Curiosity and my own vanity almost got the better of me but it was the “Truman Kaput; just like you and me” that brought me to my senses. There was some more terse incomprehensible imprecation as I was shutting the door but I was resolute that I was not going to entertain strangers unshaven and in my bathrobe. Also, as a man once besieged by media I long ago resolved not to allow anyone from the press (unless a friend invited for dinner) into my home. I long ago made it a rule that I would only give interviews or participate in a project from my hotel room in Toronto.
It occurred to me that Ms. Ladous must have gone to the Paula Todd School of Journalism where highjack and mendacity were main courses. But highjacking Karla Homolka, as we’ve seen, has a certain economic consequence but highjacking me? Where is the sense in that? Where are the $$ in Marina’s getting a few minutes of footage of me at the door in my bathrobe and pajama pants.
I was tempted though. I would have liked to explain that I have nothing in common with Truman Capote. He was a short man with a very large head, cross-addicted and a homosexual who wrote like an angel. I can only lay claim to one of those characteristics.
I would have also liked to know where she got the money for a transatlantic flight (for two) and how whatever she might do with this twenty-year-old case would ever square up and justify the time and expense?
As I’ve already described late last year, Ms. Ladous, a petite, dark-haired French woman reached out to Marsha via email and begged her to have me call her, so I did. Basically all I got a chance to ask was for more information about her “project”. The phone call occurred on Dec. 4, 2012. Here’s her email response to my verbal request which I received the following day:
“Following yesterday’s phone call I join you a “résumé” of the producer’s documentary movie…” And then some things similar to what she said on the phone: “To be a journalist in these circumstances is also something I want to show. In the documentary I want to follow Karla Homolka’s and Paul Bernardo’s criminal courses…I also imagine that there are questions without answer in this case, important points of detail deserving to be investigated and that could enlighten the public on this story…”
And then this: “For example, according to an investigator, Karla Homolka’s mother suspected that Tammy’s death was connected to Paul Bernardo, but she said nothing, is it true? We speak about battered women’s syndrome for Karla Homolka’s case, but according to an investigator, what she showed throughout this story is not compatible with the battered women’s syndrome, or the mental influence in state of suggestion. I have just finished a movie about this. The way she lives now days also proves that she does not deny nor regret her past, otherwise why was called TEALE? I read your books. I know that your testimony joins totally in my story. I shall be in Toronto on January 11th, I shall want to come back with you on the scene from this incredible file(case) that you know better that whoever.
Waiting for your answer.
I have embedded a jpg. copy of the “resume” Ms. Ladous “joined” at the top of this post. (Just off-the-cuff: It is very odd to me that almost everything I’ve seen from television people these days is printed on dark backgrounds and in an eligible font. What’s up with that?)
What she called a resume was in reality a “pitch” document in very broken English but it made a wacky kind of sense, sort of. I got the gist. It was written in the third person and began by explaining the logos at the top of the page:
“‘Lila production’ is a production comany co-developing feature movies and TV series. ‘Magneto Presse’ is a press agency producing high-quality documentaries for all major TV channels and ’13eme Rue’, owned by Universial, has commissioned us to produce ‘Marina aux pays des tueurs’ A series of 90 minutes documentaries revisiting cases involving killers around the world: Juarez, Mexico, Sweden, the Linkoping missing, French cold cases.
Marina Ladous a well-known expert in investigative reporting is the director.
In 2012, she filmed in Bagdad, Iraq. In the end of 2012, she finished a 90 minutes film about dangerous cults. In worldwide for the needs of her investigation, she was an undercover adept in different cults, and it too her a year work. She is also the director of ‘The French in front of law’ a series about difficult cases involving lawyers and judges in court. She also filmed in prison, ‘Dangerous Inmates’.
In 2006, she realized a film with FBI testimony, about Dayton Rogers, a Green-River killer copycat….”
It concludes “It has been five years since Marina speaks to us of this file. (sic. the Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo files mentioned in the mid-paragraphs.) She followed year after year the evolutions. The new life of Karla? The cold-case who could involve Paul Bernardo? The human implications of the policeman, the magistrates, the lawyers, the journalists and the witnesses. Can we emerge unscathed from this?
Marina’s experience of the criminal world makes her say that in spite of past years nobody forgot neither, Leslie or Kristen, neither Jane Doe, nor the January girl and 43 victims of Scarborough.
To decipher the criminal world is also a way to warn.
The shooting of the movie will begin on January 3rd, 2013.
We thank you in advance for the assistance you may agree to grant us.
Yael Berdugo, Producer.”
I have tried to embed “live” links to the two television programs Ms. Ladous allegedly produced or worked for in this post without success. No idea why so I am just typing them in. The first about a retired elite cop living in seclusion after the brutal murder of his wife. A judge visits him to try and convince him to investigate two unsolved horrific murders. Hard to say whether this is a documentary or a re-creation: http://www.cinando.com/DefaultController.aspx?PageId=FicheFilm&IdC=11189&IdF=85915
The second about a murderer in Lyon, France called “At the Heart of Crime” hosted by Carole Rosseau: http://www.leblogtvnews.com/article-au-coeur-du-crime-avec-carole-rousseau-l-affaire-ortiz-46397949.html
I wrote back to Ms. Ladous on December 5, 2012:
“I’d be pleased to assist you in whatever way I can with the making of your documentary.
There are a few things I need to know and need for you to appreciate….” [Note: I have very specific but I think eclectic tastes in television programs and don’t want to be involved with anything that I do not understand or that I would not watch nor anything in which my input is not valued. Participating in the making of television programs, short or long, can be very time-consuming and expense-generating.]
“You told me you have read ‘Karla.’ I would not necessarily know that otherwise.
Would it be helpful to you were I able to get a French version to pass on?…. Your question about Dorothy Homolka, Karla’s mother: I don’t know who your source “investigator” is (there are a number of ill-informed people who persist in opinionating on the internet through various list-serves without even a basic working knowledge of the case) but I can tell you definitively that Mrs. Homolka did not suspect Tammy Lyn’s death was connected to either Bernardo or Karla until a good two years after the fact.
At that point of Karla’s violent separation from Mr. Bernardo, Mrs. Homolka knew something was very amiss but Karla did not tell her mother definitively until much later when her psychiatrist Dr. Hans Arndt “assisted” her composition of a comprehensive letter of confession.
Mrs. Homolka never suspected either of them had anything to do with Tammy Lyn’s death. My researcher conducted long conversations with Dorothy Homolka. Mrs. Homolka is not media-friendly, never has been and has never granted a formal interview to anyone except us.
If you knew Mrs. Homolka you would know that if she suspected such a thing she would never have sat back and accepted the coroner’s terribly flawed report that stated Tammy Lyn’s death was “accidental”.
If she knew anything she would have sounded the alarm and made sure the situation was resolved. She is not the kind of woman to keep anything to herself, including her opinions. She has many.
I could make time for you in January. What is your budget? I cannot collaborate for free, so how much of my time I could devote to you and your project depends on your budget. Let me know.
Nice to talk to you and thank you for your interest. I hope it’s a little warmer in France (I did not catch exactly where you are) at the moment than it is here in Toronto. Don’t forget your parka and toque and mittens. It’s damned cold in January in Toronto.”
A bit long you say. Perhaps, but it’s one of my pathologies that when engaged and confronted with ignorant questions or statements, I tend to go on. This is one of the reasons that I am shy of engagement and wary of strangers.
Doubly odd then, that this wayward stranger from the borderless and stateless land of Television would forsake the urbane pleasures of Paris, transverse the mighty Atlantic Ocean, make her way 90 miles northwest of Toronto in the worst snowstorm of the year to find three feet of snow accumulated in our quarter-mile long lane, had not taken the hint that the gods were against her enterprise and knock on our door. I enjoined Ms. Ladous to contact me by phone or email so that the questions I had could be answered and we could set up a proper session as I closed the door.
The local radio station was describing the school and road closures and they were legion. When we went out an hour later to go to town for supplies it was still snowing. There was no trace of Marina Ladous or her cameraman. If Marsha had not been there I would have thought I was hallucinating. I have not heard from or seen Marina Ladous again and a Google search of her name only turns up this blog?