Roger Frappier | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Roger Frappier

Roger Frappier left the NFB in 1986 and founded Max Films with Pierre Gendron, producing Jean-Claude LAUZON's Un Zoo La Nuit in 1987; it won a record 13 Genie Awards.
Frappier, Roger
Film director Roger Frappier (courtesy Toronto International Film Festival Group).

Frappier, Roger

Roger Frappier, director, producer (b at Sorel, Qué 14 April 1945). Roger Frappier has worked in all areas of the film business, from film critic to television commercial director to director/producer of the experimental feature documentary Le Grand Film ordinaire, before he found his true vocation as a producer. While at theNATIONAL FILM BOARD (NFB) in the early 1980s, he assembled a group of writer/directors who collaborated on developing edgy, urban dramas. The script for Denys ARCAND's DECLINE OF THE AMERICAN EMPIRE (1986) emerged from the process that Frappier had set in motion. With that film's phenomenal success, Frappier rose to the ranks of the top producers of feature films in Québec.

Roger Frappier left the NFB in 1986 and founded Max Films with Pierre Gendron, producing Jean-Claude LAUZON's Un Zoo La Nuit in 1987; it won a record 13 Genie Awards. His many other films include Anne Trister (Léa POOL, 1986), Pouvoir intime (Yves Simoneau, 1986), JESUS OF MONTRÉAL (Denys Arcand, 1989), Ding et Dong, le film (Alain Chartrand, 1990), La Vie fantôme (Jacques LEDUC, 1992), L'Enfant d'eau (Robert Ménard, 1994), Sous-sol (Pierre Gang, 1996) and La Comtesse de Bâton Rouge (André FORCIER, 1997) and Cosmos (a collaboration with six emerging filmmakers, 1997). Members of the Cosmos collective went on to make three of the most celebrated works in recent Québecois cinema: Un 32 août sur terre (1998) and Maelström (2000) by Denis Villeneuve, and Un Crabe dans la tête (2001), directed by André Turpin, underscoring Frappier's eye for fresh talent. His 2003 production, the affable Seducing Doctor Lewis, became one of the highest-grossing films at the domestic box office in Canadian film history.

With the exception of Dernier glacier (co-directed with Jacques Leduc, 1984), in which documentary and fictional elements mix, the documentaries directed by Frappier - Le Grand Film ordinaire (1970) and L'Infonie inachevée...1973) are two examples - evidence a keen interest in the processes of artistic creation. In 1974, he introduced himself to production by collaborating with Bernard Lalonde on the documentary On a raison de se révolter. The following year, Frappier went to the United States to assist Robert Altman in the making of Nashville. In 1991, Frappier ended his working relationship with Gendron. Luc Vendal joined Max Films in 1998 and the two have produced, on average, at least one film together each year.

Some of the many awards won by Roger Frappier include the best picture Genie and the Golden Reel Award for The Decline of the American Empire (nominated for an Oscar for best foreign-language film), best picture Genie for Un Zoo la nuit, best picture Genie and Golden Reel Award for Jesus of Montréal (nominated for an Oscar for best foreign-language film), the Golden Reel Award for Ding et Dong, le film and another best picture Genie for Maelström.

Through his many public stands taken to uphold directors' rights, to decry the abolition of tax shelters, and to urge an increase in government investment in culture, Roger Frappier has acquired renown as an activist, which, taken with the quality of his work, makes him a true star of the film industry. In 1999, he launched Le Prix Jutra, the Québec film awards.

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