What was it like to film a movie in Sudbury in 1989? How does an artist stay independent and working in Canada? How are we supposed to pronounce her last name?
These questions and more will be answered when filmmaker Valerie Buhagiar — an icon of independent filmmaking in Canada — sits down with Sudbury.com editor Mark Gentili for a chat at 12:30 p.m. today (Feb. 5), live from Sudbury Indie Cinema. Click the image above to watch.
In 1989, Buhagiar starred in a little indie film called “Roadkill,” a feature-length film from writer-director Bruce McDonald that featured the highways and bi-ways of Northern Ontario, including Sudbury. Two years later, she starred in another McDonald vehicle, “Highway 61”, a story that begins in Thunder Bay.
As the 1990s wore on, Buhagiar moved behind the camera as well and began producing her own films, from shorts to feature lengths.
Buhagiar has carved out a parallel career as a writer and director. She honed her unique vision, a blend of surreal imagery and emotional warmth, in a series of award-winning shorts beginning in 1994 with “The Passion of Rita Camilleri.” Her second feature is her most ambitious work yet: “It's Hard To Be Human.”
It is fitting then that in her two-day visit to Sudbury as a guest of Sudbury Indie Cinema, the first event will be #WomenInFilmWednesday with the Northern Ontario Premiere of her latest feature: “It's Hard to be Human” (2017), winner of the Best Canadian Feature at Female Eye.
In the film, God kicks his daughter out of heaven and won’t let her back in until she learns empathy. "It's Hard to Be Human" is a surreal drama inspired by Strindberg’s “A Dream Play.” It's a visceral experience of Agnes, God's daughter, in the liminal place before death.
You can check out the screening and question and answer session 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 5.
Tickets cost $10 for co-op members and $14 for non-members online or at the door.
Buhagiar remains in the Nickel City for a screening of her shorts as well as her film “The Anniversary” (2014) from 10 a.m. to 2:20 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 6.
In “The Anniversary,” on the morning of their 20th wedding anniversary, Teresa's husband Sam goes for a run and keeps on running. Teresa carries on with the dinner celebrations figuring he'll show up eventually.
As the evening unfolds we realize Sam ran away a year ago and Teresa's tenacity is holding onto his return. Their teenage son, Nicky, gives the party a bit of magic as he spikes the food with some hallucinogenics causing a wide variety of effects on the dinner guests.
After a lot of laughter, tears and awkward embraces, Teresa realizes the truth about Sam's departure and what it means to say I Love You.
Tickets to this event cost $15 to $25 advance or $40 at the door.
Purchase tickets online in advance through Event Brite.