Nova Scotian filmmaker Heather Young creates docu-fiction hybrid in MURMUR, premiering at Toronto International Film Festival.
July 31, 2019 (Toronto, ON) － From award-winning filmmaker Heather Young, MURMUR captures the quiet, contemplative story of Donna who, grappling with alcohol dependence and loneliness, turns to a growing number of pets to ease her pain. Starring a cast of Nova Scotian non-professional actors, many of whom are playing themselves in the film, Heather Young and producer Martha Cooley skillfully craft a documentary-feature narrative hybrid that captures an enduring story of aging and the human-animal connection. MURMUR will have its World Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival this September.
Following a DUI charge, sixty-something year-old Donna is scheduled to perform community service in an animal rescue shelter. Over time she begins to relate to the abandoned animals that surround her and she forms a particular bond with a senior dog who she brings home to prevent from being euthanized. She then begins rescuing other animals from the shelter and buying them online, until her small apartment is over-run – her unchecked compulsion for connection ultimately causing her home and life to fall into further disarray.
Shan MacDonald stars as Donna in MURMUR,, premiering at the 44th annual Toronto International Film Festival.
“It is important to me to tell the stories of older women and allow them to be complex, flawed and fully realized characters, the likes of which are rarely depicted in cinema,” says award-winning filmmaker Heather Young. “Donna is a difficult character, but hopefully one that will resonate. Her loneliness and addictive nature cause her to act in ways that are at times counterintuitive and destructive but ultimately she is looking for connection – and that is something that we can all relate to. We are happy MURMUR will find a stage here at TIFF and that audiences will have a glimpse into Donna’s world.”
MURMUR was funded with the support of Telefilm Canada and the Talent Fund, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Nova Scotia Film & Television Production Incentive Fund and Arts Nova Scotia.
Images and assets for press available here.
About Heather Young | DIRECTOR
Heather Young is a filmmaker originally from New Brunswick now living in Halifax, Nova Scotia. After graduating from the University of New Brunswick and NSCAD University she made several short films. FISH (2016) played at festivals all over the world including Palm Springs Shortfest, the Vancouver International Film Festival, Vienna Independent Shorts and TIFF Canada’s Top Ten Festival. FISH was also a Vimeo Staff Pick and won Best Short Film in the NSI Online Short Film Festival. Her latest short MILK (2017) had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (where she also participated in the TIFF Talent Lab), won Best Short Film (Canada) at Festival du nouveau cinema, and played TIFF Canada’s Top Ten, Aspen Shortsfest, the Maryland Film Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival, the London Short Film Festival, and many others. MURMUR is her first feature.
About Martha Cooley | PRODUCER
Martha Cooley is a filmmaker and cultural worker of settler ancestry based in Halifax, Nova Scotia (Mi’kma’ki). She is a recipient of the 2011 Canadian Progress Club Women of Excellence Award in the Arts and Culture Division for her work developing training and outreach programs in filmmaking. Martha is currently the Executive Director of the Atlantic Filmmakers Cooperative, where she manages the operations of a vibrant, nonprofit resource centre for independent filmmakers. MURMUR is her first feature as a producer.
July 10, 2019 (Toronto, ON) －From Tell Tale Productions and CBC Docs POV, Drags Kids has taken the Canadian festival circuit by storm. The acclaimed documentary was recognized with the Best Canadian Feature Award at Inside Out Festival, Canada’s premiere LGBT film festival, following its world premiere at Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival where the film became a feel-good smash hit.
Drag Kids follows four gender-bending youngsters as they come together to meet
like-minded peers in Montreal, Canada for a group performance at Pride Montreal. The documentary will air Thursday, July 25 at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT) on CBC Docs POV on CBC and on the free CBC Gem streaming service, and Sunday, July 28 at 6 p.m. ET (6:30 NT) on CBC News Network.
“The Drag Kids are trailblazers, and through their passionate commitment to being themselves, they have a lot to teach us about ourselves,” says director Megan Wennberg. “Sharing this film with audiences at Hot Docs and Inside Out has been an incredible experience, and we are excited to share it with the rest of the country on CBC and CBC Gem.”
The Drag Kids are Bracken (12 years old, based in Vancouver, B.C.); Jason a.k.a Suzan Bee Anthony (12 years old based in Springfield, Missouri); Nemis a.k.a Queen Lactatia (10 years old based in Montreal, Quebec); and Stephan a.k.a Laddy Gaga (10 years old based in Algorfa, Spain). Between the sequins, tears, and rehearsals, Drag Kids captures the importance of family - the ones we are born into, and the ones we create through unbreakable and fabulous bonds.
Images, assets and biographies of the Drag Kids are available for press here.
ABOUT DIRECTOR| Megan Wennberg
Megan Wennberg is based in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, but she loves travelling for work. As a writer and director, she works in both documentary and fiction, and her work has screened at festivals around the world and been broadcast on CBC, The Comedy Network and Documentary Channel. Megan has a Bachelor of Fine Arts, a Bachelor of Journalism, and she is a screenwriting alumni of the Canadian Film Centre.
ABOUT TELL TALE PRODUCTIONS
Tell Tale Productions specializes in developing and producing one-off documentaries,
non-scripted series, and interactive content. Our mission is to create factual entertainment and digital media that will resonate with audiences, drive ratings, and have long lasting global appeal. The company also acts as a service producer for clients including History Channel’s #1 rated series The Curse of Oak Island, Destination America docu-drama series Terror In The Woods, and Fox Television’s epic remake of the documentary series Cosmos.
Tell Tale Productions has developed and produced content for a wide range of broadcasters including the CBC, Documentary Channel, Discovery, History, Zoomer Media, AMI, NDR, and Super Channel. Our award-winning productions have been viewed by millions of people in more than 100 countries on dozens of broadcasters including ABC, Al Jazeera, France 5, HBO Europe, ORF, Red Bull, NHK, and YLE.
DOC announces new program, publications, complimentary Indigenous filmmaker memberships, and cross-country work-shops with former Hot Docs programmer Sean Farnel.
May 2, 2019 (Toronto, ON) － The Documentary Organization of Canada (DOC) has announced the return of Festival Concierge. The relaunch of the popular film festival distribution service follows the recent release of the DOC publication “The Roadmap to Creative Distribution,” extending DOC’s efforts to support and stimulate market access and discoverability opportunities for Canadian documentaries and their makers. A series of workshops, resources, and services in support of Canadian documentary producers seeking to leverage the international film festival circuit, Festival Concierge will provide filmmakers with strategies and guidance in navigating this complicated and ever-evolving market. Sean Farnel and DOC will be taking Festival Concierge, “The Roadmap to Creative Distribution” and workshops on “Mastering the Festival Launch” across Canada for a festival tour, including at Hot Docs, DOXA and RIDM where the tour will conclude in the Fall. Other stops include Sudbury, Halifax, and Winnipeg.
“Film festivals are important showcases and professional development opportunities for our members and their productions,” says Mathieu Dragonas, Executive Director of the Documentary Organization of Canada (DOC). “We understand that navigating the festival circuit is a daunting task. Our hope is that Festival Concierge helps demystify the process for our members and that, ultimately, we see more Canadian doc productions at international film festivals.”
Festival Concierge and the recently released DOC publication “The Roadmap To Creative Distribution” are intended to provide guidance for producers who are engaged in marketing, sales and distribution for their productions. To further the accessibility of their programming, DOC is announcing complimentary memberships for Indigenous-identifying filmmakers, effective May 3, 2019 through to December 31, 2020.
“The Roadmap to Creative Distribution” prepared by producer Chanda Chevannes is a comprehensive guide to the fluid, active, and constantly evolving ways by which producers approach managing their Intellectual Property.
Following “Mastering The Festival Launch” workshops at Hot Docs (April 26) and DOXA (May 6), DOC will release a second publication, “What Are Film Festivals For?,” prepared by Festival Concierge consultant Sean Farnel. This publication will provide insights, including case studies, into the nitty gritty of film festival distribution from a producer’s point-of-view.
Details for accessing Festival Concierge services will be available on the DOC at www.doc.org in mid-May.