Magnus Isacsson, a Swedish-Canadian filmmaker, was born in Sweden in 1948 and moved to Canada in 1970. He studied political science at the University of Stockholm in Sweden and later in Montreal, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the Université de Montreal in 1973. He also studied history and cinema at McGill University and also took classes at Concordia University in Montreal, though he did not receive a degree from either institution. He was married to Jocelyne Clarke, documentary filmmaker and founder of Productions Pléiades. They had two children, Anna and Béthièle.
Early during his career, Isacsson worked as a radio producer for Swedish Broadcasting and the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC). From 1980 to 1986 he was a producer for CBC’s English and French-language networks and worked as a producer for several programs, including Le Point, The Fifth State, and Contrechamps. Isacsson became an independent filmmaker in 1986.
With a documentary filmmaking career of over 25 years, Isacsson produced, wrote and directed several documentaries about critical social and political issues. During his career, he won several awards. Notably, he was the recipient of the Golden Sheaf Award for Uranium in 1991, and his film Power won best documentary at both the Paris International Environmental Film Festival in 1997 and at the Lausanne festival in 1999. Pressure Point (1999) received the Quebec Film Critics award for Best Documentary in 2000.
Magnus Isacsson was awarded the 2004 Prix Lumières from the Quebec Directors’ Association, and in 2012, Isacsson was named member Emeritus of the association. He was also a member of the Documentary Association of Canada, the Association des Réalisateurs et Réalisatrices du Québec (ARRQ), the Société des auteurs de radio, télévision et cinéma (Sartec), and was a former vice-president of the Observatoire du documentaire,
Isacsson was also an educator and throughout his career taught several courses and workshops about documentary film production. He taught at Concordia University in Montreal, Whitman College, the Quebec film school and at University of Montreal, among others. He also taught audiovisual production in South Africa and Zimbabwe and he collaborated in the production of teaching material Produire en Vidéo Légère volumes 1, 2 and 3.
His last film, Granny Power (2014), was completed and released posthumously by his wife Jocelyne Clarke.
Magnus Isacsson died in August 2012.