Jean-Marc JM Duchesne
Artist, Educator, Producer, Filmmaker & Photo Journalist
Dual Citizenships: United States & Canada
Born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada until I was forced to move to Canada when my parents divorced at age 11, I completed secondary school education in Longueuil, Quebec. Upon graduation, I left for the Gold Coast of USA where I studied Cinema and Journalism at UCLA.
I did strive to work in the film industry but circumstances announced themselves otherwise. An opportunity to begin working professionally as a Director/Producer for the new created TQS television network enticed me to return to Quebec. After four successive Can Pro AA-market Fall launch awards, more than 900 promotional ads, multiple national advertisements, and years of filling-in to direct live nightly news telecasts were not enough to curb my desire of returning to Hollywood to work in the motion picture industry.
Without ever giving up I knocked on every big studio door. Subsequently, a fortuitous moment to meet with Jeffrey Katzenberg at Walt Disney Studios presented itself. It is with that encounter that I landed a job as a Production Assistant, and later as Associate Producer for Hollywood Pictures and Touchstone. After five feature films including Sister Act and Honey, I Blew Up the Baby, I was becoming disillusioned by the politics in Tinsel Town and decided to return to Canada to raise a family.
During this period, I began a private production company, JMD Films inc, to produce advertisements, documentaries, animated show openings and independent television productions. Eventually landing an important marketing campaign with Télé-Québec public television. The success of that production allowed me to be employed full-time as Director/Producer of public affairs, historical and long format news programming. Shows like Les règles du jeu (Rules of The Game), Points Chauds (Hot Zones), and The Black Box—winner of a Gemini Award for Best Documentary Series.
During summer breaks, I would travel to remote locations with my own photo and video cameras. Thus, combining my passion for photo-making along with that of documentary filmmaking. From the Far East to Central Asia, North Africa, the Americas, and north to the Polar Ice Cap, my productions explored such topics as "Tibetans living in exile", "Nepalese wedged in a civil war", "The war on heroin in Afghanistan", "Freedom of the press in Cameroon", "The Inuit of the Newly Founded Territory of Nunavut", and "The Bunong People of Cambodia". These experiences offered me the immense privilege of filming and interviewing such historical figures as, “The Napalm Girl”: Kim Phuk, Pope Benedict XVI, The "Black Fisted" Olympic gold medalist from '68: Tommy Smith, Bill Clinton, Celine and Maman Dion, and His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama with whom I developed a relationship that went beyond the lens.
My photos of news and historical events, landscapes, and portraits were featured in numerous publications, books, websites, exhibitions, and art galleries. Noteworthy media outlets included UNESCO World Heritage, Le Cirque du Soleil, The Office of the Dalaï-Lama, The National Geographic Society (NGS), as well as other notable clients in the fields of tourism, food, travel & health.
As a freelancer, I begin directing, filming and producing music videos, news stories, live television, and eventually as the News Director for Radio-Canada Alberta.
Also, as a visual and digital artist, I continuously exhibited at galleries, cafes, and art houses. The sales of my artworks encouraged and allowed me to nourish my creative inner flame.
Completely out of the blue, the year 2014 was to unfold unto a new career path. In hindsight it was probably because media-related work was no longer as fulfilling as budgets and creative control had become very constraining. As I was completing an assignment in conjunction with GreenPeace, CBC and The National Geographic Society in the Cree Nation of Chisasibi the local High School Director requested if I could generously instruct a video-making workshop. Accepting, I unknowingly discovered just how much mentoring youthful indigenous youth would become personally invigorating. The initial experience eventually grew into a full-time teaching contract, and in 2016 the pursuit of a subsequent Bachelor degree in Education at Concordia University (2016-2020). While continuing to teach part-time in Montreal and Chisasibi during extended breaks, I obtained my degree with distinction, as well as, teacher certification from the Ministère de l'éduction du Québec (MEQ).
Today, I hold a permanent teaching position with the Cree School Board (CSB) at James Bay Eeyou School (JBES) in Chisasibi (Quebec), instructing Multimedia Arts, Visual Arts, Indigenous History, and Entrepreneurship to students of both the English and French language sectors. Today, living and working in this remote northern community does offer me solace--an environment where I feel equanimity between teaching and art.