Vincent Paquette (1915-2000)

The First French-Speaking Filmmaker at the NFB
Vincent Paquette, a young bilingual journalist, arrived at the National Film Board after an apprenticeship preparing French versions of films. He was soon handed the job of running the “French Unit”, whose job it was to produce the series “Actualités canadiennes”, which in 1943 was renamed “Reportages”.

Above all, however, Paquette was recruited to the NFB to fill a gap: no film was produced in French in the first two years of the organisation’s existence. Paquette would see that it did.
Paquette produced more than eighty films, directing about half of them himself. These short films, about ten minutes in length and addressing a variety of topics, are a vast source of information about current events in Quebec during the war. They were screened in commercial movie theatres before the feature film.

For these series, Paquette attracted to the NFB several young French Canadians who would leave their mark in film, including Maurice Blackburn, Jean Palardy and Jean-Yves Bigras.

Beyond Reportage
Paquette also directed several short and medium-length films, including La cité de Notre-Dame (1942), on Montreal’s three-hundredth anniversary, and the original experiment Maternité/Mother and Her Child, shot in two languages by two crews.

He left the NFB in 1948 to produce industrial and advertising films, but returned to the federal civil service after a few years.