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Jacques Bobet

Director, Producer, Screenwriter
(b. June 29, 1919 Saumur, France - d. March 7, 1996 Montreal, Quebec)

Though Jacques Bobet’s official credits during his thirty-seven-year career at the National Film Board list him as a writer, producer, director and executive producer, it is his nurturing role as a mentor to a generation of Québécois filmmakers that stands as perhaps his greatest legacy. The list of filmmakers taken under the wing of the passionate and incisive Bobet, a natural teacher with a gift for inspiring others, reads like a Who’s Who of French-language cinema in Canada: Gilles Carle, Gilles Groulx, Denys Arcand, Claude Jutra, Jean-Claude Labrecque, Anne Claire Poirier, Arthur Lamothe and Jacques Godbout, to name only a few. Bobet was also integral in establishing the NFB’s world-renowned animation department and continued, even after his retirement, to assist and encourage young Canadian filmmakers.

Bobet studied philosophy and literature at l’École Normale Supérieure de Paris and obtained an advanced piano diploma from l’École Marguerite Long in France, becoming a classical musician of some distinction. He taught literature and philosophy for several years before going to New York, where he completed a Master’s degree in audio-visual education at Columbia University.

He joined the NFB in 1947 as a writer and in 1951 was appointed producer of French versions, revisions and adaptations. Throughout the fifties, he was responsible for adapting more than five hundred films into French. He became executive producer of the new Version Unit in 1956 and, three years later, began producing original French-language films. When a separate French production unit was established in 1964, Bobet was named one of four executive producers. It was in this capacity that he oversaw the production of many of the most significant films made by Quebec filmmakers in the sixties: Gilles Groulx’s Le Chat dans la sac (1964), Jean-Claude Labrecque’s 60 cycles (1964), Gilles Carle’s La Vie heureuese de Leopold Z (1965), and Pierre Perrault’s Île-aux-Coudres trilogy – Pour la suite du monde (1964), Le RPgne de jour (1967) and Les Voitures d’eau (1969).

Bobet prided himself in "doing all those little things that you don’t see in bringing a movie to the screen," and had a reputation for making enlightened choices regarding subjects, creative staff and the general directions given to productions. He was named head of French production in 1968, returned to active production in 1970, then produced many feature documentaries, often working with the likes of Godbout, Arcand, Jean Dansereau, Poirier, Georges Dufaux, Jean Beaudin and Marcel CarriPre. Bobet’s filmography, in addition to his vast contribution as a versions producer, would ultimately include 233 titles as a producer and 12 as a director.

A noted sports enthusiast and competitor, Bobet, ever the visionary, made further contributions to Canadian culture by transforming his fondness for table tennis into a diplomatic bridge between nations and cultures. Two years before China officially opened its doors to the United States government, Bobet devised the notion of ping pong diplomacy; in 1970, he and the Canadian table tennis team became the first sporting team to tour the communist country. His proudest achievement, and the clearest combination of all his various passions, would come when he produced the official film of the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal.

In 1982, he headed NFB/private industry co-productions; the following year, he became executive producer of Studio C (French-language feature productions). His vigorous and persistent defence of French in Canada often resulted in his being labelled a separatist, but his fierce patriotism was finally recognized in 1992 when he was named to the Order of Canada. Bobet retired from the NFB in 1984 and returned to teaching, but he was always available to young filmmakers in need of his insight and enthusiastic assistance – in fact, he was working on a script with director Marc-André Forcier on the day he died at age seventy-six.

Film and video work includes

Discutons-le avec le CMP, 1947 (co-producer with Fred Lasse)
Histoire d'un violon, 1947 (producer)
Saguenay, 1948 (co-writer with Roger Blais, Robert Lafrance, Tommy Tweed)
Double Héritage, 1948 (co-writer with Tim Wilson)
Destination: Gaspésie, 1949 (producer)
Chansons créoles, 1951 (producer)
Ottawa, Today and Tomorrow, 1951 (co-editor with Betty Brunke)
Une mésure pour rien, 1952 (writer)
Une mésure pour rien (révision), 1952 (co-writer with Max Ferguson)
Le Voleur de rLves, 1953 (co-writer with Norman Klenman)
Pour ou contre les étrangers, 1955 (director; writer)
Chantons maintenant, 1956 (writer)
Un pays d'Amérique, 1956 (co-director with Thomas Farley)
Archipel arctique, 1958 (co-producer with Hugh O'Connor)
La Battaison, 1959 (executive producer)
Il faut qu'une bibliothPque soit ouverte ou fermée, 1959 (producer)
La France sur un caillou, 1960 (producer)
Le Tir au fusil, 1960 (producer)
Les Femmes parmi nous, 1961 (director, producer)
Dimanche d'Amérique, 1961 (producer)
Patinoire, 1962 (producer)
30 Minutes, Mister Plummer, 1963 (producer)
Natation, 1963 (producer)
Nomades de l'ouest, 1963 (producer)
Un jeu si simple, 1963 (producer)
Corps agiles, 1964 (producer)
Bonsoir, Monsieur Champagne, 1964 (producer)
Escale des oies sauvages, 1964, (producer)
La Fin des étés, 1964 (producer)
A la recherche de l'innocence, 1964 (co-producer with Victor Jobin)
ParallPles et grand soleil - DeuxiPme parti, 1964 (producer)
Patte mouillée, 1964 (producer)
Percé on the Rocks, 1964 (producer)
Solange dans nos campagnes, 1964 (producer)
Images d'un concours, 1965 (producer)
La Bourse et la vie, 1965 (producer)
Fabienne sans son Jules, 1964 (co-producer with André Belleau)
Sire le Roy n'a plus rien dit, 1965 (producer)
Les Ludions, 1965 (producer)
En février, 1966 (producer)
Dimensions, 1966 (producer)
IntermPde, 1966 (producer)
Précision, 1966 (producer)
Volleyball, 1966 (producer)
En octobre, 1967 (director)
Un enfant... Un pays, 1967 (co-producer with René Jodoin; writer)
Jeux de Québec 1967, 1967 (director, producer)
9 minutes, 1967 (co-director with Thomas Vámos; producer)
Parcs atlantiques, 1967 (co-producer with André Belleau)
Étude en 21 points, 1968 (director)
Le Beau Plaisir, 1968 (co-producer with Guy L. Coté)
La Guerre des pianos, 1969 (co-producer with Paul Larose)
La DerniPre Neige, 1973 (producer)
Trois fois passera..., 1973 (producer)
Ousque tu vas de mLme?, 1973 (director)
Le Grand Voyage, 1974 (co-producer with Laurence Paré)
Branch et branch, 1974 (producer)
C'est pas chinois, 1974 (producer)
"Les Oreilles" mPne l'enquetL, 1974 (producer)
Pris au collet, 1974 (co-writer with Ramond Garceau)
Les Tacots, 1974 (producer)
Les Avironneuses, 1975 (producer)
Cher Théo, 1975 (executive producer)
Les "Troubbes" de Johnny, 1975 (producer)
Jeux de la XXIe Olympiade, 1976 (producer)
Samedi - Le Ventre de la nuit, Chronique de la vie quotidienne series, 1977 (producer)
Mercredi - Petits souliers, petit pain, Chronique de la vie quotidienne series, 1977 (producer)
Lundi - Une chaumiPre, un cour, Chronique de la vie quotidienne series, 1977 (producer)
Jeudi - A cheval sur l'argent, Chronique de la vie quotidienne series, 1977 (producer)
Dimanche - Granit, Chronique de la vie quotidienne series, 1977 (producer)
...26 fois de suite!, 1978 (producer)
L'Age de la machine, 1978 (co-producer with Roman Kroiter; co-writer with Gilles Carle)
Nelli Kim, 1978 (producer)
Vendredi - Les Chars, Chronique de la vie quotidienne series, 1978 (producer)
Mardi - Un jour anonyme, Chronique de la vie quotidienne series, 1978 (producer)
Deux épisodes dans la vie d'Hubert Aquin, 1979 (producer)
Les Enfants des normes series (eight episodes), 1979 (co-producer with Jacques Gagné)
Feu l'objectivité, 1979 (producer)
Le Grand Héron, 1979 (producer)
Le Jour du Référendum dans la vie de Richard Rohmer, 1979 (producer)
Le Journal de Madame Wollock, 1979 (producer)
Cyclisme: Le Dernier Sprint, 1980 (co-producer with Peter Katadotis)
Diving: No Place for Cowards, 1980 (co-producer with Peter Katadotis)
L'Enfant fragile, 1980 (co-producer with Jacques Gagné)
John Raftery Amateur Boxer, 1980 (co-producer with Peter Katadotis)
La Nuit de la poésie 28 mars 1980, 1980 (producer)
Monica Goermann, Gymnast, 1980 (co-producer with Peter Katadotis)
Le Pays de la terre sans arbre ou le Mouchouânipi, 1980 (co-producer with Paul Larose)
Saint-Jean-sur-ailleurs, 1980 (producer)
Fermont, P.Q., 1980 (producer)
Les Adeptes, 1981 (producer)
Chemin faisant, 1981 (co-producer with Michel Brault)
Distortions, 1981 (co-producer with Florian Sauvageau)
Les PiPges de la mer, 1981 (co-producer with Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Jean-Michel Cousteau)
Albédo, 1982 (producer)
Du grand large aux Grands Lacs, 1982 (executive producer)
Marie Uguay, 1982 (producer)
Un monologue Nord-Sud , 1982 (producer)
Au pays des glaces, 1982 (producer)
La Phonie furieuse, 1982 (producer)
Comme en Californie, 1983 (executive producer)
La Plante, 1983 (executive producer)
Le Crime d'Ovide Plouffe, 1984 (co-producer with Gabriel Boustiani, Denis Héroux, John Kemeny)
Mario, 1984 (co-producer with HélPne Verrier, Jean Beaudin)
Les Enfants des normes - Post-Scriptum, 1983 (producer)
La Grenouille et la baleine, 1988 (co-writer with Andre Melançon)