Guy Simoneau - Réalisateur

Filming in Nunavut Qallunaaliaqpallianiq/Heading South

Writer, director and producer of documentary films

Guy Simoneau was a photographer and a film editor before beginning his career as a filmmaker in the early 1980s. His first documentary feature, Plusieurs tombent en amour (Some Even Fall in Love) (1981), created a shock wave in the Quebec cinema milieu and had the longest theatrical run ever for a documentary film. It won a Genie Award for Best Documentary Feature and was shown at several film festivals, including Filmex (Los Angeles). The film explores female and male prostitution with truthfulness and humanity.  In 1982, with Suzanne Guy, he made a second documentary feature called On n’est pas des Anges. This documentary was controversial, as it was the first time film audiences had witnessed scenes of the love and sex life of handicapped people.

Guy then spent several years working as a film editor and second-unit director with director Peter Pearson in several productions for television, including Home Game, a 6-hour series written by Ken Dryden, and Mario, Mike and Mr. Greatness, featuring Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux.

In 1988, Guy made David chez les Coréens, a one-hour documentary shot in South Korea.  The film tells the story of David, a young Korean boy adopted in infancy by a Quebec couple. When he enters adolescence, David visits his original country of origin. The documentary was warmly received at several festivals, was nominated for Best Film at the Cairo International Film Festival for Children, and won two Gémeaux Awards in Quebec.

In 1993, Guy Simoneau made another documentary feature, Est-ce ainsi que les hommes vivent?, which explored the little-known subject of male emotional distress. The film caused a stir at the Abitibi Film Festival and elsewhere. In 1996, he directed Marcel Dubé: aimer, écrire, a one-hour documentary on the well-known Quebec dramatist, who was at the final turning point of his life and career.

In 1999, Guy Simoneau published his first book, L’Amérique de la dame aux yeux peints, the biographical tale of a Quebec woman who lived and worked for 25 years with the Maya in the forests of Guatemala and Chiapas, during bloody military regimes and civil war.

In 2000-2001, Guy shot a 13 ½ hour documentary series for Télé-Québec, Macadam Sud, which presented the real-life stories, often poignant and sometimes funny, that are the daily fare of street workers in Montreal’s South Shore communities. Fascinated by writers, he directed Simenon in America in 2003, about one of the world’s most prolific authors. This was followed in 2005 by a powerful 2-hour television series, broadcast by Télé-Québec, La vie à vif. Guy and his sound man were the only members of the film crew inside an institute for young offenders, an intense, exhausting experience.

Le voyage de Sara, completed in 2008, takes place in Nunavik and will be broadcast by SRC on December 2008. A 12-year-old Inuit girl who was adopted at birth by a Montreal couple returns to her native land to meet her biological family and to discover her roots. In 2011, Guy Simoneau shot Qallunaaliaqpallianiq/Heading South, a one hour documentary that focuses on Inuit living in the south, in urban areas, with an inspirational leadership oriented towards the good of their community in the Far North. The documentary was premiered at the 2011 Montreal World Film Festival on August (see press release). His most recent documentary (2014) Desplazados: éternels oubliés, is about internal refugees in Colombia, the victims of the armed conflict. It was released on RDI television and at some festivals.

In 2014-15, he was free lancer producer-director at Bell Media (documentary series such as Indigenous Power, with Nakuset. To be broadcasted by APTN as well). During 2016 and 2017, Guy Simoneau will be working in Bolivia with a local partner (CEFREC) and Oxfam, on an Indigenous National Broadcaster project.

Always a fervent believer in “real cinema”, Guy Simoneau likes to explore unknown zones, wipe out prejudice, and accompany human beings in their lives and their search.  Words, as well as pictures, are primordial in his practice of the art.