The story begins around 2009, when Jean-François Gagnon, a fallen singer, develops with his wife, Geneviève Cloutier, the idea of a trilogy of large-scale films entitled Lovaganza. The couple moved to Hollywood in hopes of fulfilling their so-called artistic aspirations there.
It was supposed to be a bit of an Indiana Jones story, where a man had a prophecy and then was going to bring peace to the earth.explains Aude Leroux-Lévesque, co-director with Sébastien Rist of the documentary Lovaganza : the great illusion.
To finance the scenario of LovaganzaJean-François Gagnon and Geneviève Cloutier, who at the time had almost no experience in the film industry, set up a foundation to collect funds from the public.
They also started a production company, One-Land Films, which for a time employed a dozen people under the direction of a couple close to them, Mark-Erik Fortin and Karine Lamarre.
They solicited hundreds of Quebecers and even people in other countries. They managed to raise around $24 millionsays Aude Leroux-Lévesque.
Thirteen years after the conception of the project Lovaganzathe money does not seem to have been invested in any film business, other than the production of promotional photographs and videos that are sporadically released on the Internet.
Investigate human nature
The director and director of Lovaganza : the great illusion contacted a hundred people involved directly or indirectly in this sophisticated scam: journalists, former business partners, the former spouse of Jean-François Gagnon, but also many victims.
Although the documentary is about a fraud, we are also interested in the human side of the story. We want to reflect on the imperfection of human naturewrite Aude Leroux-Lévesque and Sébastien Rist in a press release.
The reasons that led many people to finance the film project Lovaganza essentially boil down to two things: the lure of profit and human solidarity.
There was pressure on investors to put money in immediately, says Sébastien Rist. If they put in 1000 dollars today, tomorrow, potentially, they were going to be refunded double, triple, even ten times the initial bet.
Beyond monetary considerations, many victims were convinced that they would help bring peace to the earth and eradicate hunger. After the screening of the trilogy in theaters,
there was going to be a human chain that would go around the worldsays Aude Leroux-Lévesque.
” There are a lot of vulnerable people who fall for it, unfortunately. »
Even though the AMF has been following them closely for several years, Jean-François Gagnon and Geneviève Cloutier continue to solicit funds on behalf of a new company, JF&G, the term Lovaganza having become too toxic following the reports published by various media.
We made this documentary so that the victims could turn the page, but also to move the justice system.concludes Sébastien Rist.