screenwriter, director, executive producer
From administration to advertising by way of the theatre scene, Nathalie Bissonnette’s career path is reflective of her rich and eclectic personality. In 2004, she was appointed executive producer for OUTSIDERS Films, where her talents have been put to great use on many film and TV projects that she is both passionate about and entirely dedicated to.
With a background in business administration, Nathalie Bissonnette worked in the advertising industry from 1987 to 1992, most notably as a project manager at agencies such as Young & Rubicam and Cossette. Her path then veered towards theatre, with various endeavours taking her to the U.S. and Europe. After collaborating on several projects, she directed a New York stage production of A Streetcar Named Desire.
In 2001, Nathalie Bissonnette returned to her native Quebec, more specifically in Montreal, to undertake the redesign of the J. Armand Bombardier Museum website. She served both as producer and artistic director on this ambitious project. In 2004, that rewarding experience brought about her first documentary project, Bombardier: sur les sentiers de ma famille, which she directed, co-wrote and co-produced with her associate Ginette Petit. This intimate and widely praised documentary related the lives and careers of two exceptional builders: her grandfather, Joseph-Armand Bombardier, and the entrepreneur Laurent Beaudoin. The film screened at Radio-Canada’s Grands Reportages and aired on RDI. The project prompted both women to become partners and work together on many innovative projects for museums and companies in the aviation sector. And thus began a beautiful collaboration between Nathalie Bissonnette and Ginette Petit.
They also created a multidisciplinary experience for Bombardier Aerospace, bringing to light the history of aviation with an emphasis on Bombardier’s evolution in Quebec before and after its dramatic take-off on the international market. That initiative was rolled out around the world in order to raise awareness and increase the motivation of people employed at the factories of multinational manufacturer Bombardier.
They were also invited to work with Moment Factory on the scripting for the multimedia room at the Museum of Ingenuity J. Armand Bombardier, which pieces together the history of Bombardier as an immersive journey.
Her boldness and sensitivity allowed Bissonnette to become the Bombardier family’s head archivist. A leading expert in honouring those who have shaped its history, she was able to showcase key individuals such as André Bombardier, Jean-Louis Fontaine and Laurent Beaudouin.
In 2012, the two partners and friends produced Le vieil âge et le rire by famed director Fernand Dansereau. A heartfelt documentary that explores the experience of aging, it won the Audience Award at the Rendez-vous du Cinéma Québécois and enjoyed a six-week theatrical run at Cinéma Beaubien, after which it also took home the Coup de Cœur prize from the APCQ (Association des Propriétaires de Cinémas du Québec) in January 2013.
Parallel to this success, Nathalie Bissonnette and Ginette Petit acquired the rights to four works: Ça sent la coupe, a novel by Matthieu Simard, adapted for the screen by the author himself and directed by Patrice Sauvé; And The Birds Rained Down, a novel by Jocelyne Saucier, written and directed by Louise Archambault. An animated production was also added to their growing list of passion projects: Space Cadet, based on the illustrated musical tale by Kid Koala (Eric San), directed by the artist with a screenplay by Mylène Chollet. More recently, both women acquired the Canadian broadcasting rights to Dernières nouvelles du Cosmos, a fascinating documentary that immerses us in the sharp mind of a young woman with nonverbal autism.
But that’s not all! At the end of 2015, two theatrically released documentaries were met with resounding success. The first was Le pays qui dit NON, directed by veteran documentarian Hélène Pichette. The second, Hôtel La Louisiane, directed in Paris by Michel La Veaux and screened at many cinemas both at home and in Europe, was awarded the Communications and Society prize at the 38th edition of the Festival du Cinéma International en Abitibi Témiscamingue.
On February 24, 2017, Ça sent la coupe (distributed by Les Films Séville) was released theatrically across Quebec and chosen as the opening film for the Rendez-vous du Cinéma Québécois. In July 2018, principal photography began on And The Birds Rained Down, a feature film shot entirely in rural areas. Its initial theatrical release is set for September 13, 2019.
Nathalie Bissonnette is also known for her generous commitment to FIFA, where she served as board member for many years. Of late, she has served as board member on the J. Armand Bombardier Foundation and has also completed the director development program offered at the University of Toronto’s Rothman School of Management and the McGill Executive Institute in order to live up to the administrator position she was entrusted with.
Now responsible for business development at OUTSIDERS Films, she remains passionate and keenly interested in emerging film industries and new technologies. She also keeps her eyes open for opportunities to develop partnerships with less coveted markets in the cultural sector.
Lastly, Nathalie Bissonnette is currently writing and directing her next documentary feature, Il était une fois… moi - toi - nous. This ambitious project will try to answer the question: If we had found one of the keys to Socrates’ “know thyself”, wouldn’t we be able to live in a happier world?