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Filmmaker Bio


LÉA POOL, Director/ Writer

Léa Pool is an acclaimed filmmaker whose work has been honoured by an array of international awards. Originally from Switzerland, Pool emigrated to Quebec in 1975, where her career began soon after.

In 1978, she co-directed and edited the short documentary Laurent Lamerre, portier, and the following year she wrote, produced, directed and filmed the award-winning short Strass Café. Pool went on to direct a series on cultural minorities for Radio-Québec, as well as Eva en transit, a program on the French singer, Éva, before turning her hand to features.

Pool made an astonishing feature debut in 1984 with La Femme de l’hôtel (A Woman in Transit), which won several international awards and a Best Actress Genie for Louise Marleau in the title role. In 1986, Anne Trister, which Pool wrote and directed, was selected for Official Competition at the Berlin International Film Festival, and the film also took home the highest awards from other major festivals. À corps perdu(Straight for the Heart) was presented in Official Competition at the Venice, Montreal World and Chicago International Film Festivals and was honoured with top prizes at Namur and Halifax. La Demoiselle sauvage(The Savage Woman)won the Best Canadian Film and Best Artistic Contribution (Photography) awards when it was screened in competition at the Montreal World Film Festival in 1991.

The following year, Pool wrote and directed Rispondetemi, one of the shorts in the Montréal vu par... ensemble. Pool’s fifth feature, Mouvements du désir(Desire in Motion), was presented at the Sundance Festival in 1994 and nominated for eight Genie Awards, including Achievement in Direction and Original Screenplay. In 1999, Pool’s Emporte-moi(Set Me Free) was awarded the Special Prize of the Ecumenical Jury at the Berlin International Film Festival. Her most recent features include Lost and Delirious, starring Piper Perabo, Jessica Paré and Mischa Barton; The Blue Butterfly, starring William Hurt and Pascale Bussières; Mamanest chez le coiffeur (Mommy Is at the Hairdresser’s); and La Dernière fugue (The Last Escape).

In 1990, Léa Pool shot her first feature documentary, Hotel Chronicles, which won the Gold Medal at the Chicago International Film Festival. Other documentaries include two episodes of the bilingual television series, Women: A True Story, based on scenarios by Rina Fraticelli and Léa Pool and hosted by Susan Sarandon, and Mile End, for the CBC series Hidden Lives. In 1998, the documentary Gabrielle Roy won the 1998 Rockie Award in the Best History and Biography category at the Banff Television Festival and a Gémeaux Award for Best Documentary Film.  

In 1994, Léa Pool was distinguished with the title “Chevalier” by the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, and the Blois Festival in France presented a retrospective of her films. In 2006, she was honoured with three lifetime achievement awards: the Prix Reconnaissance from the Université du Québec à Montréal, the Prix Femmes de mérite from the Women’s Y Foundation, and the Prix Albert-Tessier, the Quebec Government’s top honour, in recognition of her exceptional talent and contribution to Quebecois cinema.