Membership Spotlight: Daniel Pellerin

Membership Spotlight: Daniel Pellerin

When Daniel Pellerin first started working in cinema, he was already a talented music engineer, and he was puzzled by one question: why did so much film sound so bad? “I had Hendrix albums on vinyl, and they all sounded amazing,” he says, “but that Hendrix film by D.A. Pennebaker? It was one of the worst sounding films I’d ever heard! I thought, why does this movie sound like I’m hearing it through a little speaker? That’s what I wanted to find out. Challenge was the strongest magnet for me.”

This desire to make films sound better has led Pellerin to a long career working around the world and with some of the most prestigious filmmakers in the industry. From his work with seminal Canadian documentarian Ron Mann to collaborating with Atom Egoyan on all of his feature films, Pellerin seeks out projects that are exploratory and that push the envelope. In 2015/6 alone he worked on Tiffany Hsiung’s The Apology (2016), Rama Rau’s The League of Exotique Dancers (2016), and Jennifer Di Cresce’s Mr Zaritsky on TV (2016), among others.

From his studio above Toronto’s Royal Theatre, he is constantly at work mentoring a new generation of sound engineers in the form of his younger apprentices. “I only work with younger people. I teach them not to cut any corners and to always go for the best possible result. They’re very strong, and they understand what I’m talking about.”

Contributing to the standard of excellence in Canadian film 

He feels it’s no coincidence that he’s worked on over 100 feature documentaries. “Doc filmmakers think in real world terms. They demand excellence and don’t accept limitations. They want the sound to be glorious and big, and they’re willing to ask for it.” Pellerin, who talks as easily and enthusiastically about astrology as he does Joy Division albums, is attracted to the obsessive, radical character of documentary: “Documentarians express to people things that aren’t on the beaten path. They have to be patient and take the long view, whether it’s about racism or politics. They have to be very patient about the wisdom they’re going to impart to people.” 

Despite the fact that his work takes him around the world, Pellerin is passionate about making his home base here in Canada. “How many countries have people making films of the highest order, all under one roof?”  That’s part of the reason he joined DOC: to contribute to the standard of excellence of Canadian film and to help push it to even greater heights. “We need to bring our visions to reality, show the world our excellence. We need to do our best. This is our world, but we have to start our projects at home.”

For more information, visit Daniel Pellerin's profiles on LinkedIn and IMDb