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Maurice Bulbulian

Director, Screenwriter, Editor
(b. June 22, 1938 Montreal, Quebec)

Maurice Bulbulian played a key role in the development of the direct-cinema social documentary in Quebec. His work, often didactic in intent, has been consistently committed to what he has called the “democracy of communications.” Janis L. Pallister, writing in The Cinéma of Quebec, remarked that Bulbulian’s films “make cutting criticisms of social and economic inequalities, of political brutality and of man’s violence to man.”

Bulbulian originally worked for the National Research Council and taught for a number of years before joining the National Film Board to make instructional films and a series on physics. His first six documentaries were made for the Challenge for Change programme, and he is known for involving his subjects directly in the creative process, particularly on La P’tite Bourgogne (1969) – co-directed with Bonnie Sherr Klein – which remains an important work in the cinema of social action.

From Dans nos forêts (1971), Richesse des autres (1973), Ameshkuatan (1978) and Debout sur leur terre (1982) through to The Salt Water People (1993) and Chroniques de Nitinaht (1997), Bulbulian has depicted many diverse people, from Quebec to Latin America, trying to retain or gain control of their lives. As he once explained: “No matter who the people are, the expression of their problems, as they themselves see them, has as much right to be shown on the CBC or in any theatre as does Sam Peckinpah’s latest film.”

He received the M. Joan Chalmers Documentarian Award for Film and Video in 1999.

Film and video work includes

Un lendemain comme hier, 1970 (director)
En ce jour mémorable, 1971 (director)
La Revanche, 1974 (director; editor)
Salvador Allende Gossens: un témoignage, 1974 (director)
Les Gars du tabac, 1977 (director; editor)
Tierra y libertad, 1978 (director; editor)
Les Délaissés, 1978 (director)
Ameshkuatan - Les sorties du castor, 1978 (director)
Long Shot, 1980 (actor)
Cissin... 5 ans plus tard, 1982 (director)
Debout sur leur terre, 1982 (director)
Sur nos propres forces, 1985 (director)
L'Art de tourner en rond 1e partie, 1987 (director; editor)
L'Art de tourner en rond 2e partie, 1988 (director; editor)
L'Indien et la mer, 1992 (director; writer; editor)
Chroniques de Nitinaht, 1997 (director)

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