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First Stripes

Jean-François Caissy
2018 | 106 min

Selections and Awards

  • Official SelectionBerlinale 2018

  • Official SelectionHot Docs 2018

  • Official SelectionEdinburgh International Film Festival 2018

  • Official SelectionFestival international du film de La Rochelle 2018

  • Official SelectionCamden International Film Festival 2018

  • Official SelectionFestival international du film francophone de Namur 2018

  • Official SelectionRIDM 2018

Brief Descriptions

Detailed Description

Director’s Statement

Promotional Materials


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Jean-François Caissy

Jean-François Caissy

Jean-François Caissy was born in the town of Carleton-sur-Mer, located on the shores of the St. Lawrence River on Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula, a place whose vast horizons can help to expand one’s perspective and view of the world. These vast horizons have made Caissy an independent artist, active in filmmaking as well as other visual arts. In 2005, he released his first feature-length documentary, La saison des amours, about two families who reunite every fall to go hunting. The film was well received by critics, and in 2009 it was followed by La belle visite, which Caissy directed as an artist-in-residence at Les Films de l’Autre, a centre for independent filmmakers in Montreal. An internationally-acclaimed look at life in a senior citizens’ residence in an abandoned motel on the St. Lawrence, the film had its world premiere at the 60th Berlin International Film Festival, won 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. It was also selected to screen at several prestigious film festivals, including the BFI London Film Festival, the Visions du Réel festival in Switzerland and the Hot Docs festival in Toronto.

A photographer by training, Caissy continued to work in the visual arts while making films, and he has exhibited his work in several galleries. Early on, he put his talents as a videographer to use in the theatre. In 2006 and 2007, he developed videos for the stagings of Under Construction and Nager en surface, two theatrical productions presented at Espace Go in Montreal. In 2011, his video installation Derby was shown at the Centre Clark and Galerie F in Montreal. Caissy has also given lectures about his artistic practice at the Université du Québec à Montréal (“Stratégie de communication,” 2011) and at the Institut national de l’image et du son (“Filmer le réel,” 2010). For nearly 10 years, he has been an active member of the gallery Espace F, as well as of the Vaste et Vague artists’ centre in his native Carleton-sur-Mer.

Caissy returned to filmmaking in 2014 with his third feature doc and first National Film Board collaboration, La marche à suivre (Guidelines), a meditation on adolescence composed of a series of long takes chronicling the lives of teenagers at a rural high school. The film was screened at the 64th Berlinale and enjoyed lively success with both critics and audiences. In 2016, pursuing his interest in the various formative stages that mark the lives of individuals, Caissy began shooting Premières armes, immersing himself in the lives of young recruits in the Canadian Forces. This exploration of a little-known world represents yet another milestone in an exemplary artistic career founded on the ability to carefully observe different microcosms of society. Premières armes is an NFB production.

Johanne Bergeron
Photo : Michel La Veaux

Johanne Bergeron

Following her university studies in communication and film, Johanne Bergeron embarked on a career in the private sector. During a successful stint at Vent d’Est Films from 1992 to 1999, she produced such films as La République des Beaux-Arts – La Malédiction de la momie / The Republic of Fine Arts – The Curse of the Mummy (1998) by Claude Laflamme and Les survivants de l’apocalypse (1998) by the late Richard Boutet.

In 1999, she joined the National Film Board of Canada’s French Program as a line producer, working in close collaboration with producers Nicole Lamothe and Yves Bisaillon. She was subsequently put in charge of national and international co-productions and was appointed to the position of producer in 2007. In 2009, she joined the Quebec Studio where she continues to develop documentary film projects. Over the years, she has produced a number of films, including Junior (I. Lavigne and S. Thibault, 2007; Best Canadian Feature Documentary award, Hot Docs), Shots in the Dark (L. Moreco, 2008), The Battle of Rabaska (M. Duckworth and M. Isacsson, 2009), The Coca-Cola Case (G. Gutierrez and C. Garcia, 2009), They Think I’m Chinese! (N. Giguère, 2011) and, more recently, Triptych (R. Lepage and P. Pires, 2013) and Guidelines (J.-F. Caissy, 2014), which has been screened the world over, from Berlin to New York.

For the 75th anniversary of the NFB, Bergeron produced the content for the Making Movie History: A Portrait in 61 Parts website (D. Desjardins and J. Robertson), which went online in 2014, as well as The Red Path by Thérèse Ottawa, the first film resulting from the Tremplin NIKANIK competition.

Since 2008, Bergeron has also been responsible for the ACIC (Aide au cinéma indépendant – Canada) Unit, which provides support to many filmmakers year after year, enabling them to complete their films. They Dance at Night (I. Lavigne and S. Thibault, 2012), The Sower (J. Perron, 2014) and The Work of Days (B. Baillargeon, 2014) are eloquent examples that have been acclaimed at festivals.

In addition to serving on the board of the Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM) from 2002 to 2006, Bergeron expanded the partnership between the NFB and the René-Malo Chair at UQAM through the creation of a competition for most promising documentary filmmaker in 2010. In 2014, she brought the NFB, SODEC and the Conseil des arts de Montréal together to launch the Regard sur Montréal residency for culturally diverse emerging filmmakers.

Colette Loumède
Executive Producer
Photo : NFB

Colette Loumède

Colette Loumède oversees the French Program’s Documentary Studio at the National Film Board of Canada. She has produced or co-produced some 50 documentaries, most of which have won prestigious awards and screened at major festivals such as Hot Docs, IDFA, TIFF, Sundance, Visions du réel and Rotterdam. She has always sought out
emerging as well as established talents, resulting in a range of social-issue documentaries with different narrative approaches, from geopolitical investigations to explorations of complex personal experiences.

Colette constantly redefines the limits of possibility in filmmaking and in creative research through her deep commitment to sharing an artist’s vision and making  documentary a universal platform for visual storytelling.

For many years, Colette worked as a documentary project analyst for SODEC, Quebec’s public film funding agency.  She also founded and directed the Documentary Program at the Institut national de l’image et du son de Montréal, the first professional film school in Quebec. During her time with the institution, she drew on her extensive experience as a producer to share her passion and vision for auteur documentary with many aspiring filmmakers and producers.

Today, Colette is more involved than ever in new NFB productions, exploring fresh ideas alongside new talents and working with experienced creators, all in an effort to produce works for audiences around the world to discover.



Researched, Written and Directed by
Jean-François Caissy

Nicolas Canniccioni

Mathieu Bouchard-Malo

Sound Editing
Frédéric Cloutier

Additional Camera and Sound Recording
Jean-François Caissy

Additional Sound Recording
Frédéric Cloutier

Ronin Operator
Guillaume Shea-Blais

Production Assistants
Nicolas Gouin
Victor Saliba

Online Editor
Yannick Carrier

Zoé Major

Graphic Design and Titles
Mélanie Bouchard

Alexis Farand

Foley Recording
Geoffrey Mitchell

Jean Paul Vialard

Music Research and Additional Editing
Jean-François Caissy

Research and Rights Clearance
Claire Bourbonnais

Marketing Manager
Judith Lessard-Bérubé

Marketing Coordinator
Jolène Lessard

Business Affairs
Dominique Aubry

Sia Koukoulas

Production Coordinators
Gabrielle Dupont
Isabelle Limoges
Chinda Phommarinh
Hélène Regimbal

Administrative Assistant
Pascale Savoie-Brideau

Technical Coordinator
Mira Mailhot

Digital Editing Technician
Pierre Dupont
Isabelle Painchaud
Patrick Trahan

Johanne Bergeron

Executive Producer
Colette Loumède

A National Film Board of Canada Production

Press Relations

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

  • 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.