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 remembers former Government Film Commissioner Jacques Bensimon

Press release


Montreal, August 26, 2012 – The National Film Board of Canada honours the memory of Jacques Bensimon, former NFB Government Film Commissioner, director, producer and scriptwriter, who passed away today at the age of 69.

Jacques Bensimon was Government Film Commissioner and Chairperson of the NFB from 2001–2006 and was President of Adajove Communications.

“Jacques was my mentor, my colleague and my friend,” said Tom Perlmutter, current Government Film Commissioner and Chairperson of the NFB. “He was passionate, intense and wholeheartedly devoted to filmmakers and filmmaking. He came back to the NFB as its head out of a sense of obligation to an institution that he felt was absolutely vital for the future of filmmaking in Canada. He told me that the NFB had been there for him as a young, immigrant filmmaker from Morocco. It allowed him to create works exploring his Moroccan roots—works that are now a vital part of our heritage which could not have been made anywhere but at the NFB. He wanted to make sure that same opportunity was there for new creators and new forms of creation. Under his leadership he pushed the NFB to change and modernize. It was not an easy task, but his work laid the foundations for a new, emergent NFB that opened its doors to a new generation of talent and innovation. This is a grievous loss to the industry and to filmmakers.”

Previously, Mr. Bensimon was Executive Vice-President of the Banff Television Foundation. From 1986–2000 he was the Director General of TFO, the French arm of TVOntario, and it was under his management that the broadcaster was cited by the Government of Quebec for its exceptional contributions to the French-language community of North America. From 1967–1987 as an employee of the NFB, he worked on several productions as a producer, director, writer and editor. Among his duties, he was responsible for a film production unit in Africa on a project for the United Nations and the Canadian International Development Agency. From 1981–1986 he was Chair of the NFB's French programming committee as well as Director of International Programming.

In 2005, Jacques Bensimon received the Order of Canada for his body of work and contribution to film in this country. In 1998 he was named a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government, and received an Honorary Doctorate in Letters from York University in Toronto.

Born in Morocco, Jacques Bensimon was raised in Montreal and completed his film studies in New York City. Funeral services will be held in Montreal on Monday, August 27, at 2:00 p.m. at Paperman & Sons, 3888 Jean-Talon St. W. Burial is at the Baron de Hirsch Cemetery, 5015 de la Savane.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Segal Cancer Centre, c/o the Jewish General Hospital Foundation, 514-340-8251; the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada, 514-875-7745; or Nova Montreal, 514-866-6801.

The public can see several films by Jacques Bensimon online in the NFB.ca screening room.

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Source: National Film Board of Canada


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