Joseph Morin (1896-1964)

A Pedagogue Goes amongst Farmers
Joseph Morin was a civil servant with the Ministry of Agriculture who, as early as 1920, had the idea of using film for pedagogical ends. At the time he had only four 35mm films at his disposal, whose intertitles he translated and for which he provided a commentary during his meetings with farmers throughout Quebec. On many occasions, he had to use his own generator to run the projector, because much of rural Quebec was not yet electrified.

Gradually he obtained other documentary films from the United States and France, especially when 16mm film became available, which facilitated screenings. His “film archive”—one of the first in Canada—served as an example for other government departments.

An Effective Manager
When the government of Quebec formed the Service de ciné-photographie in 1941, Morin was the man for the job of running it. He occupied this post until his retirement in 1963.

Morin was effective at surrounding himself with capable people and at skilfully manoeuvring in an arcane political milieu at a time when civil servants were often replaced when a new party took power. He survived four changes of government.

In 1960, the Canadian Film Awards bestowed on him a “Special Award” for his forty years of service to cinema.