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Werner Nold

Werner Nold moved from his native Switzerland to Quebec in 1955 and worked as a photographer, cameraman and director, and even occasionally as a projectionist. In 1961, he joined the NFB and edited Gilles Carle’s first film, One Sunday in Canada (1961), a depiction of Montreal’s Italian community. He worked alongside Pierre Perrault and Michel Brault on a film that marked documentary filmmaking at the NFB, Pour la suite du monde (1963), a dazzling portrait of the people of Île aux Coudres, which he put together as a fictional film. Next, he edited Denys Arcand’s first films, Champlain (1964) and La route de l’Ouest (1965). In 1965, he also edited The Merry World of Léopold Z, the first fictional feature by Gilles Carle, with whom he later collaborated many times. In addition, he edited Jacques Godbout’s acclaimed films IXE-13 (1972), Derrière l’image (1978), Distorsions (1981) and En dernier recours (1987).

In 1977, he took on the challenge of editing 200 hours of footage in five months for Games of the XXI Olympiad. His efforts resulted in a superb film spotlighting extraordinary Olympic talents like Nadia Comaneci. In 1980, he faced another big challenge: editing Georges Dufaux’s Gui Daò – On the Way, a look at China through the eyes of railroad workers. Despite a lack of knowledge of the Chinese language, Nold created three captivating documentaries thanks to his great subtlety and intuition.

 Intrigued by all aspects of moviemaking, Nold also tried his hand at directing, sound design and animated film. Cinéma, cinéma (1985), a film he co-directed with Gilles Carles, picked up an award at Cannes in 1989. But the editing suite was where he really shone (he said he preferred to be “a great soloist rather than a mediocre conductor”). He served as the first chairman of the Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois from 1985 to 1987 and taught at various institutions starting in 1992. Nold was appointed to the Order of Canada in 1985 and to the Ordre national du Québec in 2012, in addition to receiving the prestigious Albert Tessier Award in 2010.