A keen cinephile, Jean Roy arrived at the NFB with an amateur film under his arm. He was only 20 in 1949 when he went to the Arctic to shoot a series on Inuit culture. He worked with all the major NFB directors of the ’50s and ’60s—Devlin, Dansereau, Garceau, Giraldeau, Koenig, Kroitor, Palardy, Portugais and others. Michel Brault and Georges Dufaux would learn their craft as his assistants. One of eight cinematographers to collaborate on Jour de juin (1959), an early exercise in Direct Cinema, Roy later participated in Coopératio, a collective venture launched by Pierre Patry, and directed photography on Trouble-fête (1963), one of Quebec cinema’s first hits. As head of the NFB camera department, Roy established a program of institutional support for independent filmmakers—Aide au cinéma indépendant (ACIC)—which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2013.
This interview is part of Making Movie History: A Portrait in 61 Parts.