The weather wasn't exactly co-operative this past spring as Toronto filmmaker Ruba Nadda shot her latest film, "October Gale," at a cottage on Lake Joseph in the Muskokas.
Even though it was April, the lake was still frozen, and she had to wait for the ice to melt before she started shooting.
“My actors were amazing,” she said. “They toughed it out, and they were survivors. It was freezing. Ironically, when you watch the movie, it doesn't look like they're freezing. The cold doesn't really translate on screen.”
But given that Nadda grew up in Elliot Lake, she ought to be used to wintery weather.
On Sept. 11, "October Gale" will have its world premiere amid the glitz and glamour of the Toronto International Film Festival.
As a northerner at heart, though, Nadda said what she's really excited for is its showing at the Cinéfest Sudbury International Film Festival. "October Gale" will be screened starting at 7 p.m. Sept. 13 in Cinéfest's opening gala slot.
“We lived in Elliot Lake, and we would like vacation in Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie, so every single time one of my films have gone to Sudbury, it's meant a little more to me, because it feels like home,” Nadda said.
The 41-year-old filmmaker, whose biggest success to date has been 2009's "Cairo Time," which won Best Canadian Feature Film at the Toronto International Film Festival that year, said she loves Cinéfest audiences.
Nadda said she plans to be on hand in Sudbury to introduce her film and answer questions from audience members afterwards.
“I'm seven months pregnant, and everyone's like 'Are you still coming?' "she said. "I wouldn't miss it for the world.
“The audiences are divine. They're movie-goers, they're generous and they're interested. I love doing the Q and As.”
"October Gale" is about 50-something Toronto doctor Helen Matthews (Patricia Clarkson, also the lead actress in "Cairo Time"), who is mourning the death of her husband.
She retreats to an isolated island cabin where they'd spent some of their most loving moments together.
Her reminiscences are cut short when a mysterious man, Will (Scott Speedman), washes ashore, bleeding profusely from a gunshot wound. She tends to his injuries, but he refuses to explain what happened.
But when a nasty storm traps them on the island, and Will's would-be killer returns to finish the job, Helen and Will's ability to trust each other becomes a matter of survival.
“When you feel like you've just given up on life, you feel like you've lost everything ... and you don't think you want to carry on, I think human nature will surprise you,” Nadda said. “That's your instinct — survival.”
"October Gale" will appeal to a wide audience, she said.
“It's a drama, first and foremost, about a woman going through grief and loss, so it's very emotional,” Nadda said. “But at the same time, it's very much a thriller. It's entertaining.”
Cinéfest 2014 gala films
October Gale – Sept. 13
Grace of Monaco – Sept. 14
Nightcrawler – Sept. 15
My Old Lady – Sept. 16
The Masked Saint – Sept. 17
Hector and the Search for Happiness – Sept. 18
Le règne de la beauté – Sept. 19
Maps to the Stars – Sept. 20
Foxcatcher – Sept. 21
For more information, visit www.cinefest.com.