TORONTO, Ontario — Presented with the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, Jean-Daniel Lafond’s new documentary, Michaëlle Jean: A Woman of Purpose, will have a special, one-night-only screening in Toronto, next Friday, April 22, at 6:30 p.m., at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema.
In this InformAction production, co-produced by the National Film Board of Canada, in association with Majda Films International, the filmmaker captures the recent journey of Michaëlle Jean through Canadian society and diplomacy.
This personal and sensitive portrait takes us behind the scenes, revealing her growth as a stateswoman.
On September 27, 2005, Jean’s appointment as Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada was a historic moment. Not only was she the first Black and Haiti-born woman to occupy Canada’s highest office, she would also redefine the role through her desire to turn it into a space for civic engagement and her focus on cultural diplomacy.
As a woman actively involved in social issues and a citizen of the world, Jean quickly made her convictions clear—using the arts as a tool for social change, encouraging the voices of people in excluded and marginalized communities, defending the rights of women and Indigenous people, and bringing a message of hope to people in the 40 or so countries she visited during her mandate, and in regions as disparate as the Far North and Africa.
While in office, Jean was also deeply affected, personally, by the 2010 earthquake that ravaged Haiti—the land where she was born and has deep roots—during the last year of her term.
Taking a poetic, provocative, and thoughtful look at the destinies of individuals and peoples, director and writer Lafond, Jean’s husband, has made over 15 films, including Tropique Nord (TV5 award for best French-language documentary), Haïti dans tous nos rêves (best political film award, Hot Docs), Salam Iran: A Persian Letter (best documentary film award, Gémeaux), and Madwoman of God, his first fictional film, inspired by the writings of Marie of the Incarnation.
Lafond is the co-founder of the Montreal International Documentary Festival and the Observatoire canadien du documentaire (Canadian Documentary Network).
His latest film, Michaëlle Jean: A Woman of Purpose, is about the extraordinary adventure he shared with his wife, during her term as Governor General of Canada.
The screening will be attended by the director, Michaëlle Jean, Hot Docs president, Chris McDonald, and Government Film Commissioner and NFB Chairperson, Claude Joli-Coeur.
A post-screening question-and-answer session will be hosted by Anna Maria Tremonti of CBC Radio’s The Current, with Jean-Daniel Lafond and Michaëlle Jean.
Michaëlle Jean: A Woman of Purpose will also be available to the public on various TV and Web platforms: broadcast on ICI Radio-Canada Télé and TV5 Monde; accessible online, as of May 8, at NFB.ca (in English) as well as ONF.ca and ICI Tou.tv (in French); and distributed in community, institutional and educational networks across Canada.