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Learn more launches The Champions Series

Today we’re launching The Champions, Parts 1, 2 and 3, Donald Brittain’s seminal documentary series on the lives of Pierre Elliott Trudeau and René Lévesque. The online release of these films coincides with the date (April 20, 1968) that Pierre Elliott Trudeau first took office as prime minister of Canada.

In crafting these films, producer Adam Symansky commented that Brittain was “drawing mythical figures. These were the last larger-than-life Canadian politicians. They believed what they said about culture and society and they were the embodiment of their beliefs.”

In tracing the careers of these noted politicians, Brittain was also able to explore the relationship between them. The film chronicles events such as Lévesque leaving the Liberal party, Trudeau becoming federal Minister of Justice, Trudeau’s electoral victories, the October Crisis, the rise to power of the PQ, the drama of the first Quebec referendum and the repatriation of the Canadian Constitution.

As Brittain himself once said, “”When people came to me to do a film on Trudeau, I said no. When people came to me to do a film on Lévesque, I said no. When they came to me and said, ‘Do a film on Lévesque and Trudeau,’ then I got interested right away…they’d been allies and they had been enemies…and so now I’ve got a drama.”

So sit back, and enjoy the drama.

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  1. Re Screening Room and truly artistically realized films: Why not screen an older classic (not well known), The Wish (1970), dir: Martin Duckworth and a more recent one (not known at all), Pegi Nicol: Something Dancing About Her (2005) dir: Michael Ostroff.

    — Peter Harcourt,

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