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Jacques Bobet

Jacques Bobetb. June 29, 1919, Saumur, France; d. March 7, 1996, Montreal, Quebec

Though Jacques Bobets 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 Qubcois 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 Whos 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 NFBs world-renowned animation department and continued, even after his retirement, to assist and encourage young Canadian filmmakers.

Bobet studied philosophy and literature at lcole Normale Suprieure de Paris and obtained an advanced piano diploma from lcole 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 Masters 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 Groulxs Le Chat dans la sac (1964), Jean-Claude Labrecques 60 cycles (1964), Gilles Carles La Vie heureuese de Leopold Z (1965), and Pierre Perraults le-aux-Coudres trilogy Pour la suite du monde (1964), Le RPgne de jour (1967) and Les Voitures deau (1969).

Bobet prided himself in "doing all those little things that you dont 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. Bobets 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-Andr Forcier on the day he died at age seventy-six.

By Andrew McIntosh

Film and video work includes

Discutons-le avec le CMP, 1947 (co-producer with Fred Lasse)
Histoire dun violon, 1947 (producer)
Saguenay, 1948 (co-writer with Roger Blais, Robert Lafrance, Tommy Tweed)
Double Hritage, 1948 (co-writer with Tim Wilson)
Destination: Gaspsie, 1949 (producer)
Chansons croles, 1951 (producer)
Ottawa, Today and Tomorrow, 1951 (co-editor with Betty Brunke)
Une msure pour rien, 1952 (writer)
Une msure pour rien (rvision), 1952 (co-writer with Max Ferguson)
Le Voleur de rLves, 1953 (co-writer with Norman Klenman)
Pour ou contre les trangers, 1955 (director; writer)
Chantons maintenant, 1956 (writer)
Un pays dAmrique, 1956 (co-director with Thomas Farley)
Archipel arctique, 1958 (co-producer with Hugh OConnor)
La Battaison, 1959 (executive producer)
Il faut quune bibliothPque soit ouverte ou ferme, 1959 (producer)
La France sur un caillou, 1960 (producer)
Le Tir au fusil, 1960 (producer)
Les Femmes parmi nous, 1961 (director, producer)
Dimanche dAmrique, 1961 (producer)
La Lutte, 1961 (producer)
Patinoire, 1962 (producer)
30 Minutes, Mister Plummer, 1963 (producer)
Natation, 1963 (producer)
Nomades de louest, 1963 (producer)
Un jeu si simple, 1963 (producer)
Corps agiles, 1964 (producer)
Bonsoir, Monsieur Champagne, 1964 (producer)
Pour la suite du monde, 1964 (co-producer with Fernand Dansereau)
Le Chat dans le sac, 1964 (producer)
Escale des oies sauvages, 1964, (producer)
La Fin des ts, 1964 (producer)
A la recherche de linnocence, 1964 (co-producer with Victor Jobin)
ParallPles et grand soleil - DeuxiPme parti, 1964 (producer)
Patte mouille, 1964 (producer)
Perc on the Rocks, 1964 (producer)
Solange dans nos campagnes, 1964 (producer)
60 cycles, 1965 (associate director; producer)
Images dun concours, 1965 (producer)
La Bourse et la vie, 1965 (producer)
Fabienne sans son Jules, 1964 (co-producer with Andr Belleau)
Sire le Roy na plus rien dit, 1965 (producer)
Les Ludions, 1965 (producer)
La Vie heureuse de Lopold Z, 1965 (executive producer)
En fvrier, 1966 (producer)
Dimensions, 1966 (producer)
IntermPde, 1966 (producer)
Prcision, 1966 (producer)
Le RPgne du jour, 1966 (co-producer with Guy L. Cote)
Volleyball, 1966 (producer)
En octobre, 1967 (director)
Un enfant... Un pays, 1967 (co-producer with Ren Jodoin; writer)
Jeux de Qubec 1967, 1967 (director, producer)
9 minutes, 1967 (co-director with Thomas Vmos; producer)
Parcs atlantiques, 1967 (co-producer with Andr Belleau)
tude en 21 points, 1968 (director)
Le Beau Plaisir, 1968 (co-producer with Guy L. Cot)
Les Voitures deau, 1968 (co-producer with Guy L. Cot)
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 Par)
Branch et branch, 1974 (producer)
Cest pas chinois, 1974 (producer)
"Les Oreilles" mPne lenquetL, 1974 (producer)
Pris au collet, 1974 (co-writer with Ramond Garceau)
Les Tacots, 1974 (producer)
Les Avironneuses, 1975 (producer)
Cher Tho, 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 cur, Chronique de la vie quotidienne series, 1977 (producer)
Jeudi A cheval sur largent, Chronique de la vie quotidienne series, 1977 (producer)
Dimanche Granit, Chronique de la vie quotidienne series, 1977 (producer)
...26 fois de suite!, 1978 (producer)
Lge 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 pisodes dans la vie dHubert Aquin, 1979 (producer)
Les Enfants des normes series (eight episodes), 1979 (co-producer with Jacques Gagn)
Feu lobjectivit, 1979 (producer)
Going the Distance, 1979 (co-producer with Robert Verrall)
Le Grand Hron, 1979 (producer)
Le Jour du Rfrendum 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)
LEnfant fragile, 1980 (co-producer with Jacques Gagn)
John Raftery Amateur Boxer, 1980 (co-producer with Peter Katadotis)
La Nuit de la posie 28 mars 1980, 1980 (producer)
Monica Goermann, Gymnast, 1980 (co-producer with Peter Katadotis)
Le Pays de la terre sans arbre ou le Mouchounipi, 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)
Albdo, 1982 (producer)
La BLte lumineuse, 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 dOvide Plouffe, 1984 (co-producer with Gabriel Boustiani, Denis Hroux, John Kemeny)
Mario, 1984 (co-producer with HlPne Verrier, Jean Beaudin)
Les Enfants des normes Post-Scriptum, 1983 (producer)
La Grenouille et la baleine, 1988 (co-writer with Andre Melanon)

Note: Updated to April 5, 2004.

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