Stephan Boissoneault is a music journalist, documentarian, director of photography, and director. He was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta and attended MacEwan University–graduating in 2016 with a degree in communications and a major in journalism. Since graduating, Boissoneault has pursued a career in music journalism which helped catapult him into documentary work. He premiered his feature length documentary in Montreal in September. The documentary takes place in Northern Quebec in a small town of roughly 43,000, called Rouyn-Noranda. The location is where a two decade old festival—The Festival de Musique Emergente (FME)— has taken place annually. This festival has become a staple to music lovers from Quebec but also globally. And Boissonneault set out to capture the 20th anniversary of this magical festival that takes over the town every Labour day weekend.
“Basically the story goes, I was getting a little drunk at this bar called Foufounes in Montreal and some of the festival founders were there as well,” Boissonneault said.
Boissonneault had just been to the festival in 2020 when there were still COVID restrictions and had fallen in love with the festival. He was then introduced to the festival founders by one of the curators from Mothland. One thing led to another and the founders started buying shots of whiskey. Stephan recalls that one of the founders said the “20 year anniversary was coming up and somebody should really do something more.”
It was then that the founders said that he should be the one to do it because he loved the festival so much. “The founder said maybe I could do some interviews over video, maybe telling about the history of the festival. And he said, no, you should do that. And he just told me that I’ll figure it out”.
Four weeks later Boissoneault got an email saying that the founders were really excited for him to come out and that he would have full access to the festival and that they were really happy. “That’s when I had the flashback of alright, I agreed to do this thing, I don’t really know how to make a documentary and so for the next four weeks I watched a shit ton of documentaries about music and festivals and figured out the kind of gear that i needed, recruited help and just went for it,” he said.
This was the first time that he was doing a project of this size and he did not have a ‘crazy plan.’ “Next time, I’m going to go with way more of a plan, like a booklet of who we’re going to be filming, here’s what we’re going to be talking about creating, and kind of a storyboard of what I have in my mind.” After finishing the shoot, Stephan was left with over 11 hours of footage and audio that he needed to edit and process. “I thought I’d get 40 minutes out of this, maybe 30, and then as I kept on going, I kept finding more and I knew that there was like a bigger story here and that it was going to be longer.”
Now with the documentary finished and premiered Stephan is trying to get the film into more film festivals so that more of Canada and the world can see what they are missing out on. As the documentary’s name suggests, it could only happen here.
Watch the trailer below for It Could Only Happen Here – Directed by Stephan Boissonneault