Magnus Isacsson passes away

Quebec documentary film champion Magnus Isacsson (pictured), the director behind films including Uranium and Power, has passed away.
August 3, 2012

Quebec documentary film champion Magnus Isacsson (pictured), the director behind films including Uranium and Power, has passed away.

The filmmaker, who was born in Sweden in 1948 and immigrated to Canada in 1970, died yesterday evening (August 2) at his home in Montreal, following a battle with Cancer.

Isacsson’s work saw him exploring social and political issues to wide acclaim over the course of 22 years. A former co-chair of the Documentary Organization of Canada (DOC) and VP of the Observatoire du documentaire, he received the 2004 Prix Lumières from the Quebec directors’ association (ARRQ), which also named him as a member Emeritus earlier this year.

Over the course of his career as a documentarian, Isacsson collaborated with the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) on works including 1990′s Uranium, which explored the consequences of uranium mining in Canada and won a Golden Sheaf Award for Best Documentary; and 1996′s Power, which documented the five-year campaign by James Bay Cree against the Great Whale hydro mega-project.

The latter project was named best documentary at the Paris International Environmental Film Festival, and winner of the Grand Prize at the Lausanne festival in 1999.

Other films included 2002′s View from the Summit, and his recent NFB work The Battle of Rabaska: Chronicle of an Environmental Conflict, which was co-directed with Martin Duckworth, documenting a campaign by citizen activists against a methane tanker terminal in their community.

“Magnus’s death is a great loss to the entire Quebec documentary film community,” said NFB chairman Tom Perlmutter. “Magnus was so dedicated, so passionate about what he did. His greatest wish would be for us to continue his legacy in socially relevant documentary filmmaking and his commitment to social justice.”

Isacsson continued to work following his Cancer diagnosis and was able to complete his film Ma vie réelle, about troubled youths in Montreal North, before his death. Produced by Jeannine Gagné for Amazone Film, the film will premiere this coming fall.

His film Granny Power, which is about an activist movement led by senior citizens, is still in production. It is being produced by his wife and frequent collaborator Jocelyne Clarke, who survives him, as do his daughters Anna and Béthièle.

Isacsson’s classic doc Uranium is available to view below, courtesy of the NFB:

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