On August 9, 2008, Fredy Villanueva, an 18 year-old Canadian citizen born in Honduras, was shot dead by police constable Jean-Loup Lapointe in the parking lot behind the arena of Henri-Bourassa Park in Montreal North. The incident became the subject of a high-profile and debated Coroner’s Inquest and a lightning rod for tension in Montreal North between immigrants and the police force.
Three years later, the circumstances of Fredy’s death remain shrouded in mystery. Did he provoke the bullets fired in self-defense by Constable Lapointe when he surrounded and threatened him along with his 5 friends? Or was Fredy the innocent victim of police aggression in a community with a history of racial tension between police officers and young immigrants?
In September 2009, Annabel Soutar and Alex Ivanovici launched a pilot documentary play project about the Fredy Villanueva shooting with 30 Grade 11 students at Selwyn House School (where Annabel and Alex teach drama). Their preliminary research has led them to believe that the story offers a deeply poetic opportunity to explore the precise relationship between Quebec and its immigrant communities, but also to reflect on the more universal themes of youth vs. authority, law vs. justice, violence vs. tolerance.
Annabel and Alex have decided that the Fredy Villanueva incident will indeed become the subject of Porte Parole’s next full-length documentary play. We invite your opinions about our choice of topic! Get in touch!
Click here to see a video Fredy Villanueva’s family and friends made to attract the public eye to this issue.