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Memorable Manitobans: Jean Arsin (1887-1950)

Filmmaker.

Born in Quebec on 23 August 1887, he came to Winnipeg around 1909 and was the chief filmmaker in the city until 1920. He was also a pioneer animator. In 1910, in a makeshift studio in in his cottage on Selkirk Street in Winnipeg’s North End, he and fellow cinematographer Charles Lambly created Canada’s first in a series of 35-mm paper-animated cartoons. Unfortunately all of their works have been lost. After 1910 he was the Winnipeg stringer for Fox Movietone News. He filmed parts of the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike and some of his rare footage, including “views and close-ups of the street rioting,” was released in late August 1919 as part of a British Pathe newsreel on the event. A month earlier Arsin had invited Winnipeg city council members to a private showing, which took place at the Lyceum Theater on 5 August 1919. Following the showing he offered to sell a five minute film of the strike to the City of Winnipeg but his offer was declined by the finance committee. He moved to Montreal in 1920 and three years later established Cinecraft, a company specializing in producing publicity films. He continued as a documentary filmmaker until the late 1940s. He died at Montreal, Quebec on 3 January 1950.

See also:

Manitoba History: Jean Arsin’s Winnipeg General Strike Film by Michael Dupuis
Manitoba History, Number 63, Spring 2010

Sources:

Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by J. M. Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

We thank Michael Dupuis for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 13 June 2016

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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