Government announces Suzanne Guèvremont as new head of National Film Board of Canada

MONTREAL — The federal government has announced Suzanne Guèvremont as the new leader of the National Film Board of Canada.

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez made the official announcement of Guèvremont as the NFB's new government film commissioner, chairperson and 17th leader chosen since its inception in 1939.

“Sharing our stories with the world through film is vital to showcasing the strength of our diversity, the wealth of our talent, our commitment to reconciliation, and other stories that are unique to Canada,” said Rodriguez in a statement.

The biography shared by the NFB described Guèvremont as an executive with extensive experience within the fields of culture, digital media and education.

Most recently, she was the director of Montréal’s École des arts numériques, de l’animation et du design, a post she held since 1999.

A statement from the Heritage Ministry also says she founded the digital education initiative SYNTHÈSE Pôle Image Québec, and served on a number of boards, including for CBC/Radio-Canada and the Bell Fund.

Currently, she serves as chair of the board for Collège Notre-Dame.

Claude Joli-Coeur, who led the NFB for nearly nine years until his term ended Friday, was thanked by the Heritage Ministry in a statement for “his exemplary service to the Canadian film industry.”

Joli-Coeur made a commitment to gender parity in 2016, an objective he says he met with the number of NFB's female-led projects and works directed by women reaching 50 per cent.

Joli-Coeur also announced a three-year plan in 2017 to rethink the NFB’s relationship with Indigenous people.

In a statement earlier this week, Joli-Coeur said he was inspired by recommendations in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and the NFB’s Indigenous Advisory Group, making changes that include budgeting commitments to projects by Indigenous artists.

Guèvremont is set to inherit the NFB's efforts to address issues of equality within the institution.

Starting in the next fiscal year, the NFB also plans to implement a “confidential” and “respectful” data-collection mechanism with racial equity being the core goal, Joli-Coeur said in his outgoing message.

In a public statement in response to the news, Guèvremont expressed her gratitude for the position and organization as a whole.

“The Canadian landscape is changing, the means at our disposal for creating content are constantly evolving, and so are audience behaviours,” said Guèvremont. “I’m very much looking forward to meeting all the teams across Canada, and to working with them in pursuit of our goals.”

Guèvremont will officially begin her five-year term on Monday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2022.

Noel Ransome, The Canadian Press