For the third consecutive year, the Film noir au Canal festival will be held along the the Lachine Canal’s shorelines, at the corner of the streets Wellington and St-Patrick, from July 9th till August 13th.
Serge Turgeon is undoubtedly a passionate and very involved resident of his neighbourhood. Since 2008, he has organized several clean-up efforts with the residents of the Southwest, but little by little, the idea of creating a more festive project was making its way. "I found out that I liked doing things with my neighbours”. An idea grew: after cleaning the public space, Mr. Turgeon would animate it.
"A positive feedback"
If the Lachine Canal is very animated during the day, in the evening it’s another story. "Everyone was really happy to hear that volunteers from the neighbourhood wanted to animate the public space," says Turgeon.
Since its first edition, the Film Noir au Canal festival has received an extremely positive response from the residents. "The first night we were about 150," says Turgeon. The passers-by stopped in astonishment, came to question him, and joined the other participants.
In the course of the many editions held, and thanks to the visitors’ feedbacks, the festival refined itself. Since the second edition, film experts have started to introduce the films. Jazz musicians are also onsite to put a little atmosphere before each projection. "We noted that more and more people were arriving early, so our idea was to create a nice picnic atmosphere between cinema lovers and/or neighbours who want to enjoy the site, but also exchange about the movies", says Turgeon.
The importance of involving the citizens
Barely 50 years ago, the neighbourhood was very lively. But in the 1970s, following the zoning changes, it was abandoned. "Ten years ago, only 200 people lived here. The neighbourhood is experiencing a great rebirth and we need to rediscover its collective spirit", enthuses Turgeon.
"I think it's important to create a community spirit if you don’t want to be just a condo heap. But to succeed, we can’t ask our elected or public officials to do everything. I think that if you have a rich community life, even if we don’t participate it in, but that you know that it exists, it does a world of good for everyone. Afterwards we recognize our neighbours or we have a sense of security when we walk in the neighbourhood because we’ve sat in a park with 300 of our peers. We even reached 1,000 people one night last year."
The 2017 edition
This year, the Film Noir au Canal Festival will receive a greater variety of musicians to animate the pre-film picnic time: trombonists, trumpeters and harp players are expected to perform. Experts in cinema will still present the films and the program will feature 3 French police films with English subtitles and 3 American films with English subtitles.
For Serge Turgeon, it's so easy to create for the community. He works full time as a publisher of stationery products, but finds all the time necessary for his activities as a volunteer citizen. "If it was complicated, I would not be able to do it," says Turgeon, modestly. And when asked what experience he wants to offer people who come to his festival and how he imagines it evolving within the next 5 years, his answer is still very modest: "I would like people to remember how good it feels to be spending time with your neighbours outside and how beautiful our neighbourhood really is. If the festival is still the same in 5 years, I will be very happy. As long as the evenings are beautiful, people have a good time, they don’t leave before the end and there is a beautiful harmony, for me it’s even more important than having a thousand people."