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The NFB at the Berlin International Film Festival Jean-François Caissy’s feature documentary First Stripes to have its world premiere at Berlin in the Forum section.


January 18, 2018 – Montreal – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

Director Jean-François Caissy returns to the prestigious Berlin International Film Festival for the third time with the feature documentary First Stripes (Premières armes), which will be having its world premiere in the festival’s Forum sectionFirst Stripes follows his documentaries Journey’s End (2009) and Guidelines (2014), both of which screened at the Berlinale, while the latter film was also produced by the NFB. The earlier films dealt with old age and adolescence respectively, and his latest work provides a rare look at the beginning of adulthood—that period when individuals must begin to build their future and make important choices, including deciding on a career. The 68th edition of the Berlin International Film Festival runs from February 15 to 25, 2018.

First Stripes (Premières armes) – Forum Section – World Premiere (106 min)

Produced at the NFB by Johanne Bergeron, with executive producer Colette Loumède

As they undergo 12 weeks of intensive training, young civilians are gradually moulded into Canadian Armed Forces soldiers. This disparate cohort of men and women with little experience in the ways of military life must adapt to a world governed by its own rules and values. In an austere environment where discipline reigns supreme, the recruits submit to learning the ropes with mixed feelings of apprehension and enthusiasm. They understand that, from now on, the group takes precedence over the individual, and country comes before self. For this third opus in a series that candidly explores the different stages of life, Jean-François Caissy provides a fascinating glimpse into this career choice and the beginning of adulthood.

About Jean-François Caissy

Born on Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula, Jean-François Caissy is an independent artist who works in cinema and other visual arts. He first gained attention in 2005 for his debut feature-length documentary, Mating Season, which is about hunting. His next film, Journey’s End, shot in a senior citizens’ residence and released in 2009, won him recognition at the Berlin International Film Festival. In addition to being selected to screen at several festivals (including the BFI London Film Festival, the Visions du Réel festival in Switzerland and the Hot Docs festival in Toronto), the film received the award for best documentary at FICFA (the international francophone film festival in New Brunswick) and was nominated for Jutra and Genie awards in the best documentary category. In 2014, Caissy directed Guidelines, his third feature film and his first collaboration with the National Film Board, depicting the daily lives of teenagers at a rural high school. The film screened at the 64th Berlinale and enjoyed success with both critics and audiences. Adept at capturing microcosms of society and observing rituals, Caissy has just completed First Stripes, a new NFB documentary about the lives of young recruits in the Canadian Forces.


Related Products

Electronic Press Kit | Images, trailers, synopsis: First Stripes

Associated Links

Berlin International Film Festival
Forum section

Media Relations

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

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

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    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.