First a journalist in the United States, Nancy Guerin moved to Quebec several years ago, making her mark as a screenwriter and documentary filmmaker. She's looked at breast cancer marketing with Pink Ribbons, Inc., religiously enforced sacrifices in < /strong>A Sister's Songand the impacts of the recession in the United States with Frontline. Since 2019, she has immersed herself with Philippe Falardeau in the tragedy of Lac-Mégantic.
She carried out a rigorous investigation in order to shed light on the real causes of the accident. The report is as moving as it is rich in images and information. Still moved by the subject, she hopes to offer answers, do justice and find possible solutions. Let's hope the series shakes up our elected officials enough for real change to finally be undertaken.
In what state of mind do we put ourselves when we approach such a delicate subject?< /p>
Philippe (Falardeau) and I made a good pair. We have always been able to share our emotions. Some days were more difficult and we were overwhelmed with grief. But we still felt that this story needed to be told. Even if it was hard, we did not experience these atrocious events. I did not lose any children, lovers or loved ones, and hearing the testimonies and seeing the generosity of the people we met gave us a lot of strength. It's an honor that the show has been noticed at Canneseries and Hot Docs, but I'm uncomfortable celebrating our art when you just wish it had never happened. People congratulate us, but rather than celebrate, let's make changes and act because there are still tragedies.
Do you feel like a public inquiry since there was none?
There was a lot of journalistic work with the books, the reports. Survivors who lost loved ones saw no one charged. This would be an important step for them to move on with their lives. Pascal (Charest), for example, traveled from Sept-Îles where he lives to testify, because his daughters are no longer there to do so and nothing has been done. It breaks my heart. There are a lot of things that even the folks at Megantic didn't know until they saw the show.
I'm surprised that the owner of Montreal, Maine & Atlantic (MMA) has agreed to testify…
We must give him credit for agreeing to speak to us when no one at the government level and at the level of the authorities wanted to answer our questions. He is offline. He never wanted anyone to die, but he feels like he followed all the guidelines put in place by Transport Canada and didn't break any laws. He may have overlooked certain warnings but he acted as he was told to. I think he still has remorse, but as a businessman, he is not the one who has the responsibility for our safety. On the other hand, one wonders where are our governments whose responsibility it is.
During the research, what surprised you the most?
All. The fact that there is no public inquiry, which was decided five days after the tragedy, says a lot. Mistakes were made on the standards compared to the brakes, on the fact that there was only one driver. It was the only thing that could have brought the truth to light. They say they have invested in security, but no significant changes have been made. In episode 4, our protagonists offer possible solutions that could be tangible.
Have the protagonists seen the series?
< p>Everyone who attended received a link to view it before we hosted a viewing in April for the community. We took care that everyone felt supported because there were victims in the room, not just in the series. It was very difficult because I did not want that by presenting my work, I re-traumatize people. Services were available to them after seeing the series because the images are difficult to watch. I don't want to speak for the people of Mégantic, but several people have told me that with the series, it allows them all to be in the same place in relation to what they have been victims of.
< p>► Lac-Mégantic – this is not an accident: available on the Vrai platform.