A documentary about Lovaganza, this project “too good to be true”

The Hollywood dream of some Quebec directors, which has become a nightmare for small savers who are asked to finance a project “too good to be true”, is told in a documentary Lovaganza: The Great Illusionavailable from today.

Posted at 8:00 am

Richard Dufour

Richard Dufour
The press

Through a series of interviews, the documentary’s authors attempt to explain how artists have been able to live their lives as stars on the backs of hundreds of small investors in recent years.

“We spoke to a hundred investors and we heard green ones and immature ones. We would have liked to include everything we heard in the documentary, but that wasn’t possible,” says Aude Leroux-Lévesque, co-author of the documentary.

The film reports 24 million donations raised from more than 600 savers since the start of the Lovaganza project almost fifteen years ago.

The project’s initiators lure small investors with returns of up to ten times their stake, but also that they would help produce large-scale films and fund humanitarian projects.

“There are people who have given money, completed RRSPs and even given their credit card numbers,” says journalist Isabelle Ducas The presswho testifies in the film and was the first journalist to write about the case eight years ago.

“Disturbing and dishonest”

The money was raised, says Isabelle Ducas, by breaking the rules of the Autorité des Marchés Financiers. But also with the help of lies.

“They said, for example, that Steven Spielberg was one of their mentors, when that wasn’t true,” says Isabelle Ducas.

It’s a story that goes from twist to twist. We haven’t heard the end of it yet.

Isabelle Ducas, journalist at The press

The documentary’s authors say they tried unsuccessfully to speak to those responsible for the Lovaganza project.

The documentary’s co-author, Sébastien Rist, hopes the film will allow the “victims” to turn the page and perhaps also understand that they were neither alone nor crazy. “Because some have been disowned by family and friends for being involved in this project,” he says.

Aude Leroux-Lévesque says it is particularly “disturbing” and “dishonest” to have people “embark” for perceived values ​​of peace, unity, love and mutual aid. “No foundation has benefited from the money allegedly raised,” she said.

Two separate lawsuits

Two lawsuits by the Autorité des Marchés Financiers related to this case are still active. The first is aimed at fundraisers, Mark-Érik Fortin and Karine Lamarre, while the other is aimed at those presented as screenwriters, directors and leaders of the project, Jean-François Gagnon and Geneviève Cloutier.

The retrial of the Fortin-Lamarre couple, who have already admitted their guilt on numerous counts, is scheduled for September 12. “We will continue the representations of the verdict there. The performances were canceled due to the health condition of Mrs.me Lamarre,” said an AMF spokesman.


PHOTO CATHERINE LEFEBVRE, ARCHIVE SPECIAL COLLABORATION

Karine Lamarre and Mark-Érik Fortin perform in Montreal, November 2021

The AMF is demanding a prison sentence. ” She [les intimés] big risk. Only for violating investment laws. It is rare for the AMF to ask for a prison sentence,” notes Isabelle Ducas.

The lawsuit was filed for investments without a prospectus, while the scandal in this story is human, comments Aude Leroux-Lévesque. In her opinion, this shows the limits of the legal system.

Aude Leroux-Lévesque claims that with the amount of evidence gathered, she can say there were bad intentions and lies. “Whether it’s fraud or not is for the courts to decide,” she said.

The documentation Lovaganza: The Great Illusion will be offered this Tuesday on the Vrai platform.

Leave a Comment