Executive Producer, Paquin Entertainment
More than 35 years ago, Gilles Paquin began his career in music, theatre and the entertainment business.
Starting out as a student in the University of Winnipeg Theatre department, Gilles established two theatre companies, where he worked as director, producer, and performer. He also immersed himself in various creative projects in design and film, and eventually worked for Manitoba Theatre Centre (MTC) as the house manager for the Warehouse Theatre. Performing on the MTC Mainstage, in a modest role in Cyrano de Bergerac under director Jean Gascon, and alongside Len Cariou proved to be a turning point for Gilles.
Graduating from the U of W, he was hired by the CBC, and worked as a floor director, assistant producer, director and eventually producer on a number of regional and national specials for both the French and English networks, establishing relationships that continue to this day.
After five years with the national broadcaster Gilles's entrepreneurial nature took hold, and he set off to begin a career as an independent producer and promoter. It was his tremendous love for this industry, creative process, deal making ability, wherewithal to help build, showcase and promote careers, and flare for innovation, that drove the momentum and passion needed to overcome the hardships and challenges as a pioneer in the Canadian music and entertainment industry.
In 1982, following Gilles's promotion of a Rodney Dangerfield concert - a show that featured a young Jim Carrey, then new on the scene -- Gilles met Hartley Richardson who was in the midst of planning the 125th anniversary for James Richardson and Sons. The two struck a lasting relationship, culminating in the production a Canadian national celebration for the family, celebrating their 150th.
The next years for Gilles marked the beginning of producing and promoting more than 2000 concerts for acts such as Kenny Rogers, Alabama, The Police, Billy Joel, Tina Turner, BB King, Bill Cosby, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Les Ballets Jazz, Bowie, Evita, Chorus Line and more.
Also of note at this time, Gilles met a young ballerina from the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Patti Caplette, and together they produced an award winning dance special entitled Autumn Lady for CKND/Global. From the proceeds they bought their wedding rings, and were married in 1982.
After managing his concert production company through a few different incarnations, Gilles eventually established Paquin Entertainment Group in 1985, based in Winnipeg. The vision was always clear: to build a diversified, vertically-integrated entertainment enterprise to serve artists and the creative vision, and to build a national and international company and to survive with a strong equity base. In 1999 the company opened a Toronto Office under son Julien Paquin as VP and head of the agency division, and later, in 2006, as president of the agency.
From 1997 to present day Gilles has produced eight feature films including Clown at Midnight WishMaster 3 and 4, SilverWolf, as well as producing over countless variety specials and documentaries like Buffy Sainte Marie Multi Media Life, Leo Mol In Shadow and Light, Bachman- Cummings First Time Around, and Journey, the critically acclaimed dance extravaganza special - a Patti Caplette Film.
In late 2004 after having worked as a freelance director and choreographer Patti Caplette and Gilles Paquin started KOBA Family Entertainment, a company originally dedicated originally to producing theatrical family musicals that tour nationally and internationally.
Gilles's years of expertise producing numerous high-profile, quality events - such as the 2005 JUNO Gala Dinner and Awards, YPO International, The Queen's Golden Jubilee, the 125th Anniversary for James Richardson & Sons, and the International Friendship Festival --set the stage for another enterprising opportunity.
In 2005, at the Concert Industry Consortium (CIC) in L.A., Gilles Paquin and longtime associate Jeff Apregan and agreed to found Venue Coalition, a joint venture to provide services and entertainment on behalf of arenas in North America.
Venue Coalition represents more than 50 arenas initiating tours and concerts with a range of entertainers from Blue Man Group, Cirque du Soeil, Neil Diamond and Keith Urban, to Lenny Kravitz, Avril Lavigne, Green Day, Pearl Jam and more.
In addition to his leadership roles with Koba, Venue Coalition, and Paquin Entertainment - with the agency under Julien Paquin representing more than 150 artists - Gilles manages the careers of international rock icon singer songwriter Randy Bachman, activist, singer songwriter and legend Buffy Sainte-Marie, and co-manages Bachman & Turner.
In 2009, Gilles was honoured by the Western Canada Music Awards with the Industry Builder Award, an accolade that recognizes an individual who has had a significant and long-lasting impact on the music industry.
Happiest when he is cultivating opportunity and contributing to the industry, Gilles has not lost one iota of enthusiasm for the creative process nor the desire and momentum of his early days.