MONTREAL — Francois Macerola, a "visionary" arts executive who was a champion for Canadian cinema and headed major cultural institutions including Telefilm Canada, has died.
"Today, with the death of Mr. Francois Macerola, Canada's cultural milieu lost a longstanding ally and leader who possessed a unique vision and an innate gift for communications," Christa Dickenson, Telefilm's executive director, said Thursday in a statement.
The Montreal-born Macerola was a leader in various arts disciplines in Quebec throughout his career, which he began as a lawyer.
At Telefilm Canada, he was executive director from 1995 to 2001, and chair of the board from 2001 to 2002.
He also had top jobs at the National Film Board of Canada, Place des Arts, Cirque du Soleil, and the Societe de developpement des entreprises culturelles du Quebec, among others.
Macerola helped expand Canadian cinema's presence at festivals and markets around the world, and spearheaded "a remarkable increase in co-production activity," said Telefilm.
He helped set up the Canada Feature Film Fund and forge the very first partnership between Telefilm and the private sector through the Canadian Television Fund, now the Canada Media Fund.
"Throughout his career, Francois Macerola established himself as a visionary, builder, skilled strategist and leader with a talent for bringing people together," Dickenson said.
"He was energetic, affable and open — he saw the big picture — and working with him was a stimulating experience. A man of action, he was also a loving and devoted father to his two children, Stephanie and Louis."
The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television and the NFB were among those who shared tributes on social media Thursday.
"Sending out our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Francois Macerola, a man who made an indelible mark on Quebec's cultural sector," the academy posted on Twitter.