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Documentary booth removed on The Main to make way for cars

unknown.jpgMontreal – June 8, 2007 — The attempt to set up a booth for documentary films during the Saint-Laurent street sale came to an abrupt end after just a couple of hours on Thursday, June 7, when police handed out a $141 ticket and threatened to arrest one of the organizers if the booth was not dismantled. The booth had been set up by Productions Multi-Monde, a Montreal-based producer of documentaries and fiction films, in cooperation with the documentary organization, DOC Quebec.

Earlier on Thursday morning, Sandra Fénélon, street fair organizer, had passed by the booth as it was being set up near the corner of St-Laurent and Duluth. “Have you seen what this booth looks like?” she was heard saying into her cell phone. A couple of hours later a city inspector and police came asking for a written permit. Valerie Shamash from Productions Multi-Monde had received clear and positive verbal approval for the booth from street fair organizers by telephone. She had not received the written permit despite providing all relevant information.

Productions Multi-Monde, which has had an office at 4067 boul. St-Laurent, suite 201 for over ten years, participated in a previous street fair and was very excited that DOC Quebec members were getting involved in the event on the Main this time around.

“It provides an important window for Quebec-made docs at a very popular event,” said Valerie Shamash. “People are hungry for good documentaries, and we were providing a place to discuss with the directors and producers, as well as to buy the docs (and posters) for a very reasonable event price.” DOC Quebec members were requested to help out at the booth in return for having their docs on display. Several Montreal productions houses including Eye Steel Films, Peripheria Productions, Artifact Productions, DLI Productions, Artesian Films, Productions du Rapide-Blanc, Mouvement Perpetuel and the 2880 Film Blitz, had joined with Productions Multi-Monde.

Shamash found it very strange that the organizers did not attempt to resolve the obvious misunderstanding but instead sent the inspector, Huguette Cousineau, and the police. Even stranger, she said, is that the next day the spot where the doc booth had been located had been replaced by some of the 30 extra cars that the Montreal Formula 1 organizers requested space for at the last minute.

“Seems they wanted fuel-burning monster cars instead of documentary films that deal with social and political issues on The Main,” said Shamash. “And does the fact some of our posters and films and the booth were very ‘punk’ and that Roach, a well-known local punk, was sitting at the booth when the police arrived, have something to do with the way things played out?” She pointed out that there are a large number of filmmakers and artists who work along Saint Laurent boulevard.

Productions Multi-Monde and Valerie Shamash have every intention of contesting this series of events and the ticket. Productions Multi-Monde and DOC Quebec have also vowed to hold another doc booth on The Main next weekend, Friday, June 15 to Sunday, June 17, this time with written approval.

For comments and suggestions about this article:
Productions Multi-Monde
4067, Saint Laurent boulevard, suite 201
Montréal, Québec
H2W 1Y7
Phone : (514) 842-4047
Fax : (514) 842-9858
Email : vshamash@pmm.qc.ca

Société de développement du boulevard Saint-Laurent
4398, Saint Laurent boulevard, suite 309
Montréal, Québec
H2W 1Z5
Phone : (514) 286-0334
Fax : (514) 286-0967
Email : info@boulevardsaintlaurent.com


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