40 years of cinema: Nicole Robert looks back on her beginnings with La guerre des tuques

40 years of cinema: Nicole Robert looks back on her beginnings with La guerre des tuques


Nicole Robert had no production experience when Rock Demers recruited her in the early 1980s to produce with him La guerre des tuques , the first film in his famous Tales for All series. The click was instantaneous: “I immediately realized that it was my place”, confides the producer of Karmina, Québec-Montréal< strong> and White Dog, which this year celebrates 40 years of career in the film industry. 

“What does a producer do?” It was with the candor of her youth that Nicole Robert asked this question to Rock Demers when the late producer offered her a job by his side shortly before the shooting of the cult film La guerre des tuques >. 

A graduate of the School of Fine Arts in graphic design, Ms. Robert had never considered working as a producer. Instead, she had just launched her own animation company, Animabec, after participating in the creation of a clip around the song Québec Love, by Robert Charlebois.

“ I first answered Rock that I was going to think about it because I had just founded my company, she relates in an interview with Journal

“But he came back to the charge by offering me to become vice-president of Productions La Fête. I embarked on the adventure. He didn't know how to produce and I didn't know how to produce. But he had this visionary side to set up a project of Tales for allwho revolutionized the production of children's films in Quebec and even around the world. So I had the chance to start my career as a producer with popular success. And I also realized that this is what I wanted to do in life.”

Nicole Robert did not stay long at Productions La Fête, however. After producing La guerre des tuques and Operation peanut butteralongside Rock Demers, the young producer wanted to develop her own projects by launching her company, Lux Films. Laura Laur, her first feature film produced solo in 1989, was, by her own admission, one of the most complicated of her career.  

« I almost died there, she admits. I couldn't fund it. I even put my house up for sale. And in the end, the film didn't quite work…”

After this commercial failure, the producer quickly got back on track, producing in quick succession Requiem pour un beau sans-coeur and Windigo, by Robert Morin, then the comedy Karmina, by Gabriel Pelletier, which had great popular success in 1996. In 2000, she joined forces with Pelletier to found, with Richard Speer and Jacques Langlois, a new box production called Go Films.

Encouraging the next generation

It was also at the turn of the millennium that Nicole Robert had an encounter that changed her career. The producer was then looking for an up-and-coming filmmaker to direct an adaptation of Principe du geyser, a novel by Stéphane Bourguignon. Columnist Michel Coulombe recommended that he watch the first short films by a certain Ricardo Trogi. NicoleRobert. We developed The Geyser Principletogether, but it didn't work. I asked him if he had another script, and that's when he told me about Québec-Montréal. It was the beginning of a beautiful and long association. Ricardo was my king!” launches the company that has produced all the films written by Trogi, including Biological Clock and 1991

Nicole Robert has always had an eye for launch the careers of young filmmakers. In addition to Ricardo Trogi, she produced Éric Tessier’s first feature films (Sur le threshold), Yves Pelletier (Les Aimants), Patrice Sauvé (Cheech) and Yves-Christian Fournier (Everything is perfect) . 

Even though she recently sold her Go Films company, Nicole Robert has no plans to retire just yet. She is currently developing several projects in parallel, including an English-language series based on a novel by Patrick Senécal, Le Vide.

“I'm an active person in life, so I don't know what I would do if I quit. I love this job too much to stop,” she concludes.

The film White Dog is currently showing.

Nicole Robert in 10 outstanding films: 

The War of the Toques , by André Melançon (1984)

Requiem for a Beautiful Heartless, by Robert Morin (1992 )

Karmina, by Gabriel Pelletier (1996)

Quebec-Montreal , by Ricardo Trogi (2002)

On the threshold, by Éric Tessier (2003)

The Magnets, by Yves Pelletier (2004)

Everything is perfect, by 'Yves-Christian Fournier (2008)

Nelly, by Anne Émond (2016)

Sympathy for the Devil, by Guillaume de Fontenay (2019)

White Dog, by Anaïs Barbeau- Lavalette (2022 )