Innu filmmaker Réal Junior Leblanc, in the wake of Denys Arcand

It’s a great adventure that will change my life!he shares with the enthusiasm of someone who leaves with a thousand ideas in mind for his first documentary on residential schools for Aboriginal people.

Mr. Leblanc was invited to participate in the filming of Denys Arcand in Montreal to familiarize himself with the production of fiction and the panoply of film professions. Understand staging and production, the workings of a production, what a filmmaker wants and expects from his team…

It was a nice atmosphere, there was no stress, Denys Arcand just got angry twice quickly [en deux mois]summarizes the young recruit. They were working, I was the one laughing!he adds as a faithful representative of Innu humour.

In the midst of a team of seasoned professionals, very concentratedsubject to tight deadlines, he tells how he played the role of the affable troublemaker who naturally loosens the working climate.

I joked that I was Remy Girard’s understudy!, he says, without hiding having been impressed by all the stars seen on television and who have become colleagues. A driver picked him up early in the morning at his hotel, meals were provided…the dream life of a star? I was away from my familyshade Réal Junior Leblanc, father of four children.

The Wapikoni ski jump

It was his organic side, his sincerity, his curiosity, his sensitivity that touched mecomments in turn the producer of the film, Denise Robert.

On set he was like a kid in a candy store […] It makes us realize that we are privileged to do what we do. »

A quote from Denise Robert, producer

The producer, also companion of Denys Arcand, wanted the latter to pass on his rich experience in directing to an intern. The executive director of the Wapikoni cultural organization, Veronique Rankinthen suggested the candidacy of a promising filmmaker from the North Shore.

It is thanks to Wapikoni Mobile, a mobile audiovisual production studio, that the Innu of Uashat discovered cinema, created several short films and traveled around the world to present them.

Among his productions, Uprooted childhood particularly shook Denise Robert, shares Mr. Leblanc. This short film follows the story of a young Innu who returns to the Sept-Îles boarding school to pay a poetic tribute to the victims.

The director, now based in Quebec, is preparing his very first feature film; a documentary also on the theme of boarding schools and foundlingshe recalls.

His immersion experience on the set of Denys Arcand pushed him to want to rewrite his screenplay, to favor the recruitment of women – they work better, help each other, there is no competition – or to be inspired by certain technical tricks on the set.

Before filming, Denys Arcand uses a fake camera to check the angle of the shotshares Réal Junior Leblanc, visibly won over by the work of his mentor, who is now in his eighties and who, like him, began with documentaries (within the National Film Board).

The young director explains that he wants to model his creative process on his feature film project. Rather than conducting traditional interviews with its stakeholders, it wants to free up speech through traditional activities, so as bring culture to life indigenous through his film.

I come from the shadows, drugs, alcohol, I was selfish, absent for my children, I wanted…like to redeem my cause. »

A quote from Réal Junior Leblanc, Innu poet and director

To support him psychologically and spiritually, he mentions using sweat lodges (matutishan), according to the ancestral rites of the Innu.

A close friend

His documentary project aroused the interest of producer Denise Robert.

I would like to be able to accompany him by giving him total freedom, she confides, offering him an infrastructure, but for me, it would be important for him to have total freedom to tell what he wants.

From this experience on the set of Denys Arcand was born a friendship between the couple of filmmakers and the Innu of Uashat who received two traditional drums to thank him for his presence on the set. It touched me, I was taken in shock, he confides, I told them “there, you come to get me at another stage”.

For Denise Robert, Réal has even become a close friend that she took her wing. It was like we’ve known each other for a long time, says the producer. Beyond the mentoring inherent in hiring an intern, it’s a real exchange of experiences and cultures which imposed itself with the arrival of Réal.

He invited us, Denys and me, to fish for salmon with his family, according to their own method. It’s very generous of him, it’s one of the most beautiful invitations we’ve receivedshares Denise Robert, without indicating whether she intends to honor this appointment in 2023 before or after the release of the film, still mysterious.

Innu filmmaker Réal Junior Leblanc, in the wake of Denys Arcand