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Jeanne Crépeau was born in Montreal between
the election of President Kennedy and
the erection of the Berlin Wall.

Her father, Jean-Baptiste was a lawyer in Plateau Mont-Royal, who became an MP in Jean Lesage's team. Her mother, Paulette, was a housewife, which was a relief after having had twelve brothers and sisters.

After several years of happy childhood, Jeanne Crépeau moved to the suburbs with her family. Full days spent at the «Carrefour Laval» mall constitute a period of lost time from which it would be very difficult to extract a literary work.

In the summer of her sixteenth year, she worked at a factory. It was a shock: she understood the deep origins of the blues, thanks to the sumptuous black female workers who sang to the rhythm of their repetitive gestures, and thus made the work less tiresome for all their fellow workers.

At the age of 17, she became an usherette at the Planetarium, which offered her the twofold advantage of providing a few notions of astronomy, while giving her the financial independence that allowed her to leave home shortly afterwards.

A long trip to Europe then ensued, backpacking, then she was in and out of cegep while most of the time active with numerous environmental groups, such as Monde à bicyclette and Alliance tournesol.

In 1979, she participated in the Radio Centre-ville programme on urban ecology “Frappez fort, la sonnette ne fonctionne pas” [Hit hard, the doorbell doesn’t work] and discovered her passion for this medium. At 23, she studied Communications at the University of Quebec in Montreal, with the aim of obtaining the requisite diploma and making this her career. She emerged as a filmmaker, with no diploma.

In the interim, she worked with Rock&Belles Oreilles, co-directed a short film, travelled to France, and spent six months in the Studio D of the National FIlm Board.

Several hours after having been hired as a trainee by the assistant director, for the preparation of the film
Un Zoo, la Nuit, she met Jean-Claude Lauzon in a pizzeria on Dante street, entirely by chance.

The following year she was again working as a trainee, this time with Francis Mankiewicz then Léa Pool.

In 1988, Jeanne Crépeau brought together a dozen colleagues and friends from various backgrounds to discuss the idea of a shared cinema production house and founded, Les films de l’autre with Manon Briand, Benoit Pilon and several others. Gradually, the collective began to stand out as one of the leading independent production houses in Quebec.

The following year, she travelled to Berlin, Brussels, and Paris. Then stayed in Toronto at Norman Jewison’s brand new Canadian Film Center. By now, she was able to master the art of holding a glass of wine, petits canapés, and a cigarette all at the same time.

In 1990, at Parlimage, she learned not to cross the shooting axis with the great Michel Brault, then spent the summer at the FEMIS then on the shoot of Chantal Akerman’s
Nuit et Jour where she learned to skilfully circumvent axis problems.

The following year she undertook her last shoot as a trainee director, with Jacques Doillon, where she had the opportunity to help Thomas Langmann rehearse his lines, and serve coffee to Charlotte Gainsbourg.

In 2005, she finally obtained a diploma from the
Sorbonne Nouvelle.

Basically, since 1985, Jeanne Crépeau has explored the various genres, types and formats of cinema. From video installation to animation, documentary and fiction, her eclectic and singular path has allowed her to develop a personal style full of humour.

Since 1993, alone at the helm of boxfilm, she has developed, produced, directed, and distributed independent films and audio productions, in a world that is less and less interested in marginal cultural experiences. She simply can’t get over the fact that she’s survived more or less unscathed, to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the company.

Before 2020, she will most likely enrol for a mechanics apprenticeship.

Jeanne Crépeau thinks that writing her biography in the third person is a weird exercise, but probably a necessary one.

But if you prefer, there is also the traditional resume

photo credits:
1.     1963 photo booth
2. © 1989 Pierre Lavigne
3. © 1990 Hélène Bamberger 
4. © 2012 Linda Dawn Hammond


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Photo
                              P. Lavigne

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Charlotte et Jeanne

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photo Linda Dawn Hammond


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