His Excellency Jean-Daniel Lafond, C.C.
Born in France, Jean-Daniel taught philosophy and wrote film criticism for La Revue du Cinéma, while carrying out research in the educational sciences specializing in media pedagogy. He came to Canada in 1974, and became a Canadian citizen in 1981. He has since devoted his time to cinema, writing and radio.
After working with filmmakers Arthur Lamothe and Pierre Perrault, Jean-Daniel Lafond emerged as one of Canada's leading documentarists. In 1985, he directed his first feature-length documentary Dream Tracks (Les traces du rêve, shortlisted for the Génie Awards, best documentary, 1987) for the National Film Board. He has since written and directed more than a dozen films that embody his commitment to creative documentary filmmaking: Le voyage au bout de la route (1987), Le visiteur d'un soir (1989), La Manière Négre ou Aimé Césaire, chemin faisant (1991), Tropic North (Tropique Nord, 1994-TV5 Prize for best French-language documentary), La liberté en colère (1994), Haiti in All Our Dreams (Haïti dans tous nos rêves, 1995 - Best political film award, Hot Docs Festival, Toronto, 1996), Last Call for Cuba (L'Heure de Cuba 1999, shortlisted, Gémeaux Awards, best documentary), The Barbarian Files (Le temps des barbares, 1999), Salam Iran, une lettre persane (2002, Salam Iran, a Persian letter, Gémeaux Award, best documentary), Le faiseur de théâtre (Les Films d'Ici, France, 2002), The Cabinet of Dr. Ferron (Le cabinet du Docteur Ferron 2003, Gémaux Award, best documentary). In 2005, Jean-Daniel Lafond filmed American Fugitive (Le fugitif) in Iran and the United States.
A seasoned observer of the world and of our times, Jean-Daniel Lafond has crafted films that tell touching, though-provoking stories; philosophical poems that resonate with the call of the road, and mirror the fates of men and nations.
Parallel to his involvement in cinema, he has developed an original body of work for radio (France-Culture, Radio-Canada). He has also published several books.
Jean-Daniel Lafond co-founded Les Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montréal, serving as its president until 2005.
He is married to the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, and is actively involved in the activities of the office.
He was awarded the Prix Lumières in 1999, and has been a Companion of the Order of Canada since 2005.