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Journaliste Front

October 3, 2016 – Montreal – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

The NFB-produced Freelancer on the Front Lines (Un journaliste au front) by Santiago Bertolino (Red Square on a Blackboard, 2013, co-directed with Hugo Samson) will have its world premiere as the closing film of the Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM), taking place November 10 to 20, 2016. The feature documentary tracks Canadian reporter Jesse Rosenfeld through Egypt, Israel, Palestine and Iraq, exploring the complex world of a freelance journalist working in various warzones, while stressing the importance of independent and critical reporting in an ever-shifting media landscape.

About the film

Produced at the NFB by Nathalie Cloutier and Denis McCready with executive producer Colette Loumède.

A freelance reporter from Toronto who studied political science at McGill University, Jesse Rosenfeld has made the Middle East the focus of his work. Freelancer on the Front Lines follows his journey, presents a complex regional reality shaped by historical events, and explores how journalism practices have changed in the age of the Internet. Whether covering the dashed hopes of the Egyptian revolution, the upheavals in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the reality of refugee camps in Turkey, or the progress of Kurdish fighters against the armed militants of the Islamic State group in Iraq, the man is on a mission to share the issues on the ground with his readers. But to make headlines, he must set himself apart from traditional mass media and take a stand. With the thrilling pace of an action film, the documentary captures the ups and downs of a new and unconventional kind of journalism.

About the filmmaker

  • Santiago Bertolino is an independent director-screenwriter and web video journalist. A committed filmmaker inspired by Direct Cinema, he trains his keen eye on social and political struggles that underline major issues in today’s world.
  • In his first few films, Les illusions du libre-échange, co-directed with Sylvain Bédard (2001), La crise du café (2002) and Nuevo Horizonte (2005), he began questioning mass media and the images it produces. How Quebec society is evolving is another key interest, as shown by several of his web projects (Actualité citoyenne and Trucs et astuces de la vidéo citoyenne).
  • In 2013, Bertolino teamed up with Hugo Samson to direct Red Square on a Blackboard, a documentary on the “maple spring,” the student demos of 2012 supporting free tuition in Quebec. The film won two Gémeaux awards in 2014 (best social documentary and best documentary script).
  • In 2014, he co-wrote Pipelines, Power and Democracy with the film’s director, Olivier D. Asselin.
  • Bertolino is a global citizen with a keen interest in conflicts in the Middle East (La marche pour la libération de Gaza ou le tourbillon égyptien and Seules, les pierres n’arrêteront pas l’occupation, co-directed with Steve Patry).


Associated Links

Montreal International Documentary Festival

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Media Relations

  • Nadine Viau
    NFB Publicist – Montreal
    C.: 514-458-9745

  • Lily Robert
    Director, Communications and Public Affairs, NFB
    C.: 514-296-8261

  • 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.