Born in Montreal, Marie-Hélène Cousineau is a filmmaker. She received an MFA in communication studies and production from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, and an MA in art history from the Université du Québec à Montréal, and has taught at different colleges and at Concordia University in Montreal. She is known for her thoughtful, feminist and cross-cultural work, either in drama or documentaries.
In 1990 Marie-Hélène Cousineau moved to Igloolik, Nunavut, where she was integral to the development of women’s video and film production of this Arctic region. In 1991, she founded the Tarriaksuk Video Centre with Zacharias Kunuk and Norman Cohn, and established Arnait Video Productions, with Madeline Ivalu and Susan Avingaq. The films coming out of this organization have been seen around the world for the last 25 years in musuems, art galleries, broadcasters and film festivals.
With Madeline Ivalu she co-directed her first feature Before Tomorrow, an historical drama set in 1840’s and based on a novel by acclaimed Danish writer Jorn Riel. The film won the CITY-TV Award for Best Canadian First Feature Film at the Toronto International Film Festival 2008 and many other Canadian awards.
Her installation Perdre et Retrouver le Nord (Coming Home and Loosing Touch) was presented at la Berlinale in 2013 (Forum Expended) and at the opening of Ryerson Image Centre in Toronto. In 2014, the film SOL, co-directed with Susan Avingaq, won the Grand Prize for Best Canadian Feature at Rencontres Internationales du Documentaire de Montreal , was selected by TIFF in their Top Ten Canadian Films 2015 and won the Best Documentary Screen Award in Toronto 2016. The film is a poignant investigation about the death of a young Inuit artist and sheds light on the underlying social issues of Canada’s North that have resulted in its high suicide rate.
In 2014 she was awarded the Birks Diamond Tribute Women in Film at the Toronto International Film Festival. In 2019 she produced and directed Restless River, her 5th feature, based on a novel by Canadian iconic writer, Gabrielle Roy.
She lives in Montreal. She is available for writing, directing and producing.