Sar­nia film­maker still loves do­ing some­thing new

The Observer (Sarnia) - - NEWS - PAUL MORDEN

Sar­nia-raised film­maker Pa­tri­cia Rozema is set to re­turn home this week­end with her lat­est “pas­sion project.”

She’s sched­uled to at­tend Sat­ur­day’s screen­ing of her film, Mouth­piece, on Sat­ur­day at 7 p.m. at the Im­pe­rial The­atre dur­ing the South West­ern In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val.

Mouth­piece, which pre­miered at the Toronto In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val, is based on the play of the same name by No­rah Sa­dava and Amy Nost­bakken, who also star in both the stage and film ver­sions.

Rozema said one of her daugh­ters was in­tern­ing at a the­atre com­pany and urged her to see the play.

“It was mind-blow­ing,” Rozema said. “It was such an hon­est voice of young women deal­ing with their own in­ter­nal­ized misog­yny … and hon­est about how they felt like they had over­come their moth­ers’ hangups and in­ter­nal bar­ri­ers, but in fact, just had new ones that were still the same.”

Rozema said she was also drawn to the play’s style of sto­ry­telling.

“They have two women play­ing one woman, which is in­sane and thrilling.”

The ap­proach cap­tures a du­al­ity ex­pe­ri­enced par­tic­u­larly by women “since we’ve been en­cour­aged to look at our­selves from the out­side since the be­gin­ning of time,” Rozema said.

But in­stead of the ex­pected ap­proach of por­tray­ing ex­tremes of a char­ac­ter, such as their good and bad ver­sions, the two voices in the play rep­re­sent “the dual con­scious­ness that I cer­tainly have,” Rozema said.

“I am con­stantly in de­bate with my­self about whether to do it this way or that way.”

The two ac­tors even phys­i­cally fight at times as they have that in­ter­nal de­bate, “and some­times they just slip into per­fect sync, when their emo­tions are uni­fied and un­com­pli­cated,” Rozema said. “I was just over­joyed to stum­ble on some­thing that had a com­pletely new form.”

The story in both ver­sions is about a woman who re­turns home to de­liver the eu­logy at her mother’s fu­neral.

“It’s about loss of a par­ent, and that al­ways just shakes you to your core, I think,” Rozema said.

Af­ter see­ing the play, she thought it would make an in­ter­est­ing film, and Sa­dava and Nost­bakken were on board.

All three of them wrote the screen­play, and Rozema pulled to­gether fund­ing to make the film with her new pro­duc­tion com­pany, Cru­cial Things.

Born in Kingston, Rozema grew up in Sar­nia. Af­ter start­ing out in jour­nal­ism, she be­gan mak­ing films and her 1987 de­but, I’ve Heard the Mer­maids Sing­ing, won a prize at the Cannes Film Fes­ti­val.

It was the start of a suc­cess­ful ca­reer mak­ing her own films, as well as work­ing in tele­vi­sion as a di­rec­tor and writer.

“I feel like I’m just get­ting started, I re­ally do,” she said.

Rozema said she has had many ex­pe­ri­ences while work­ing in dif­fer­ent gen­res over the years.

“I love a chal­lenge; I love to try on a new voice,” she said.

Rozema said she feels that ap­proach has brought her to a point where all her skills are in place.

“And now fi­nally, women are in style,” she added. “Much more big­ger doors are be­ing opened, much more eas­ily.”

In­for­ma­tion about the film fes­ti­val can be found on­line at www. swiff.ca.

Rozema is sched­uled to take part in a ques­tion-and-an­swer ses­sion at Sat­ur­day’s screen­ing.

THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Pa­tri­cia Rozema is pho­tographed in Toronto dur­ing the Toronto In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val in Septem­ber. Rozema, who grew up in Sar­nia, is sched­uled to at­tend a screen­ing of her new film, Mouth­piece, Sat­ur­day at the Im­pe­rial The­atre dur­ing the South West­ern In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val.

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