Rubbing shoulders with one of Canada’s most influential drug traffickers, suspected of having committed 15 murders, is not a pleasant stroll through the park, as journalists Félix Séguin and Éric Thibault testify in the documentary Scoppa and me, which explores the underside of their extraordinary relationship with mobster Andrew Scoppa.
Séguin and Thibault confide in their experience – made public on Wednesday – with the ex-interim godfather of the Italian Montreal mafia in the book Source, but also in the documentary Scoppa and me, now available on Club illico. Account of the clandestine meetings with Scoppa – who acted both as a police informant and a journalistic source before his death, a year ago -, ethical dilemmas encountered in the course of these reports: the film of more than an hour portrays well to how much the affair is “worthy of a film”, to borrow the words of Félix Séguin.
Photo Chantal Poirier
Éric Thibault and Félix Séguin
“People who are less familiar with the environment will understand how it is a big blow to recruit a source like that, but will also see all that this implies in terms of security, confidentiality”, explains Ninon Pednault, director of Scoppa and me.
- Listen to Félix Séguin on Richard Martineau’s microphone on QUB radio:
Félix Séguin maintains that this is a world first, that media representatives have had such privileged access to a criminal of such caliber. A man he describes as an “extremely calculating, conceited and controlling character who played on three fronts: organized crime, the police and journalists”.
“When we put this project on the table, it was clear that there were two angles to pursue. First there were Andrew Scoppa’s raw confessions, which are the subject of the book Source, but you also had to explore the whole angle of the relationship between a journalist and his source, and that’s what we do in the documentary. Because it is really great art, if I can say without sycophancy, to have such a source in the criminal world, ”explains Félix Séguin.
Photo Chantal Poirier
“In the documentary, we want to hear Scoppa,” indicates Ninon Pednault. We hear his voice, his expressions. We put in a lot, because we find that it immerses us so much in the atmosphere. We have the tapes of a police surveillance in his car, his confessions to another criminal. It gives something very authentic. ”
Ninon Pednault focused on bringing to the screen the relationship forged over the years (almost six years) between Félix Séguin, Éric Thibault and Andrew Scoppa.
To do so, she took the two journalists back to Barcelona, Spain, where they met Scoppa to hear what she said. The filming of these segments of Scoppa and me, abroad, was carried out in mid-July, when travel was permitted. Ninon Pednault does not hide the fact that the pandemic has rather complicated the production of the documentary, already complex to complete due to the delicacy of the operations shown.
“Originally, I only had medium quality audio recorded on Félix’s iPhone,” says the documentary maker. Fortunately, we had access to other spinning documents later, which allowed me to build a story. And I thought that bringing Eric and Félix back to the scene of those confessions would make them relive the emotions they experienced during those few days spent with him (Scoppa) in Spain. ”
Without qualifying this journey as emotional, Félix Séguin claims to have found it “loaded”.
“It was a bit like the last pilgrim walk,” he explains. To see the same places again, to recall memories, some of which were quite specific … There is this form of emotion that won me over. It felt like we were tying the buckle. ”
For the rest, Félix Séguin says he hopes the case goes beyond the borders of Quebec and Canada. “Normally, the Mafiosi who converse with journalists are repentant. They have been collaborators of justice. Here, Andrew Scoppa was a working mobster, who delivered confessions while at the height of his influence. Just that, it’s likely to interest a lot of people. “
The documentary Scoppa and me is now available on Club illico.
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