Manon Barbeau


Documentary filmmaker and entrepreneur, Manon Barbeau has engaged with Indigenous youth using video and music creation to give voice to more than 40 communities in Canada and South America.

Manon Barbeau is the co-founder and general director of Wapikoni Mobile. Barbeau has been a director and screenwriter for over thirty years and has worked as a filmmaker for several organizations, including Télé-Québec and the National Film Board of Canada. She has written hundreds of scripts, and produced a dozen of award-winning feature films. 

In 2003, Manon Barbeau founded Vidéo Paradiso, a mobile studio for street youth. With the Atikamekw Band Council and the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Youth Network, she co-founded in 2003 Wapikoni Mobile, an initiative supported by the National Film Board of Canada. Wapikoni Mobile, a mobile video and music creation studio for First Nations youth, produced more than 870 short films. These works are a unique cultural heritage in the world. 

In 2008, she founded the Maison des Cultures Nomades, which has produced many multimedia shows (among others, Hip Hop tout en couleurs, Franco-Rythmes and Le 8e Feu) that bring First Nations musicians together on stage with artists from many different cultural communities. That same year, she created Productions Totam, which produced the documentary films Wapikoni, escale à Kitcisakik and Les Indiens, l’aigle et le dindon, as well as several corporate videos, as a means to offer professional development for First Nations filmmakers by pairing them with professional filmmakers. 

In 2014, with some fifteen international partners, she founded the INAAC (International Network of Aboriginal Audiovisual Creation). Wapikoni Mobile’s shorts have won 117 prizes at national and international festivals. Wapikoni itself received the Rights and Freedoms award from the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission (2011), the Plural + Award from the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the International Organization for Migration (2012), and the Intercultural Innovation Award from the UNAOC and BMW Group (2014).

Manon Barbeau was selected as an Ashoka Fellow in 2009 and received the UQAM Recognition Award (2010), the TELUS Excellence Award, and the Femme d’affaires du Québec/Non-profit Award (2012). She was named an officer of the Ordre national du Québec in 2014 and received the Albert-Tessier Award, the top film award granted by the Quebec government. In 2016, she was named a member of the Order of Canada. She served as chair of the Observatoire du documentaire, from 2006 to 2008. Since its inception, she served as board chair of Culture Montréal, and as chair from 2013 to 2016. In 2016, the Wapikoni Mobile became a pan-Canadian organization and doubled its activities. It expanded its creative workshops and its dissemination across Canada, giving voice to more First Nations youth. The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation appointed Manon Barbeau as mentor in 2017.

  • March 28, 2019
    2017 Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Mentor, Manon Barbeau has been awarded the Montreal Women's Y Foundation’s 2019 Women of Distinction Award in the category Arts, Culture and Design.     The Women of Distinction Award recognizes outstanding contributions in various fields from women who have the capacity to influence, innovate and inspire.
  • January 21, 2019
    The short film Katatjatuuk Kangirsumi (Throat Singing in Kangirsuk), co-directed by Eva Kaukai and Manon Chamberland and produced by 2017 mentor Manon Barbeau, will have its world premiere at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival on January 24th. The film was created as part of a workshop offered by Wapikoni Mobile, a traveling studio for training and audiovisual creation dedicated to First Nations youth. Manon Barbeau is founding president of Wapikoni Mobile. Congratulations to the entire team of the film!