Tessier, Albert

Albert Tessier, producer, priest and educator (b at Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade, Qué 6 Mar 1895; d at Trois-Rivières, 13 Sept 1976). Born into a peasant family, he joined the priesthood in 1920. Influenced by a friend who made amateur films, he himself began to produce short films about the people, places and things around him. He was interested in nature (Dans le bois I, 1930), the land (Hommage à notre paysannerie, 1938), art (Quatre artistes canadiens, 1939) and religious subjects (Gloire à l'eau, 1935, Congrès eucharistique trifluvien, 1941). In 1937 he was named visitor to the écoles ménagères supérieures (domestic girls schools). Created in the middle of an economic crisis, the purpose of these schools was to ensure the survival of urban and rural families by enhancing the prestige of their essential roles as wives and mothers to unattached young women of all classes, and to instil a real feminine culture. Tessier was also an ardent propagandist for the "écoles de bonheur" (schools of happiness), family institutes opened in 1950 to counter the increase in traditional colleges for women. Moreover, from now on his films were directed towards women's education: Écoles ménagères régionales (1941), Femmes dépareillées (1948), Écoles de bonheur (1954). Tessier often found himself pitching his films to the public, and he stopped making them during the 1950s. His filmography, which demonstrates sensitivity to Québécois life and culture, includes some 70 titles. Since he was a pioneer of Quebec documentary films, the Québec government instituted the Albert-Tessier Award, an annual prize that highlights a contribution to the development of Québécois cinema.