Who holds the real power to make change? Olivier D. Asselin's NFB documentary Pipelines, pouvoir et démocratie (Pipelines, Power and Democracy) screens in Montreal and Quebec City starting December 4

News Release

November 17, 2015 – Montreal – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

Following its world premiere at the Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM), where it played to a sellout crowd and received a standing ovation, Olivier D. Asselin’s timely feature doc Pipelines, pouvoir et démocratie (Pipelines, Power and Democracy) hits the big screen on December 4 at Cinéma Excentris in Montreal and Cinéma Cartier in Quebec City, in its original French version. The film, whose four protagonists are Daniel Breton, André Bélisle, Mikaël Rioux and Alyssa Symons-Bélanger, was produced at the National Film Board of Canada (NFB). Denis McCready is the producer and Colette Loumède is the executive producer.

Pipelines, pouvoir et démocratie examines the fragile state of our democracy. Who holds the real power to make change? From the hallways of Quebec’s National Assembly to campaigns waged by environmental defence groups and big media splashes made by activists, this road movie offers rare, behind-the-scenes access to the places where power lies.

This moving documentary is the first feature-length work by socially engaged filmmaker Olivier D. Asselin, and was shot between the fall of 2012 and spring 2015, capturing a critical period in Quebec’s recent social history: the struggle against the plan to bring unconventional oil from the Alberta oil sands to Quebec in the form of two pipelines.

The film explores the broad range of tactics used to effect change, following four protagonists who have played a leading role in this ongoing battle: Daniel Breton, former environment minister in the Pauline Marois government (electoral politics); André Bélisle, co-founder of the Association québécoise de lutte contre la pollution atmosphérique (environmental lobbying); Mikaël Rioux, environmental activist (direct action); and Alyssa Symons-Bélanger, activist (the art of social intervention).

Pipelines, pouvoir et démocratie is a film that opens up a space for much-needed dialogue among citizens concerned with the choices we make as a society.

Screenings with the director present
Olivier D. Asselin will be present and will hold a Q&A at the Cinéma Excentris screenings in Montreal on December 4, 6, 7, and 8, and at the Cinéma Cartier screening in Quebec on December 5.

A second RIDM screening of the film takes place on Wednesday, November 18 at 8:00 p.m., followed by a panel discussion.

Opening short

The short film Causerie (1 min 24 s), directed by Esteban Azuela and produced in collaboration with the Mexican Film Institute for the 10th edition of the NFB’s Hothouse apprenticeship program, will screen before the feature. This hand-drawn animation is a razor-sharp satire inspired by found sound of kids talking about oil and natural gas.

Quick Facts

•    Short synopsis

Where does the power in our democracies truly lie? In documenting the fight against projects expanding the oil sands industry—in particular construction of pipelines in Quebec and the plan to build a tanker terminal in Cacouna—Pipelines, pouvoir et démocratie appeals to the conscience of citizens at a time of great global crises.

•    About the director

Olivier D. Asselin served as an assistant to Magnus Isacsson for many years, studied film directing at INIS and also holds a degree in screenwriting and a master’s in experimental media from UQAM. As a socially engaged filmmaker he has directed or produced about 30 short- and medium-length films, including documentaries, experimental projects, and dramas. Citoyens Inc. was an award winner at the 2005 Caméra verte competition, while Tout se tient won two awards at the 2008 RIDM festival. His drama Les âmes en friche screened at the RVCQ festival in 2009, and he had films on the bill at the Portneuf environmental film festival three years running, from 2010 to 2012. Asselin also creates live video mixes and is a member of several independent media collectives, including Courts Critiques, Médi@s Libres and Journal Ensemble.

Media screenings for Pipelines, pouvoir et démocratie, directed by Olivier D. Asselin:

Tuesday, November 24, 10 a.m.
Cinéma Excentris
3536 Boulevard Saint-Laurent

Quebec City
Wednesday, November 25, 10 a.m.
Cinéma Cartier
1019 Avenue Cartier


Associated Links

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Media Relations

Marie-Claude Lamoureux
Publicist, NFB
Tel. : 514-283-9607
Cell. : 514-297-7192
Twitter : @MC_ONF
E-mail :m.c.lamoureux@nfb.ca   

Lily Robert
Director, Communications, Marketing and Public Affairs
Tel.: 514-283-3838
Cell: 514-296-8261
E-mail: l.robert@nfb.ca

About the NFB

The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) creates groundbreaking interactive works, social-issue documentaries and auteur animation. The NFB has produced over 13,000 productions and won over 5,000 awards, including 14 Canadian Screen Awards, 11 Webbys, 12 Oscars and more than 90 Genies. To access acclaimed NFB content, visit NFB.ca or download its apps for smartphones, tablets and connected TV.

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