Filmmaker Hermann Boya intends to make art that promotes living like Christ. Photo courtesy Salvation Pictures

Faith is Quebec filmmaker’s 'Destination'

  • September 5, 2020

Though he grew up in a religious household in Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire), West Africa, it was in 2009, at age 26, when Hermann Boya sanctified his bond with God by entering into the Catholic faith.

In a sense Boya, now a 37-year-old residing in Québec City, was like a poker player putting all his chips into the pot. From the moment of his conversion, faith would drive his personal and professional pursuits.

A fan of theatre and film from a young age — he already obtained a diploma in theatre in the Ivory Coast — Boya’s acts of evangelical Christianity would include producing art that promotes living like Christ.

“As early as 2009, my heart was called to make films for the glory of God,” said Boya in an e-mail interview (he speaks limited English). “I wanted to give the best to my God.”

Fast forward to 2020. Salvation Pictures, a company Boya co-founded, is about to start shooting a 13-part web series — in eight-minute vignettes — called Destination. The series chronicles Cedric, a young man struggling to attain joy because of his estrangement from God and family. 

“Cedric symbolizes humanity,” said Boya. “For several reasons, (we) refuse to believe in the love and availability of God. Through Cedric, I want to show the devastating effects of resentment and lack of forgiveness. And also, the importance of parents in our quest of happiness on Earth.”

With the support of his wife Lydia Lacroix, Boya has honed his craft as an actor and filmmaker in the past five years, graduating from the L’École de Cinéma et Télévision de Québec in 2018.

He chose Salvation Pictures as his organization’s name in 2009 because exemplifying God’s desire to grant salvation would be an essential theme running through his body of work.

Expressing hope is another key aim of Salvation Pictures. While a great fan of film, Boya notes that many products are wrought with “crude violence, explicit sex, horrible language and darkness.”

Creative and business colleague Cindy Bouchard, president and executive director of video production company iFX Productions, convinced Boya that Salvation Pictures would function best as a non-profit because of the ministerial purpose driving Boya’s work.

Bouchard, Salvation Pictures’ production manager, says she jumped at the chance to work with Boya after their first meeting a few months ago. 

“Hermann is a man of great faith. Moving from Côte d’Ivoire to Québec to follow a vision is great faith,” said Bouchard. “Beginning with nothing, believing it will become something big, is great faith. Going through the process, meeting with many people and talking about the project to pursue your vision takes immense faith. It’s his faith and imagination that makes me want to work with him.”

Both Boya and Bouchard note that Salvation Pictures is not a political or religious organization. But faith will still guide the feature films, web and television series produced for its predominantly French audience. 

With the rising tide of people relying on streaming services for entertainment since COVID-19 broke out, Boya and Bouchard see this as a “perfect time to bring a message of hope.”

“We do not want messages of fear to spread,” said Boya. “Life and salvation are always available. We do not want to address ourselves to believers. Destination is for non-believers. The non-Christian language in our films, however, is not a denial of our faith.”

Bouchard says she hopes to launch a 13-week shoot — one episode a week — starting with the premiere episode early in October. Besides the actors, the hope is to complete the filming with a crew of five to seven people to adhere to public health measures. Masks will be worn when possible, sanitation measures will be in place and anti-bacterial soap will be aplenty on set. 

Due to most of the people working on Destination being volunteers, a $30,000 crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe was launched Aug. 11 to support the pilot’s production, specifically location-scouting, musical composition and compensation for technicians and actors. Close to $1,000 has been raised to date.  

The hope is for a VIP event to officially unveil Destination in March 2021. 

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