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Dorothy Todd Hénaut

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Dorothy Todd Hénaut
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Hamilton, Ontario Canada
🏳️ Nationality
🏫 EducationBA French, University of Sorbonne
💼 Occupation
Director, Filmmaker, Producer

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Dorothy Hénaut (born 1935) is a Canadian feminist director, producer and filmmaker who is best known for producing the controversial documentary Not A Love Story, and directing Les Terribles Vivantes, a documentary film series about Canadian authors Louky Bersianik, Jovette Marchessault and Nicole Brossard’.

Personal Life[edit]

Dorothy Todd Hénaut was married to Serge Henaut in 1954 until they divorced in 1964. She is the mother of two children, Suzanne Henaut and Marc Henaut. Suzanne Henaut took in her mother’s footsteps, producing a number of films.[1]

Upon retirement, Dorothy like to draw and paint.[2]


Dorothy first began her work at the NFB in 1968, when she participated in Challenge for Change, a research program founded in the democratisation of media and social role of documentaries.[3] From 1977-1989, she produced and directed documentaries for Studio D, the NFB Women's studio, among others. She has also directed several avant-garde films on ecology, and produced Témiscamingue, Quebec for filmmaker Martin Duckworth.

Outside of her expansive filmography, Dorothy Todd Hénaut has participated in a variety of film organisations and festivals throughout Canada. She is a founding member of the Rencontres Internationales du Documentaire de Montréal.[4] , the Vice-president of Les Etâts-Généraux des Créateurs et Créatrices de Cinéma et Vidéo [5] and the Co-Chair of the Documentary Organisation of Canada (formerly known as the Canadian Independent Film Caucus). [6] Most recently, she has joined the board of the Montreal International Documentary Film Festival. [7]

In 2010, Dorothy was featured as a guest speaker for 'The Cultural is Political' session of the The Sixties Canadian Style conference at Brock University. The conference examined a wide array of topics such as nation-building and national identity, grassroots and protest movements, the counterculture and cultural politics, the Vietnam war, and art and music. [8] 

Her life and career is featured in the National Film Board of Canada's Making Movie History: A Portrait in 61 Parts by Joanne Robertson.[9]


Credited as a Director[10]
Year Title Notes
1974 The New Alchemist Documentary Short
1978 Sun, Wind & Wood Documentary Short
1979 Horse Drawn Magic Documentary Short
1986 Firewords Part 1: Louky Bersianik Documentary Short
1986 Firewords Part 2: Jovette Marchessault Documentary Short
1986 Firewords Part 3: Nicole Bossard Documentary Short
1988 A Song for Quebec Documentary
1992 Un Amour Naissant
1996 You Won't Need Running Shoes, Darling
Credited as a Producer[11]
Year Title Notes
1976 Temiscaming Quebec Documentary
1981 Not A Love Story: A Film About Pornography Documentary
1988 A Song for Quebec Documentary (co-producer)
1990 Fragments of a Conversation on Language Documentary Short
1996 You Won't Need Running Shoes, Darling

Praise and criticism[edit]

Dorothy's feminist film approach has often been praised and seen as a source of inspiration for many independent film-makers across Canada. Dorothy and her colleague Bonnie Klein have been praised for their "philosophy about democratic participation that shaped every aspect of the work, from the way to run training classes to the way editorial decisions are made." [12] Furthermore, their feminist approach has often been considered a source of inspiration for many independent film-makers, "animators, teachers and community leaders generally who are now applying Challenge for Change techniques across Canada" [13].

On the other hand, Hénaut has also been criticised for her personal video portrait, You Won't Need Running Shoes, Darling; a documentary which she both directed and produced about her own parents. Jack Helbig stated that the film "ranges from sweet to tedious, frequently crossing the line between personal film-making and sheer self-indulgence" and that it is "so amateurishly filmed that all the drama and import are drained away".[14]


  1. "Suzanne Hénaut". IMDb. Retrieved 2019-03-26.
  2. "Dorothy Todd Hénaut". Réalisatrices Équitables. Retrieved 2019-03-26.
  3. Demers, Jacques (1989). "Le dictionnaire du cinéma québécois, sous la direction de Michel Coulombe et Marcel Jean. Montréal, Boréal, 1988. xxv, 530 p." Documentation et bibliothèques. 35 (2): 66. doi:10.7202/1028134ar. ISSN 0315-2340.
  4. "Dorothy Henaut | ComMediaConverge 2015". www.commediaconverge.ca. Retrieved 2019-03-26.
  5. "Dorothy Henaut | ComMediaConverge 2015". www.commediaconverge.ca. Retrieved 2019-03-26.
  6. "Dorothy Henaut | ComMediaConverge 2015". www.commediaconverge.ca. Retrieved 2019-03-26.
  7. "Staff and Board Members". RIDM. Retrieved 2019-03-26.
  8. Says, Gaven. "Canada in the 1960s focus of upcoming conference". The Brock News, a news source for Brock University. Retrieved 2019-03-26.
  9. Canada, National Film Board of, Making Movie History: Dorothy Todd Hénaut, retrieved 2019-03-26
  10. "Dorothy Todd Henaut". IMDb. Retrieved 2019-03-26.
  11. "Dorothy Todd Hénaut". IMDb. Retrieved 2019-03-26.
  12. "Sight 'n Sound Appealers". Academic Therapy. 6 (3): 276–277. March 1971. doi:10.1177/105345127100600308. ISSN 0001-396X.
  13. "Sight 'n Sound Appealers". Academic Therapy. 6 (3): 276–277. March 1971. doi:10.1177/105345127100600308. ISSN 0001-396X.
  14. Helbig, Jack. "You Won't Need Running Shoes, Darling". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 2019-03-26.

External links[edit]

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