Facing Champlain, A Work in 3 Dimensions

Tuesday May 13 2008

His achievements are imbued with courage, daring, and tenacity. Did it show in his face? Did he look benevolent, somber, or proud, or did his expression change with the hardships encountered in the New World?

His achievements are imbued with courage, daring, and tenacity. Did it show in his face? Did he look benevolent, somber, or proud, or did his expression change with the hardships encountered in the New World? These questions regarding Samuel de Champlain are at the heart of the spectacular 3D experience Facing Champlain, A Work in 3 Dimensions, starting May 14 at Centre d'interprétation de Place-Royale—just a stone's throw from where his Habitation was located! The 3D short work of fiction presents a few facts about Québec City's founder and his accomplishments, taking visitors on a journey of imagination in search of a depiction of this man, of whom no portrait exists. The challenge for the project team was to create a fictional film that gives the many visitors of all ages from Québec and elsewhere who visit the historic sites of Québec City's founding the desire to learn more about Champlain and those who helped him establish the first permanent home of French North America. Facing Champlain, A Work in 3 Dimensions was created by the National Film Board of Canada, the exhibition's major partner.

In addition to this unique projection, visitors can admire an impressive scale model of Québec City that combines the most up-to-date information on the city's occupation and architecture during the last years of Samuel de Champlain's life.

Longtime partners Musée de la civilisation and the NFB spared no effort to make this exhibition a memorable experience. Facing Champlain, A Work in 3 Dimensions is an innovative 3D film produced by Jean-François Pouliot that skillfully combines fiction and animation, with Pascale Montpetit in the role of young artist Mélissa Hébert and striking images to help visitors discover the man behind the historical figure.

"Place Royale and Samuel de Champlain are inextricably linked, because this is where he planted the seeds of French North America. Centre d'interprétation de Place-Royale is therefore a perfect site of memory to pay tribute to this great figure. Because Champlain was a visionary who continually pushed boundaries, we wanted to present him from a particularly bold and innovative angle, beyond time and space. Complemented with the scale model and tangible historical evidence, this exhibition is sure to attract the many visitors attending the 400th anniversary celebrations," said Musée de la civilisation CEO Claire Simard.

The National Film Board of Canada is pleased to continue its successful partnership with Musée de la civilisation to offer Québec City a cultural and heritage legacy on the occasion of its 400th anniversary that will go well beyond the 2008 celebrations. By taking part in the country's celebrations and events using this innovative artistic approach, the NFB is fulfilling its role as a public producer and purveyor of Canada's rich culture. NFB chair and government film commissioner Tom Perlmutter says that "with Facing Champlain, A Work in 3 Dimensions, the NFB offers spectators an experience that combines discovery and sincerity. An intermingling of documentary, fiction, and animation, Jean-François Pouliot's work poses questions about our history, revealing the numerous myths surrounding Champlain. Like the film's artist and the director himself, this helps us explore what this history means for us today."

As a complement to this unique cinematographic production, visitors can get an idea of Québec City's "urban" landscape in 1635 by examining a huge scale model produced by Michel Bergeron. Fort St-Louis overlooks Champlain's second habitation, while the home of Guillaume Hébert and his wife Hélène Desportes can be seen in the distance along with Notre-Dame-de-Recouvrance Chapel and the Hébert-Couillard farm. Côte de la Montagne can already be seen winding its way along the escarpment. The fragility of the colony is evident, but also the resistance of its first settlers. This scale model does not claim to be a perfect representation of the time, but rather as accurate an interpretation as possible based on data collected in rare documentary sources of the period and recent archeological digs.

At the entrance to the exhibition and around the scale model, artifacts recall the millennial presence of the First Nations on the shores of the St. Lawrence River (arrowheads, spears) and permanent occupation by the French starting in the 16th century (inkstand, kettle, pipes).

Facing Champlain, A Work in 3 Dimensions is a fabulous blend of history and new technology for the occasion of Québec City's 400th anniversary. Starts May 14 2008 at Musée de la place Royale, 27 rue Notre-Dame. A collaboration with the National Film Board of Canada, creator of Facing Champlain, A Work in 3 Dimensions and the exhibition's major partner.

Information and Reservations
Press relations : Serge Poulin, 418 528-2072 / Email

– Musée de la civilisation –

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Quebec City (Québec) G1K 8R2
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– Musée de l'Amérique –
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Quebec City (Québec) G1R 3V6
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Toll-free 1 866 710-8031