Mort Ransen, a Montreal-born filmmaker best known for his Genie Award-winning film Margaret’s Museum, died on Salt Spring Island on September 4.

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Mort Ransen, a Montreal-born filmmaker best known for his Genie Award-winning film Margaret’s Museum, died on Salt Spring Island on September 4.

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The 88-year-old has decided to end his life with medical assistance after a long battle with dementia.

Ransen has directed eight feature films and dozens of documentaries during his 42-year career, including “Ah, The Money, The Money, The Money,” on the battle to stop logging and development on Salt Spring Island . It aired on CBC’s The Nature of Things in 2001.

The longtime Salt Spring Island resident directed and wrote the screenplay for the highly acclaimed Margaret’s Museum, which starred Helena Bonham Carter as Margaret, a woman who suffers from a nervous breakdown after the death of her husband and his brother in a Cape Breton coal mine.

Margaret enters a surreal world to create a museum to honor the memories of all those who have died due to the horrific mining conditions.

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It won the Most Popular Film award when it debuted at the Vancouver Film Festival in 1995 and won two Genie Awards the following year for Best Director and Best Screenplay.

Ransen was the son of Jewish-Ukrainian immigrants and leaves behind four children and four grandchildren.

Her partner, 22, Libby Mason, said Ransen’s last day included a visit with family and close friends to the palliative care room at Lady Minto Hospital, where they enjoyed bagels, lox and cream cheese brought from Montreal.

“He was clear-headed, loving and funny,” Mason said. “And he looked very good in his favorite shirt.”

No funeral is planned, but a number of commemorative events are organized.


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