“Touch,” a short film made in Newfoundland starring Krystin Pellerin (of Republic of Doyle fame), and directed by Noel Harris, is raking in awards as it makes its way around the international film festival circuit.
Among other awards, it has won Best Narrative Short at the Directors Circle Festival of Shorts in the United States, and the Jury Choice Award at Diversity in Cannes Short Film Showcase in France.
It received an Honourable Jury Mention at the Mumbai Shorts International Film Festival in India, and Pellerin was named Best Actress for her performance in the film at the Henley Film Festival in the UK.
Most recently “Touch” won the Best Film Award at the Dieciminuti Film Festival, in Ceccano, Italy.
In the film, Pellerin plays the single mother of two young children. We first see her dodging the landlord and being threatened with eviction. When Pellerin’s character is offered an overnight cleaning shift an hour before it begins, she scrambles to find a babysitter, and ends up having to ask someone she would rather not.
We spoke to Pellerin about the film and travelling to Italy to attend the Dieciminuti Film Festival.
What is “Touch” about for you?
The film is about a woman who is in a desperate situation; she needs to make rent, she needs somebody to look after her children so she can take a job. She ends up being pushed to ask the last person she would want to for a favour.
Thematically, it’s about family having each other’s backs and just being there for each other in times of real need.
How did you prepare for the role?
Noel approached me and we collaborated as he was putting the final touches on the script. He really wanted me to get a sense of what life is like in that world, so he took me out to the less privileged parts of the city. I saw what it’s like to live day to day in that world.
“Touch” was filmed in Newfoundland, how important is place to the story? Would you say it’s more of a universal story or one that’s very much about what it’s like to live in Newfoundland right now?
I would say it’s more of a universal story because when it screened in Italy it was clear that it could speak to anybody. I find St. John’s a really inspiring place to work, and I feel really at home there. So I love working from home but I feel like “Touch” could’ve been set anywhere, at any time, and I think that’s why it’s been so successful in the festival circuit.
Can you tell me a bit about your experience at the Dieciminuti Film Festival?
Was this your fist time in Italy?
It was my first time in Italy, it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. It’s breathtaking.
The trip came out of the clear blue sky, Noel called me on the 26th of December and said they were going to go down. Then I was in Ceccano, where the Festival is, for two days and I met people from all over the world. I met people from Iran and Russia and Poland and Italy.
It was so affirming because our film from St. John’s was there, holding its own in international company.
Is there anything else you would like people to know about the film?
It’s a film I’m really proud of and I was just so happy to work with Noel and Mark O’Neil and everybody involved with it. It should be running in the festival circuit until the fall of 2017 and then it should be showing on a local broadcaster.