contributed valuable stories, Roger La Roche stands out. An Expo expert who was 13 in 1967, he worked in close collaboration with Lanoie-Brien as principal adviser in order to faithfully transmit the character and personality of the event in a way that makes contemporary spectators want to experience it.
At each screening of Expo 67 Live, audience members can get a stamp in their Expo 67 50th-anniversary passport, which features a variety of events and cultural programs. For more information, please visit http://passeport.375mtl.com/.
Expo 67 Live fast facts
435 linear feet of screens
43 audio speakers
More than 1,000 archival images from 1967
Five storeys high (52 feet)
A team of more than 100 people supporting the bold creative vision of Karine Lanoie-Brien
Onsite installations created under the direction of Benoît Lemieux of Creos Experts-Conseils inc.
Expo 67 Live is a production of the National Film Board of Canada in collaboration with the Société Radio-Canada and Place des Arts, as part of the official programming of the 375th anniversary of Montréal.
Conceived, written and directed by: Karine Lanoie-Brien | Producer: René Chénier
- The NFB is also offering free online programming marking the 50th anniversary of Expo 67 at nfb.ca/expo67—including the essential Impressions of Expo 67 and the legendary In the Labyrinth.
- The Expo 67 Live website has many more photos and lots of additional information about Expo and the project: www.nfb.ca/expo67live.
- Keep up to date through the NFB’s social media and by following the hashtag #Expo67Live:
About Karine Lanoie-Brien
Karine Lanoie-Brien, alias “K,” is a multidisciplinary creator who has worked in the fields of communication and visual arts since 1997. After cutting her teeth in television as a researcher and animator, she began to conceptualize, art direct and direct works that focused on the relationships between humans and their natural and cultural environments. This led to a number of projects, including the benefit gala Le soir de la Terre at Défi pour la Terre, le show! (2007); the Mode Réc’Up fashion show (2007); the exhibit 1000 jours pour la planète / Camp de base (special multi-disciplinary award at the 2012 Grands Prix du design 2012); and the documentary Reeves, Suzuki et nous (2014), which features a virtual conversation between two legendary environmentalists. Expo 67 Live is the first project she has directed at the NFB.
About the NFB
The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) produces groundbreaking animation at its studios in Montreal and at NFB centres across Canada, as well as via international co-productions with many of the world’s leading auteur animators. The NFB is a leader in developing new approaches to stereoscopic 3D animation and animated content for new platforms. The NFB has created over 13,000 productions and won over 5,000 awards, with NFB animation accounting for 7 of the NFB’s 12 Oscars, as well as 6 grand prizes at France’s Annecy International Animated Film Festival, 4 Palmes d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and 2 Golden Bears at Berlinale. To access acclaimed NFB animation, visit NFB.ca or download our apps for mobile devices.
About Place des Arts
The objectives of the Société de la Place des Arts de Montréal are to operate a business for the diffusion of the performing arts, to administer the Place des Arts de Montréal and the Amphithéâtre Fernand-Lindsay in Joliette, and to establish the arts programming at the Maison Symphonique for organizations other than the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal. These activities are to be conducted, more specifically, so as to provide a residence for major arts organizations and improve access to the various types of performing arts, and promote arts and culture in Québec. The Société produces, co-produces, and hosts artistic works originating in Quebec or abroad, featuring both emerging artists and international stars, in collaboration with arts organizations, producers, creators, and the entire cultural community.
About the Society for the Celebrations of Montréal’s 375th Anniversary
The Society for the Celebrations of Montréal’s 375th Anniversary is a non-profit organization whose mission is to organize the festivities and socioeconomic initiatives that will mark Montreal’s 375th birthday in 2017. With a focus on promoting Montreal expertise, it acts as a catalyst for initiatives that come together to fulfill its mandate: to mobilize the community, implement a funding strategy, manage financial resources wisely, develop an exceptional program of events and promote the festivities.
The Society receives financial support from the Ville de Montréal, the Canadian government and the Quebec government, as well as private funding from 12 extraordinary Montrealers. For more information: 375mtl.com.
Electronic Press Kit | Images, trailers, synopsis: Expo 67 Live
Place des Arts
Society for the Celebrations of Montréal’s 375th Anniversary
Creos Experts-Conseils inc
NFB – Expo 67: 50 years later