Girard, François

François Girard, filmmaker, screenwriter (b Saint-Félicien, Qué 12 Jan 1963). Following studies in music, Girard turned to audiovisual techniques and in the mid-1980s began a career as a video producer without, however, turning his back completely on music videos and publicity. His works are often about music and dance. He got his start in the film industry as an assistant on the set of Léa POOL's La Femme de l'hôtel (1984), alternating between Montreal and Toronto. In 1985, he founded Zone Productions with Nicole Boutin and Bruno Jobin, and produced several short videos and video clips.

François Girard's first short film, Mourir (1988), was shot on 16 mm, but edited on video. His 1990 television adaptation of Le Dortoir, the show by the theatre company CARBONE 14, won him a much wider audience. Also in 1990, in Québec, he shot the film Cargo in a formal style that is detailed but somewhat confusing with its dreamlike sequences. Girard returned to Toronto for his second feature film, 32 Short Films About Glenn Gould (1993), produced by Rhombus Media from a screenplay by Girard and Don MCKELLAR. This evocation in the form of vignettes of the life of this celebrated Canadian pianist won several prizes in Canada and abroad.

Girard went on to produce several mid-length television films on cultural subjects in English and French. These included Le Jardin des ombres (1993) about the architect Ernest CORMIER, Souvenirs d'Othello (1995) with Suzanne Cloutier, one of the CANADIAN EXPATRIATES IN SHOWBUSINESS, and The Sound of Carceri (1997) with cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

François Girard's passion for music and film led him to produce his most ambitious work, The Red Violin (1998), a complex and poetic narrative epic that traces the history of a violin and the fate of its owners over five centuries and through as many countries. Beyond historical details, the film speaks about the power of creativity, passion, love, and, above all, beauty. It was co-produced by Rhombus Media with companies from Italy, the United States, and Britain. François Girard and Don McKellar again collaborated on the screenplay. After taking part in a number of additional theatrical, operatic and museological projects and the production of more music videos, Girard returned at last to feature film in 2007 with Silk, based on the novel by Alessandro Baricco. This period piece explores the illicit love affairs of a French silk merchant in Japan on business in 1860. In this work, strong co-production once again allowed Girard the means to follow through his creative aspirations. On the Québec cinematographic and videographic landscape, François Girard has developed a remarkable and demanding body of work focused on art and culture. In 2005, Mathieu Roy dedicated a feature film to Girard titled François Girard en trois actes.