Documentary filmmaker Pepita Ferrari dies at 66

The veteran director and producer was a prolific collaborator with the National Film Board and served as executive director of DOC.

image002Documentary filmmaker and producer Pepita Ferrari has passed away at the age of 66. Ferrari died at her home in Lac Brome on Dec. 30.

Ferrari was a well-known and respected member of Canada’s documentary filmmaking community. She co-founded Films Piché Ferrari with partner Louis Piché in 1989 and served as executive director and board member of the Documentary Organization of Canada (DOC) from 2015 to 2017. She also joined Cinema Politica as a board member in 2012, helped found the Eastern Townships Film Festival, and served as programming jury member at RIDM.

The veteran filmmaker had a long history with the National Film Board of Canada (NFB). She directed and co-produced her first documentary, By Woman’s Hand, at the NFB in 1994, and went on to collaborate with the NFB on six more documentaries. One of her most notable NFB projects was Capturing Reality: The Art of Documentary, which portrayed the creative process of more than 30 documentary filmmakers, such as Anthropocene co-director Jennifer Baichwal and German director Werner Herzog. The doc earned Ferrari a Gemini nomination for Best Arts Documentary Program or Series.

“Documentary filmmaking and the Quebec film community have lost a dear friend,” said NFB commissioner Claude Joli-Coeur in a statement. “As a writer, producer and filmmaker—and a generous mentor to emerging filmmakers—Pepita was a true champion of documentary cinema. Many of her works focused on the achievements of strong, pioneering women artists—and that is how we will remember Pepita Ferrari.”