Born in France in 1944, Jean-Daniel Lafond taught philosophy from 1966 to 1971 and wrote film criticism for La Revue du Cinéma while carrying out research in the educational sciences, specializing in media pedagogy. He became a Canadian citizen in 1981 and has since devoted his time to cinema, writing and radio.
After working with filmmakers Arthur Lamothe and Pierre Perrault, Lafond rose to international prominence as a leading documentarist. In 1985, he directed his first feature-length documentary Les traces du rêve (Dream Tracks) for the National Film Board. He has since written and directed more than a dozen films that embody his commitment to using creative filmmaking to document the political upheavals of our time, including Tropique Nord (Tropic North) (1994), La liberté en colère (1994), Haïti dans tous nos rêves (Haïti in All Our Dreams) (1995), L’Heure de Cuba (Last Call for Cuba) (1999), Le temps des barbares (The Barbarian Files) (1999), Salam Iran, une lettre persane (Salam Iran, a Persian Letter) (2002), Le faiseur de théâtre (2002) and Le cabinet du Docteur Ferron (The Cabinet of Dr. Ferron) (2003). His most recent work includes Le fugitif (American Fugitive), filmed in 2005 in Iran and the United States.
A seasoned observer of the world and of our times, Lafond has crafted films that tell touching, philosophical and thought-provoking stories that resonate with the call of the road and mirror the fates of men and nations. Parallel to his involvement in cinema, Lafond has developed an original body of work for radio (Radio France and CBC Radio-Canada) and published several books on the cinema in French. He co-founded the Montreal International Documentary Film Festival, serving as its president until 2005.
Lafond is married to Michaëlle Jean, the twenty-seventh Governor General of Canada, and is actively involved in the responsibilities of his office as Viceregal Consort of Canada.