Sally Hawkins as Maud Photo by Duncan Deyoung, Courtesy of Mongrel Media.

Indie Film bliss

First screening of the season a bittersweet tale of a Canadian artist

By Alexandra Heck

Free Press Staff

When the film ended there was silence inside the Vogue Theatre—a mixture of awe, shock and sorrow.

The Indie Films Fernie fall season kicked off with a tear jerker on Sunday night, showing a one-time screening of the film, Maudie.

Based on the real-life story of Canadian folk artist Maude Lewis, the film follows a young woman suffering from intense rheumatoid arthritis and her journey of becoming a successful painter.

Maudie struggles with simple tasks, she walks with a limp and struggles to hold objects, but her determination makes up for what her shaking hands lack.

She has one true passion—painting.

After her brother sells their family home and leaves her in the care of her sinister, overprotective aunt, Maudie seeks a job as a housemaid for a local fish peddler.

Everett Lewis is an angry, authoritarian man who doesn’t have the patience for Maudie’s physical barriers, but as time passes between the two in his tiny, ramshackle Nova Scotia house, they develop a quirky love.

“We’re like two mismatched socks,” Maudie whispers to Everett, dancing in circles, standing on his toes inside their bedroom on their wedding night.

Maudie’s paintings start to gain traction in town and even nationally. She’s shocked when the President of the United States writes a letter commissioning a work.

The film explores the roller-coaster nature of Maude and Everett’s marriage, haunted by a past that Maude holds onto dearly.

“To me it was quite bittersweet,” said Chris Stockey, organizer of the Indie Film lineup at the Vogue Theatre. “She made her own way despite everyone telling her she couldn’t do anything.”

Stockey says that the movie, which has been featured at the Toronto International Film Festival, was a way of connecting Fernie viewers to a lesser-known piece of Canadian culture and history.

“We felt that it would resonate with our audience,” she said.

Each season Indie Films Fernie chooses one Canadian film, a documentary, an international film and a general crowd-pleaser.

“It’s hard for people to be exposed to some of the smaller films,” said Stockey. “I think it’s just nice to bring films to the communities where you just don’t get the variety.”

The next screening is on October 1 with a documentary on climate change called An Inconvenient Sequel; which is an update on the state of climate change a decade after the release of An Inconvenient Truth.

Indie Films will also be screening Their Finest on November 5, a British comedy about a female film producer in wartime Europe.

The final show will be on December 3 with a Swedish film, A Man Called Ove.

Stockey says that northern European films usually dabble with a dry sense of humour.

“Quite often they tackle serious subjects but with a little darker humour,” she said.

For more information about the fall lineup, and to purchase tickets visit TheArtsStation.com

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