Creators Who Inspire: Meet Karine Dubois

What if we stopped telling the same stories over and over again? That’s the challenge producer
and Picbois Productions founder Karine Dubois took on with her hit documentary web series Décoloniser l'histoire.

Karine Dubois
Karine Dubois

Broadcast by Télé-Québec, Décoloniser l'histoire recounts forgotten episodes of our history, from the segregation of Afrodescendants in Quebec to the forced sedentarization of the Naskapi, an originally nomadic First Nation. The form is short, the hosts are passionate, and the research work alone commands respect.

The idea for the project was born in the wake of Briser le code (2020), a Picbois Productions documentary about systemic racism that was interspersed with informative video clips that were much appreciated by viewers.

“My children are in school, and there is still a lot of work to be done to bring change to classrooms,” Dubois explains in an interview. “Since I have neither the energy nor the expertise to reform the education system, I wanted to make tools available to teachers. It speeds things up—that way, we won’t have to wait 25 years for curriculums to change.”

Karine Dubois is also the driving force behind Seuls, an acclaimed documentary financed by the CMF that was shown in schools across Canada’s French-speaking communities to teach students about the newcomer experience.

Seuls - still shot

What is most incredible about Décoloniser l'histoire is the way the show uses the past to shed light on the present. According to Dubois, the passage of time does not necessarily imply an evolution, especially when the same mistakes are constantly repeated.

I don’t know if it’s fortunate or depressing,” she laughs. “For the second season of Décoloniser l'histoire, Télé-Québec wanted to establish as many links as possible with the present. Sadly, that was easily accomplished, since history repeats itself. In describing a situation or mechanism of power that dates back 200 years, we realized that they still apply today. It’s incredible.”

The CMF supported the series' second season through our Digital Linear Series program, which helped secure a bigger team and more time for editing. “We were also able to increase production value,” Dubois adds. “There’s a lot more archival material featured, and we were able to make room for more infographics and animation.”

Décoloniser L'histoire Saison 2
Vanessa Destiné, Youssef Shoufan and Aïcha Bastien N'diaye, hosts of Décoloniser l'histoire

The success of the second season has the team considering a third one, but nothing is set in stone. Picbois Productions is also developing a new history-focused project, La bataille de Saint-Léonard, with director Félix Rose (Les Rose) attached. The film will take place in the pre-Bill 101 era, when a Montreal school board decided to gradually eliminate bilingual schools, creating extraordinary tensions between francophone, anglophone, and allophone residents of the Saint-Léonard borough.

“It’s a hefty project with many intersecting themes,” Dubois shares. “Marie-Hélène Beaudry, who is in charge of the archival research for Décoloniser l'histoire, will act as the production director.” 

The Canada Media Fund (CMF) fosters, develops, finances and promotes the production of Canadian content and applications for all audiovisual media platforms. The CMF guides Canadian content towards a competitive global environment by fostering industry innovation, rewarding success, enabling a diversity of voice and promoting access to content through public and private sector partnerships. The CMF receives financial contributions from the Government of Canada and Canada’s cable, satellite and IPTV distributors.
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