Deanne Foley is a local filmmaker on fire: Her debut feature, Beat Down, starring Robb Wells of Trailer Park Boys and Marthe Bernard of Republic of Doyle, won 3 Canadian Comedy Award nominations. She outdid herself by following up on that acclaim with Relative Happiness: it was nominated for and won several awards, and sold around the world including China, Australia, and the UK.
Rosemary House is most recently known for a fabulous local food documentary & interactive website called The Hungry Month of March, and for writing and producing a successful adaptation of Kevin Major’s classic, Hold Fast. Foley & House have partnered up as director and writer respectively, to turn an epic local novel into a film of the same name: An Audience of Chairs.
About the Book
The novel was written by Joan Clark, one of our province’s most famed living writers. Clark co-founded the Alberta Writers Guild and the literary journal Dandelion, before moving to Newfoundland and racking up some impressive award wins and nominations. Since moving here, she was named to the order of Canada.
Her novel, An Audience of Chairs, is largely about the toll her mental illness has taken on her taxed relationships with those around her. Clark has openly noted that the idea for the book came in part from her own familial legacy of depression, with which she struggled at one time, and which led a grandmother to suicide.
Clark made two false starts at writing this novel, the first time was 30 years before she sat to write it. “When I picked up the novel for the third time, I was surprised that I was able to indulge my sense of humour, to let go and have fun. Once the humour kicked in, I was off and running.”
The Film Adaptation Has Already Won Awards
The film adaption unfolds the plot in a different manner, starting with concert piainist Maura Mackenzie believing the world is hers to conquer; believing her beauty and talent will be strong enough to mask the demons that threaten to engulf her. With an absent husband, and two young daughters at home, her precarious sanity begins to unravel. One summer day, burning with manic energy, she makes a terrible mistake – a mistake that will change her life.
The film has just won four awards at the 38th FIN International Atlantic Film Festival including, including the Best Feature, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Original Score, courtesy of Duane Andrews.
The movie stars Carolina Bartczak — known for her role in X men Apocalypse, Gord Rand (Orphan Black) and multi-Gemini award winner Peter MacNeill. The film was shot in Northern Ontario and Newfoundland.
An Audience of Chairs will open the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival on October 17th. The next day, from 12:30-2 at Rocket Bakery, you can catch “Lunch with the Filmmakers” event. Join the lead actress Carolina Bartczak, director Deanne Foley and film editor Wiebke von Carolsfeld for an intimate lunch panel, where you can chat with all 3 about their industry, craft, jobs, and the film itself.