Born in Ancona, Italy, in 1947, Paul Tana emigrated to Quebec with his family in 1958. After completing studies in the arts (Collège Sainte-Marie, 1969) and literature (UQAM, 1970), he turned to film. He made his first short films in the mid-70s (Deux contes de la rue Berri). In 1980, he made his first feature, Les grands enfants. After a brief stint in television on the Radio-Québec series Planète, in 1985 he made Caffè Italia, Montréal, a documentary feature based on Les premiers Italiens de Montréal by Bruno Ramirez, who also co-wrote the screenplay. The film won the Ernest-Ouimet-Molson award for best Quebec film. In 1988, he directed the medium-length Le marchand de jouets for Radio-Canada, followed in 1992 by La sarrasine (co-written with Ramirez), a fiction feature that went on to screen in Berlin, Namur, Toronto and Washington. It won the Sardec award for best screenplay and the SODEC award for best direction. In 1998, Tana made La déroute (co-written with Bruno Ramirez and Tony Nardi, who also played the lead), which opened the 1998 Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois before going on to screen in Toronto and Namur. In 2003, he teamed up with Josette Féral of UQAM’s École supérieure de théâtre to create Parole d’artistes, a six-film series focused on key figures in Quebec theatre that was made by the university’s film and theatre students. In 2007, he coordinated Ricordati di noi (Don’t Forget About Us), a joint undertaking between the École des médias, Cinémathèque Québécoise, Il Corriere italiano and ACPAV to salvage 30 years of discarded footage from Teledomenica (a history program on Montreal Italian TV). Ricordati di noi was also the title of Tana’s documentary about the project, which would become the first of an eponymous trilogy. From 2009 to 2012, he produced Tony Nardi’s Three Letters and Counting, a series of filmed monologues on the cultural, political and aesthetic challenges of film and theatre creation in Quebec and Canada. In 2015, he completed Marguerita, a documentary short that was the second in the Ricordati di noi trilogy. The film screened at the 2016 RVCQ. Tana is currently shooting the trilogy’s third film, Le figuier.
Tana has taught film at UQAM’s École des médias since 1989.