Lina Gagnon died on February 4. Her loss will be felt especially keenly in Montreal, where her stellar career as an animator and educator unfolded across half a century.
After getting a bachelor’s degree in aesthetics and art history at the Université du Québec à Montréal, Gagnon entered the animation industry in 1973. She was hired as an animation assistant at the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), working on films such as Co Hoedeman’s Lumaaq: An Eskimo Legend (1975).
Her first major credit came on Beginnings (Premiers Jours) (1980), a mystical allegory of a human life rendered in subtle pastels. When director Clorinda Warny died during production, Gagnon completed the short film alongside Suzanne Gervais. It went on to win many accolades, including a BAFTA nomination and a special jury award at Annecy.