Nfld. & Labrador

N.L. movie An Audience of Chairs wins big at Atlantic International Film Festival

St. John's filmmaker Deanne Foley scooped up a several major trophies in Halifax this week.

Film by Deanne Foley won four major awards in Halifax this week

St.John's filmmaker Deanne Foley picked up a best director award, just one of four trophies her film nabbed in Halifax.

St. John's filmmaker Deanne Foley's third feature film, An Audience of Chairs, scooped up four big awards at the Atlantic International Film Festival this week.

Foley herself won for Best Atlantic Feature and Best Atlantic Director for the film, adapted from the novel by Joan Clark. The film's screenwriter Rosemary House, also from N.L., won for Best Atlantic Screenwriting, and St. John's-based Duane Andrews won for Best Atlantic Score or Song.

Winning big awards at the festival in Halifax is a huge honour, Foley told CBC Radio's On The Go Thursday from Sudbury, where she was about to screen the film.

"We are thrilled," she said, adding that the shock of the wins hadn't quite worn off yet.

Joint production between N.L. and Northern Ontario

An Audience of Chairs was filmed in both Newfoundland and Sudbury, and Foley said being able to access funding from both places helped her team create the film they wanted to make.

"It's such a film-friendly area here in Sudbury," she said.

She was looking forward to the screening in the Northern Ontario city given its support and involvement in the film's creation, and said the Halifax audience had emotional reactions to it. 

Deanne Foley (centre, in Blue Jays baseball cap) shot the film in both Newfoundland and Sudbury. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

"People were literally moved to tears," she said.

The source material itself is great, Foley said, and House did an excellent job of adapting the novel for the screen.

"It's just such a powerfully layered film about mental illness and it has such a strong female role with Maura MacKenzie [played by Carolina Bartczak], and I just thought it would be such an honour to be able to tell this story."

Foley praised Bartczak's performance along with the score from Andrews, another Newfoundlander who has released solo albums and plays with The Swinging Belles in addition to scoring music for film and television.

"He is a genius," she said of Andrews, who recorded the score for An Audience of Chairs with the Atlantic String Quartet.

"He worked tirelessly on crafting such a beautiful score for the film."

An Audience of Chairs is based on the Joan Clark novel of the same name. (The St. John's International Women's Film Festival)

Film opening St. John's festival

In a few weeks Foley will bring the film back to Newfoundland and Labrador, where her award-winning film will be the opening night selection at the St. John's International Women's Film Festival.

"I can't wait to bring the film back to St. John's and have our own local crew and cast come out and celebrate the film together," she said.

An Audience of Chairs will play at the St. John's festival on October 17 at 7:00 p.m. as part of the opening night gala. Foley is also one of six female directors involved in the closing night film Hopeless Romantic, playing on October 21.

With files from the St. John's Morning Show

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