Local filmmakers screen their first movie

Photo: Cassandra Kerwin

Director Maxime Desruisseaux, cameraman Thony Jourdain and actor Nick Theodorakis at the showing of Harry: Portrait d’un détective privé. The movie premièred during the Quebec City Film Festival in September 2016. 

The Clap Cinéma was the place to be on November 25 when it showed the black and white movie Harry: Portrait d'un détective privé. In this film, director Maxime Desruisseaux, lead Nick Theodorakis and cameraman Thony Jourdain created a "mockumentary" about a film crew examining Harry Houde, a charismatic yet unethical private detective from Quebec. They follow him to the Gaspé where he seeks to close the five-year-old case of a missing woman. Once there, the film crew discovers troubling aspects about Harry's past.

As the film progresses, Harry becomes accustomed to the presence of a camera following him. Then, very quickly, cameraman Jourdain and director Desruisseaux become actual characters in the story.

Following the screening of the film, the cast and crew fielded questions from the audience about the making of the fictitious documentary. 

"He's the classic private detective: divorced, alcoholic, on his way down and always with a beer in his hand," said Theodorakis. "Throughout the filming, there were only two nights when we got drunk; the rest, we only acted drunk. One night in particular makes me feel so sad because the character is really hurting.

 "I don't know how I fell into this project," said Theodorakis. "People ask us if we'll be doing a sequel. We've been working on it for three and a half years, and Harry will not be coming back." He then continued, "I can't wait to do [another movie]. I don't know what the next project is."

 "When I started making this movie, I wanted to build a story around Nick's personality," said director Maxime Desruisseaux (Theodorakis had been one of his students at Champlain-St. Lawrence). "This is why the line between Nick and Harry is so thin," he said. 

"I am not a true fan of the private-eye thing, so I thought it would be a fun challenge...," said Desruisseaux. "At the same time, it was a lot of work. At some point, we wondered if we should be doing something else. In the end, it was worth it and we are happy with the final version." He continued, "I want to have a career in cinema. I want my next project to be in colour, completely different and fictional." 

 "From the moment we started talking about the story, Max Desruisseaux and I knew that Harry would be shot in black and white," said cameraman Jourdain. Old murder mystery films were their inspiration.

 Spectators applauded Theodorakis' performance, Desruisseaux's direction and Jourdain's filming, and were surprised to learn that this project is a career debut for all of them. Theodorakis is a Physical Education teacher at Champlain-St. Lawrence, Desruisseaux studied Linguistics and Jourdain, Photography. "We have our distinctive roles in the creative process, while doing a bit of everything. We worked as a trio."