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The Cinémathèque québécoise was founded in 1963 by a passionate group of filmmakers. Today, it is a major institution whose mission is to acquire, document and safeguard Quebec’s cinema, television and audio-visual heritage, as well as that of international animation. It also collects significant works of Canadian and world cinema for screenings focused on culture and education.

Opening of the cycle Carlos Reygadas : lumières et ténèbres

Lancement du cycle Carlos Reygadas : lumières et ténèbres | photographer: François Bodlet

Opening of the cycle Charles Binamé, au-delà de l'image at the Cinémathèque québécoise

Opening of the cycle Charles Binamé, au-delà de l'image | photographer: Lou Scamble

Located in the heart of Montreal’s entertainment district, the Quartier des spectacles, the Cinémathèque is above all a place of inspiration, discussion and sharing based on a philosophy of openness. Film has been the Cinémathèque’s driving force since its inception. Today the institution offers artists, professionals and the public inclusive, relevant and bold initiatives and activities that help participants fully grasp the creative process.

Opening of the exhibition Nos photos de tournage | photographer: François Bodlet

The Cinémathèque presents a captivating program of new and classic works daily in its two theatres, both of which are equipped to provide the highest quality screenings possible. Thematic programs, major retrospectives and meetings with filmmakers and professionals provide structure to the Cinémathèque’s film programs.

Since 2016, the Cinémathèque has showcased new art and experimental films thanks to the creation of the Centre d’art et d’essai de la Cinémathèque québécoise (CAECQ), a non-profit organization with the mission of promoting these types of films by programming documentaries and other independent works for the Cinémathèque’s theatres.

The works presented are vibrant and alive, and they connect viewers with their world.

In addition to screenings, the Cinémathèque presents exhibitions featuring some of the most singular artists past and present, as well as the treasures in its collections. The latter works are a particularly rich and virtually inexhaustible source of raw material for artists in residence, whose work can be enjoyed through the institution’s exhibitions.

Reserves in the Cinémathèque québécoise media library

Reserves in the Cinémathèque québécoise's media library | photographer: Raphaël Thibodeau

The Médiathèque Guy-L.-Coté is a wonderful source of inspiration for students, researchers and cinephiles. It is the gateway to all of the Cinémathèque’s collections, including a vast selection of works about cinema. Since 2017, the Médiathèque has opened its virtual doors through the Savoirs Communs du Cinéma initiative, which is aimed at making data and knowledge produced and carefully conserved by the Cinémathèque team freely available and usable.

The Cinémathèque has an exceptional collection dedicated to world animation, as well as related expertise, making it an international leader in this area. Each year, the institution reaffirms its enthusiasm for animated film by presenting an animation festival, The Sommets du cinéma d’animation, and by hosting residencies for young animators.

All of these initiatives and activities rely on conservation expertise developed at the Cinémathèque, and on efforts to collect and conserve our audio-visual heritage. The collections represent a priceless legacy for today’s society and future generations. Through its exhibition, interpretation, restoration and digitization activities, the Cinémathèque contributes significantly to transmitting and promoting culture. It celebrates the past while keeping a sharp focus on the future!

The Cinémathèque québécoise is the cornerstone of efforts to safeguard and showcase Quebec’s audio-visual heritage. It is a leader in the preservation and celebration of international animated cinema.

Milestones

1960

1963
April 18: founding of Connaissance du cinéma by a group of passionate filmmakers who recognize the importance of the historical documentation and exhibition of cinema. Guy L. Coté, Jacques Giraldeau, Michel Patenaude, Avram Garmaise, Roland Brunet, Guy Comeau, Rock Demers, Talbot Johnson, John Rolland and Roy Little are the founding members.
Guy L. Coté is the first director; the Cinémathèque’s first office is located in his basement.

1964
July 17: the organization is renamed Cinémathèque canadienne.

1965
The first full season, with 250 public screenings in the auditorium of the Bureau de censure – the government film censor’s office – at 360 McGill St. in Old Montreal.

The Cinémathèque's local in 1965 | ©Cinémathèque québécoise (1999.0731.PH.02)

1966
The Cinémathèque joins the Fédération internationale des archives du film (FIAF), a professional network that provides access to an enormous number of films and documents, as well as leading-edge expertise in conservation, documentation, restoration and exhibition.
The Cinémathèque canadienne moves to 3685 Jeanne-Mance St. in Montreal.

1967
The Cinémathèque adopts two specializations: Canadian cinema and world animation.

1968
Launch of a bilingual periodical, Nouveau cinéma canadien / New Canadian Film.
Creation of a film pavilion at Man and His World, on the Expo67 site, at the request of the City of Montreal.
Françoise Jaubert becomes executive director.

1969
Presentation of public screenings at the Bibliothèque nationale, located at 1700 St-Denis St.
Acquisition of Guy L. Coté's personal collection, which becomes the foundation of the Cinémathèque’s Centre de documentation cinématographique, one of the largest facilities of its kind in North America.

The Cinémathèque's documentation center in 1970 | ©Cinémathèque québécoise (1999.0732.PH.03)

1970

1970
Françoise Jaubert is elected to the FIAF’s steering committee and the presidency of ASIFA, the International Animated Film Society.

1971
With the mission of preserving and exhibiting audio-visual heritage, the Cinémathèque canadienne is renamed the Cinémathèque québécoise.

1972
The office is relocated to 360 McGill St. The space includes the Cinémathèque’s first showroom.
Robert Daudelin is named executive director and curator.

Robert Daudelin at the 1974's FIAF congress | photographer: Michel Campeau ©Cinémathèque québécoise (1999.0897.PH.23)

1974
Filmmaker Pierre Moretti designs a new graphic look for the organization.
The 30th congress is held in Ottawa at the Canadian Film Archives and in Montreal at the Cinémathèque québécoise.

1975
A conservation centre opens in Boucherville. It is designed for optimal storage and conservation of the Cinémathèque’s very large film and television archive.

Construction of the Conservation Center | ©Cinémathèque québécoise (1999.0751.PH.01)

1978
Signing of a framework agreement with the Quebec government, recognizing the Cinémathèque’s mandate.
The first issues of Les dossiers de la Cinémathèque are published.

1979
The Cinémathèque’s executive director, Robert Daudelin, is elected secretary general of FIAF. Mr. Daudelin is the first representative of a North American institution to be elected to the position.
Launch of the first issue of Copie Zéro, the Cinémathèque’s film magazine.

1980

1980
Louise Beaudet, the Cinémathèque’s animation curator, is elected president of ASIFA Canada; she continues in that role for 10 years.

1981
The Cinémathèque relocates to 335 De Maisonneuve Blvd. E.

1982
Official opening of 335 De Maisonneuve Blvd. E., with a week of festivities attended by numerous film professionals. For the first time, the screening room, exhibition space and documentation centre are located in the same building.

Inauguration of the 335 de Maisonneuve East | photographer: Martin Leclerc ©Cinémathèque québécoise (1999.0737.PH.01)

1983
For the first time, Quebec’s Cinema Act recognizes the Cinémathèque québécoise as a cinematheque for purposes of applying the Act.

1988
A new graphic signature is adopted during celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the Cinémathèque’s founding.

1989
Robert Daudelin is elected president of FIAF, and would hold the position until 1995.
La revue de la Cinémathèque is launched, with in-depth articles about the Cinémathèque’s programming initiatives.

1990

1990
The Cinéma muet en musique series, presenting silent films with live music every Friday evening, is launched with Gabriel Thibaudeau, the Cinémathèque’s new pianist in residence.

1992
Official reopening of the Boucherville conservation centre after upgrades and expansions begun in 1989.

1994
Death of founder Guy L. Coté. The documentation centre becomes the Médiathèque Guy-L.-Coté.
The Cinémathèque québécoise officially expands its mandate to include television, and adds recordings of broadcasts by independent producers to its collections.

Development works of the Cinémathèque headquarters | photographer: M.A. Dandelin ©Cinémathèque québécoise (1999.0748.PH.01)

1996
Interior redesign of the Cinémathèque’s headquarters to make it more suitable for hosting events and meetings.
Acquisition of the Cinématographe Lumière No16 thanks to the generosity of philanthropist René Malo.

1997
Opening of the Fernand-Seguin screening room and two multi-purpose spaces, the Raoul-Barré and Norman-McLaren rooms, used for hosting a variety of public exhibitions and events.

2000

2001
Publication of new acquisition and conservation policies for each collection: film, television, film-related collections and document collections.

2002
After 30 years leading the Cinémathèque, Robert Daudelin steps down. Robert Boivin becomes the new executive director.
Inaugural edition of the Cinémathèque’s animation festival, the Sommets du cinéma d’animation.

2004
Departure of executive director Robert Boivin. Kevin Tierney, the chair, takes over on an interim basis.

2005
Yolande Racine is named executive director.

Television collection Cinémathèque québécoise

N'ajustez pas votre appareil ! exhibition | photographer: Geneviève Benoît ©Cinémathèque québécoise (2006.0209.PH.17)

2006
A long-running exhibition opens: N’ajustez pas votre appareil ! is produced by the Cinémathèque in collaboration with the MZTV Museum (Toronto), featuring an exceptional collection of vintage television sets donated by television impresario Moses Znaimer of Olympus Management.
Legal deposit begins for films in Quebec: Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec delegates the mandate to the Cinémathèque, which handles conservation and coordination.

2008
A review of the Cinémathèque’s mission leads to its expansion to include moving images of all kinds, including new media.

Cinémathèque québécoise's facade

Cinémathèque's facade in 2009 | photographer: Martine Doyon

2010

2011
Departure of Yolande Racine; Iolande Cadrin-Rossignol becomes interim executive director.
The Cinémathèque québécoise acquires the Daniel Langlois Foundation Collection. The collection contains numerous documents related to media and technological arts, from the 1950s to 2010.

2013
The institution celebrates its 50th anniversary. Actress Caroline Dhavernas is spokesperson and host for the festivities, which include special screenings and the opening of a permanent exhibition about special effects, Secrets et illusions.

The 50th anniversary of the Cinémathèque | photographer: Denis Bernier ©Cinémathèque québécoise (2013.0253.PH.98)

2015
Marcel Jean becomes executive director.
A new visual identity is adopted.
The two theatres are retrofitted with 3D digital projectors.

2016
Creation of the Centre d’art et d’essai de la Cinémathèque québécoise (CAECQ), a non-profit whose mission is to promote, for strictly cultural purposes, art and experimental films by programming documentaries and other independent productions in the Cinémathèque’s theatres.
Two artistic residencies are created. One hosts six young animators each year, the other is for young Quebec artists from a variety of disciplines who have unique perspectives on cinema.
A policy is adopted for the preservation and management of archived digital materials.

Wikipedia workshop around GIV

Wikipedia workshop around GIV

2017
Start of a massive film digitization and restoration project as part of the Plan culturel numérique du Québec. Inclusion of the documentary series Le son des Français d’Amérique, by Michel Brault and André Gladu, in UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register thanks to the hard work of the collections team.
Launch of participatory activities aimed at making our vast collections and databases more accessible and promoting their use by citizens, as part of Wikimedia projects.

2019
Adoption and publication of a data-access policy as part of the Savoirs Communs du Cinéma initiative, dedicated to making information about film, produced and carefully preserved by the Cinémathèque team since 1963, freely accessible and usable.

Governance

Board of directors
President

Christian Pitchen
Legal Counsel | National Film Board of Canada

Vice-Chair

Félize Frappier
Producer | Max Films Média

Vice-Chair

Guylaine Dionne
Film Director and teacher | Concordia University

Secretary

Frédérick Pelletier
Film Director

Treasurer

Normand Grégoire
Retired

Directors

Pierre Even
CEO and producer | Item7
Carolle Brabant
Retired
Serge Turgeon
General director | W. Maxwell

Cinémathèque québécoise's Centre d’art et d’essai

The Centre d’art et d’essai de la Cinémathèque québécoise (CAECQ) is a non-profit organization founded in 2016. Its mission is to promote art and experimental cinema, purely for cultural purposes, by programming documentaries and other independent films in the Cinémathèque’s theatres. Its programming is presented jointly with that of the Cinémathèque québécoise under the “Nouveauté” banner.

The CAECQ prioritizes the programming of independent, Quebec-made documentary and fictional works. It also programs international documentaries, animated films and foreign films with French subtitles. Its exhibition strategy is based on interpretation and support for independent filmmakers. Through Q&A sessions, round tables and master classes, we create opportunities for audiences and film professionals to meet.

For more information, contact us at:

Conseil d’administration du Centre d’art et d’essai (CAECQ)
President

Marcel Jean
Executive director | Cinémathèque québécoise

Vice-president

Olivier Godin
Director

Treasurer

Christian Pitchen
Legal Counsel | National Film Board of Canada

Secretary

Frédérick Pelletier
Director