Expo 67 Mission Impossible

2017 | DOCUMENTARY | 68 minutes |
SYNOPSIS:

This documentary thriller invites us to relive the incredible adventure of the men behind Man and His World. Thanks to unprecedented access to over 80,000 archival documents and uncensored accounts by the movers and shakers behind this success story, filmmakers Guylaine Maroist, Eric Ruel and Michel Barbeau invite us to relive the white-knuckle countdown to the grand opening of Expo 67.

Constructed like a grand epic, Expo 67 Mission Impossible will keep you on the edge of your seat, starring the characters who were the “Mad Men” of Montreal. The organizers had only 1,628 days to build an island, 128 pavilions, three bridges and enough trains to transport tens of millions of visitors. A computer program from the Stanford Research Institute predicted failure. The first organizing committee resigned. Speculators started getting edgy. Ottawa and Quebec City were reluctant to cough up the cash for an event that costs more than all the bridges in Montreal.

Despite interminable foot-dragging in the office of Lester B. Pearson and almost systematic sabotage on the part of journalists, everything is ready for the official opening on April 28, 1967. The next six months are insane: 183 days during which Montreal’s Mad Men—Robert Shaw, Yves Jasmin, Philippe de Gaspé Beaubien and a few others—overcome all obstacles: threats by the Black Panthers against Lyndon Johnson; a subway strike; bomb threats by FLQ militants; endless line-ups; a housing crisis that led to various comical situations; chaos during Grace Kelly’s visit; the political shockwave caused by Charles de Gaulle’s declaration “Vive le Quebec libre!” and missing children . . . all with an unbelievable procession of visitors, including 63 heads of state, 3,000 guests of honour, 35,000 journalists and 25,000 artists from around the world.

In the 20th century, no other world’s fair such a stir in its host country and around the globe. Expo 67 Mission Impossible recounts how the powerful team of artistic directors exploited cutting-edge ideas and technologies—introducing visitors to space frame architecture, Imax, hands-free phones and pictograms—and revolutionized everything from arts and culture to local cuisine. This is where Montreal’s design, fashion and advertising industries were born. Expo 67 turned out to be the fabulous utopia its creators had envisioned . . . and its effects are still evident 50 years later.

Awards

  • 2018 – Gemini Award winner for Best Documentary
  • 2018 – Gemini Award winner for Best Screenplay

PHOTOS

CREDITS

Director
Guylaine Maroist
Michel Barbeau
Eric Ruel

Producer
Guylaine Maroist
Eric Ruel

Script and narration
Guylaine Maroist

Scriptwriting and narration consultant
Sylvain Cormier

Director of photography
Michel Barbeau
Richard Hamel
Jean-François Perreault
Stéphane Ricard
Eric Ruel

Editor
Martin Gagnon
Eric Ruel

Sound editor
Martin Gagnon
François Lacasse
Eric Ruel

Sound mix
Studio Interlock Audio-Sia, François Lacasse

Research
Michel Barbeau
Julie Barlow
Carmen Desmeules
Pierre-Alexis Jasmin
Guylaine Maroist
Jean-Benoit Nadeau

Consultants
Daniel Dupré
Pierre Huet
Sergei Plekhanov

With
Philippe de Gaspé Beaubien
Yves Jasmin
Nan-b de Gaspé Beaubien
Diana Nicholson