Is Guelph filmmaker the “Rocky Balboa” of Franco-ontarian cinema?
Hoping to see the first bilingual film from Ontario premiere at TIFF
July 5, 2022, Guelph (ON) – “They told me to pick a language,” says independent filmmaker, Karolyne Natasha of her film Brise Glace/Broken Waters. “My heart sank when I heard that, and that’s when I knew I was going to make a bilingual film or none at all.”
Produced by the aptly named Les Films Believe, headquartered in Guelph Ontario, the film and the filmmaker are a story of resilience. Years of scriptwriting, pulling together top talent and cobbling funds together to finance the production finally led to shooting in February 2019. The COVID pandemic sidelined post-production plans but now, recently submitted to the Toronto International Film Festival, the independent film has just released its trailer and is hoping for a big break on the big screen.
“It reminds me of the story of Sylvester Stalone. He wrote the script for Rocky when he was broke and he had the hardest time getting it made. But he stuck to his vision and it worked,” says Natasha. “I believe in this film, in the team behind it and in the potential for bilingual cinema in Canada.”
If selected for TIFF, Brise Glace/Broken Waters would be the first bilingual film from Ontario to premiere at the festival. Described by the producer as “Antigone meets Away from Her,” the indie film is a feminist drama set in the 1980’s era of the superwoman and when the male dominated world of psychiatry was focused on prescribing drugs cocktails. When ambitious psychiatrist Dr. Marguerite Lafontaine wants to try a new approach –psychotherapy– with a serial baby-snatching patient in the grips of an imaginary pregnancy, she faces nothing but obstacles. This issue of medicating mental illness remains relevant and contemporary.
Not only is the story timely, the cast and crew are an assemblage of top bilingual talent from the stage and screen. “That bilingual reality was obvious on set as much as it is on screen,” says Natasha.
The film is inspired by Jocelyne Beaulieu’s play J’ai beaucoup changé depuis with Franco-ontarian theatre legend and 2022 Trillium Book Award finalist, Marie-Thé Morin, as one of the film’s scriptwriters. Dr. Marguerite Lafontaine, the lead role, is played by Canadian actress Valérie Descheneaux, best known for Radio-Canada’s L’Auberge du Chien Noir. Natalie Tannous, who plays Dr Roy, starred as the judge in Oscar-nominated Antigone. Talent behind the camera included playwright and frequent stage director with Les Indisciplinés de Toronto, Pierre Gregory, and Director of Photography Onno Weeda from the series Suits and In the Dark. Set designer Colleen Williamson was on the team nominated for Best Production Design at the Academy Awards for Nightmare Alley and the film’s editor, ZhiMin Hu, is a recent alumna from the prestigious Women in the Director’s Chair program.
“For millions of Canadians, speaking English and French in different contexts is our reality. One we never see reflected in Canadian films”, says Natasha. “t’s time to change that.”
For more information or to arrange an interview:
Dominique O’Rourke, Accolade Communications