A drawing of a young boy with an oversized head, a character from BLA BLA, an interactive website produced by Vincent Morisset in 2011.

Press Releases & Media Kits

National Film Board of Canada marks the passing of Magnus Isacsson

Press release


Montreal, August 3, 2012 – The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) expressed its sadness today over the passing of dear friend and long-time Quebec documentary film champion Magnus Isacsson. 

Magnus devoted himself to exploring vital social and political issues through powerful documentary films, working independently and with the NFB. He was also a university educator and a pioneer in community media, teaching audiovisual production in Zimbabwe and South Africa on behalf of Vidéo Tiers Monde. A former co-chair of the Documentary Organization of Canada (DOC) and vice-president of the Observatoire du documentaire, Magnus received the 2004 Prix Lumières from the Quebec directors’ association (ARRQ), which also named him as a member Emeritus earlier this year.

“Magnus’s death is a great loss to the entire Quebec documentary film community,” said Tom Perlmutter, NFB Chairperson and Government Film Commissioner. “Magnus was so dedicated, so passionate about what he did. His greatest wish would be for us to continue his legacy in socially relevant documentary filmmaking and his commitment to social justice.” 

Dedicated and prolific, Magnus continued to work throughout his illness. Through enormous effort and devotion, Magnus was successful in completing his film Ma vie réelle, about troubled youths in Montreal North, prior to his death. Produced by Jeannine Gagné for Amazone Film, Ma vie réelle will premiere this coming fall. His latest film Granny Power, about an activist movement led by senior citizens and produced by Magnus’s wife and frequent collaborator Jocelyne Clarke, is still in production.

Over his 22-year career as a documentary film director, Magnus collaborated with the NFB on such acclaimed works as Uranium (1990), exploring the consequences of uranium mining in Canada (winner of a Golden Sheaf Award for Best Documentary); Power (Cineflix/NFB, 1996), documenting the five-year campaign by James Bay Cree against the Great Whale hydro megaproject (named best documentary at the Paris International Environmental Film Festival, and winner of the Grand Prize at the Lausanne festival in 1999); as well as View from the Summit (Les Productions Érézi/NFB, 2002), a multi-faceted look at the 2001 Summit of the Americas in Quebec City. His most recent NFB work was The Battle of Rabaska: Chronicle of an Environmental Conflict, co-directed with long-time friend Martin Duckworth, documenting a campaign by citizen activists against a methane tanker terminal in their community.

An accomplished filmmaker and tireless advocate of social justice, he will be missed by us all.

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Jennifer Mair, NFB Publicist
Telephone: 416-954-2045
Cell: 416-436-0105
E-mail: j.mair@nfb.ca 

Lily Robert, Director, Corporate Communications, NFB
Telephone: 514-283-3838
Cell: 514-296-8261
E-mail: l.robert@nfb.ca