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Jacques Drouin

Jacques Drouin, film director, animator,
Photo of Jacques Drouin courtesy of the National Film Board.

B: May 28, 1943 in Mont Joli, Québec
D: August 28, 2021

Legendary animator Jacques Drouin held a unique place in the world of animation. Using a rare tool called a pinscreen, which was created by husband-and-wife team Alexandre Alexeieff and Claire Parker, he worked with a board that had 240,000 holes, each of which housing a retractable pin that goes through it. By lighting the board at an angle, the pins project shadows in tones from black to white, depending on how deep into the board the pin is placed. By making minute changes to the pins a sense of motion can be created. Drouin championed this technique. He made his first professional film in 1973 using the pinscreen to create Trois exercices sur l’écran d’épingles d’Alexeieff, aka Three Exercises on Alexeieff’s Pinscreen. He followed that with Mindscape in 1976, which garnered 17 awards and earned praise from NFB legend Norman McLaren and Alexeieff himself. “Jacques Drouin was a major figure at the NFB, with an extraordinary career path: for three decades, he was the only animator in the world using the pinscreen technique,” said Claude Joli-Coeur, Government Film Commissioner and NFB Chairperson. “An outstanding filmmaker, he was also unfailingly generous, forever ready to share his knowledge with young filmmakers and his colleagues. Not only did he create unforgettable works, but he also ensured that work could continue to be created using the pinscreen – another of his generous legacies.” In 2009, the NFB released the DVD box set Jacques Drouin – Complete Pinscreen Works. In addition to his own work, he also contributed animated sections to other NFB film productions. We list his credits as a Director/Animator first.

Features & TV Movies:
VR indicates Direct-to-Video Release

Trois exercices sur l’écran d’épingles d’Alexeieff (1973, short)
Mindscape (1976, short)

Nightangel (1987, short)
Ex-Child (1994, short)

A Hunting Lesson (2001, short)
Imprints (2004, short)

Credits as a Screenwriter:
Mindscape (1976, short)
Ex-Child (1994, short)
A Hunting Lesson (2001, short)