Biography of His Excellency Jean-Daniel Lafond
Born in France, Jean-Daniel Lafond is a filmmaker, a writer and a producer of documentary films, and a former professor of philosophy.
At a very early age, he discovered his first passion – the theatre – while attending school. He performed on the stage on a regular basis until 1971, and again in June 2000.
After studying literature and philosophy, Mr. Lafond taught philosophy from 1966 to 1971, while pursuing research in audio-visual training and communications. He worked closely with the research branches of the Service de radiodiffusion télévision française, the Institut National de la Recherche Pédagogique and the Atelier de Création Radiophonique de Radio-France.
He contributed to the publication La Revue du Cinéma from 1968 to 1986, and has published numerous theoretical and critical reviews of the film industry. During this period, he also participated in many educational or experimental productions.
In 1974, he left France for Quebec, Canada, and became a Canadian citizen in 1981. As a visiting professor and researcher in education sciences at the University of Montreal, he worked on the development of an experimental training program for teachers in the audio-visual field. In the early 1980s, he left the university to focus solely on his true passions: film-making, radio and writing.
In 1985, at the National Film Board, he directed his first Canadian documentary: Les Traces du rêve (1987 Genie nomination for best documentary). He has since produced some fifteen documentary films, including Le Voyage au bout de la route, Tropique Nord (TV5 award for best French-language documentary), Haïti dans tous nos rêves (best political film award, Hot Docs Festival, Toronto), Salam Iran, a Persian Letter (2002 Gemini Award) and Le cabinet du Docteur Ferron ( 2004 Gemini Award).His documentaries encourage viewers to reflect on the destiny of individuals and peoples.
In addition to film, he has developed a body of original works for radio (for France-Culture and for Radio-Canada) and has authored many books. Since 2002, he has also been a regular contributor as a guest philosopher on the program Indicatif Présent on Radio-Canada's radio network.
An advocate for fictional and documentary cinema, he has been a Board member and Vice-President of l'Association québécoise des réalisateurs et des réalisatrices de cinéma et de télévision, as well as co-founder and President of the Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montréal and of the Observatoire canadien du Documentaire (Canadian Documentary Network). In 1999, he was awarded the Prix Lumières by the Association québécoise des réalisateurs in recognition of his advocacy for the profession and for creative freedom.
Mr. Lafond is married to Michaëlle Jean. Their daughter, Marie-Eden, is six years old. He has two other daughters, Estelle and Élise, from a previous marriage, as well as two granddaughters, Éléonore and Justine.