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Film academician Father Gaston Roberge passes away

Kolkata, Aug 26 (PTI) Film academician Father Gaston Roberge who mentored thousands of young film makers in his three-decade long career died here on Wednesday. He was 85.

The Jesuit film writer/critic/historian, who hailed from French-speaking Montreal, died of a massive cardiac arrest at St Xavier’s College infirmary where he had been living alone, according to a source at the Jesuit organisation.

A spokesperson of Chitrabani, the oldest film media training institute founded by Roberge in West Bengal, also confirmed the news.

The French-Canadian film historian did not have any immediate family or relative in the country, the source said.

Roberge had joined the order of the Jesuit Fathers in 1956 and came to Kolkata in 1961, where he joined St Xavier’s College.

In 1970, he set up Chitrabani which was an extension service of St Xavier’s College and the first film media training institute in the eastern region long before Rupkala Kendra by the West Bengal government, Jadavpur University film studies centre and Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute came up.

Being very close to film makers like Satyajit Ray, Roberge had inducted the auteur in the advisory panel of Chitrabani which introduced hundreds of film enthusiasts to the serious world of film making for years.

He had authored several books on Indian cinema which are still referred in film media studies. He had also started television programmes for UGC for Doordarshan National TV channel which is still running.

He retired as director of Chitrabani in the mid 90s.

Roberge then moved to the headquarters of the Society of Jesus in Rome as secretary for social communication, but returned to Kolkata in 1999 and started teaching film studies at St Xavier’s College.

Filmmaker Buddhadeb Dasgupta condoled the death of Father Gaston Roberge.

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