A Word From Jocelyne and Others…

Magnus kayaking

Magnus would have felt honoured by the outpouring of praise from friends and colleagues on his blog, on his Facebook page, on the Doc list serv, and in the media. He was a public kind of guy, sharing not only his insights into documentary practice and his love for film in general, but also his more personal life, including the last 5 years as he faced the challenges of illness.

Those five years were incredibly productive, despite the difficult context for documentary filmmaking. His work reached a new maturity and his last film, Ma vie réelle, could well be seen as one of his best.

While he knew the cancer that reared its ugly head back in 2007 might return, it was only in the last 6 months that he really began to feel its effects. There were the twice or 3 times yearly scans to deal with and the worry of leaving his family and a young daughter, but otherwise he was a happy and fulfilled human being until the end, living life to the fullest, aware of every precious minute.

Nowhere was that more evident than in the fréquent forays he made onto Quebec’s rivers, whenever he could find even a few days, often enticing colleagues away from their desks and editing rooms.

We too, his family, have been consoled in our loss by the knowledge that Magnus is being remembered, his work being critically examined, tributes being planned and a filmmaking award being set up in his name.

This blog, which Magnus began 5 years ago seems a fitting place to post some of the more personal letters and tributes from friends and colleagues, those which will never make it into newspaper or academic articles. They reveal the whole person behind the filmmaker, the friendships he valued, the passionate, crazy guy he was.

We hope you enjoy them!

– Jocelyne

Continue reading A Word From Jocelyne and Others…

1948 – 2012

Our dear friend, father, brother, colleague, militant, activist has passed away Thursday August 2nd, 2012, after a struggle with cancer.

Magnus, notre ami, père, frère, miltant, activiste, collègue est décédé jeudi, le 2 août suite à un combat contre le cancer.

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Read friend’s words in this post.

Read The Gazette’s obituary and the report from the CBC. Et ici, dans le Devoir.

Marc Glassman, editor of POV magazine, had conducted an extensive career interview with Magnus about six months ago.

One word comes to mind when I think of Magnus: integrity. As an artist, as a family man, as a friend, he was always full value. He never let himself—or anyone else—down.

He came to documentary out of a profound desire to expose injustices in the world. Magnus had a deep sense of what’s right and wrong and he used his camera to bring to light the causes and concerns of at-risk youths in Montreal North, Canada’s Native peoples and the homeless in city cores. He was fearless, taking on institutions ranging from McDonald’s to the Quebec government.

Magnus’ cinema became more personal as he matured as a filmmaker. The wonderful duo in Art in Action, the feisty Choir Boys and the amazing Raging Grannies came to life under Magnus’ quiet and compassionate gaze. Without losing a sense of the political, Magnus created indelible portraits of people he came to know and respect.

I’ve been lucky enough to spend time with Magnus and his wonderful family—-Jocelyne and Bethiele in Montreal and Anna in Toronto. What’s struck me is that Magnus was ever present, participating to the fullest in his personal life as he did in his work as a documentarian. Whether it was riding his bike up the mountain three times a week or keeping an insightful and intelligent doc blog or having a dinner with family and friends, Magnus did it with commitment and style. His life and work is an inspiration to us all.

Marc Glassman

The full version of the POV interview can be found online here: POV Magazine- Magnus Isacsson- Advocate and Auteur. 

In the next while we will post some of the tributes that are coming in.