One life, many chapters! Blais began his working life as a wartime artist in Europe. Returning to Canada in 1945, he was recruited to the NFB by Grierson himself. Blais would develop enormous respect for the famous Scot, and his last film, Monsieur John Grierson (1974), is dedicated to his memory. Among the few early francophone directors at the NFB, Blais defended his right to work in his own language. Named executive producer of Studio F, the so-called French Unit, in 1954, he argued for a fully fledged independent French-language program. Following a remarkably prolific career at the NFB, he moved on to an impressive set of new challenges—leading a UN anthropology mission to New Guinea, running the audiovisual department for Expo 67, and more. He died in 2012 at the age of 95.
This interview is part of Making Movie History: A Portrait in 61 Parts.