Montreal-based director Malcolm Clarke won an Oscar on Sunday night for his short documentary The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life.
Clarke is British but has lived in Montreal since the mid-1990s. He shares the win with Nicholas Reed, a Brit who lives in Los Angeles.
The 38-minute film tells the story of Alice Herz-Sommer, whose devotion to music and her son helped her survive two years in a Nazi prison camp. She was believed to be the oldest Holocaust survivor before her death last week at age 110.
As Clarke accepted the award he said the filmmakers were struck by two things about Herz-Sommer: "Her amazing capacity for joy and her amazing capacity for forgiveness."
"The amazing Alice Sommer died one week ago today," said Clarke. "She was 110. She died quietly and so this ... is for Alice. She was a woman who taught everyone on my crew to be a little bit more optimistic and a little bit more happy about all the things that were happening in our lives. See the film — she'll help you live, I think, a much happier life."
Clarke previously won an Oscar in the best documentary short category in 1989 for You Don't Have to Die, about a child battling cancer who inspired other youngsters with the disease.
The Lady in Number Six isn't technically considered Canadian, because it wasn't funded by Canadians, but it was made by a crew of Montreal residents.
They include producer Frederic Bohbot, director of photography Kieran Crilly, editor Carl Freed and composer Luc St-Pierre.