In November 2001, Quebec Painter Edmund Alleyn (1931-2004) agreed to be filmed in his Montreal studio by his daughter, filmmaker Jennifer Alleyn. There, something unexpected happened : an authentic encounter, with no beating around the bush, no mask. From a few existential questions –about life, painting, death- thruth emerged. The artist died of cancer in December 2004 before Jennifer could film him again. After inheriting his studio, she found herself in this sacred space, still imbued with the presence and imagination of her father. Her film is an attempt to prolong the dialogue, to find the missing fragments of her father’s life. Edmund Alleyn was an intense and complex man of integrity who left his mark on Canadian art history.
I’ve watched My Father’s Studio several times, each with great emotion. I'm always left with the impression of having witnessed an intimate and creative dialogue between images from the painter Edmund Alleyn and those of his daughter Jennifer, the film's director. As someone who appreciates films about art, I see this documentary as a lesson in life and in making art. In life, because it's about a sensitive encounter in which the filmmaker uses her camera to record the legacy of her artist father—his workshop, home, paintings, photographs and writings—and immortalize it on film. It is here that we see the filmmaker uniting her creative freedom with the delicacy and strength that have become her signature. She takes pleasure in animating the still water in a painting, filming the slow movements of the screen door swinging in the wind, or a fixed shot of various items scattered across a table, as if one of Edmund Alleyn’s paintings. As we watch, her artistic lineage becomes clear. My Father’s Studio is (also) art.
Transmedia producer and creator
Jennifer Alleyn is an award-winning Canadian filmmaker, writer and photographer living in Montreal. Born in Switzerland in 1969, Alleyn obtained a degree in Film Production at Concordia University in 1991. She jumped right away into The Race Around the World (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) to shoot 26 documentaries within 26 weeks on 5 different continents, on her own. In the last ten years, she has been directing and producing independent films, switching from fiction to documentary, art house cinema and television: Cosmos (1997), winner of the CICEA award in Cannes, My Father’s Studio (2008), Best Canadian film at the FIFA; Ten times Dix (2011) which received the ARTV Springboard to the World Award. In 2018, she directed and produced her first feature, Impetus, a hybrid drama which blurs the frontier between fiction and cinema-vérité, for which she receives the Creation Award 2019 for her “outstanding contribution to the development of Québec cinema” from L’Observatoire du cinéma au Québec, in collaboration with the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of the Université de Montréal.