The 36th annual Atlantic Film Festival launched its program of Atlantic Canadian film selections to be presented over eight days in Halifax Canada from September 15th to 22nd. The festival will open with Irish/Canadian co-production Maudie, from director Aisling Walsh.

The film is based on the life of Nova Scotia folk artist, Maud Lewis, and is an unlikely romance in which the reclusive Everett Lewis (Ethan Hawke) hires a fragile yet determined woman named Maudie (Sally Hawkins) to be his housekeeper. Maudie, bright-eyed but hunched with crippled hands, yearns to be independent, to live away from her protective family. She also yearns, passionately, to create art. Unexpectedly, Everett finds himself falling in love. Maudie charts Everett’s efforts to protect himself from being hurt, Maudie’s deep and abiding love for this difficult man and her surprising rise to fame as a folk painter.

The film is directed by Song for a Raggy Boy director Aisling Walsh and written by Sherry White (Crackie, Relative Happiness).The film shot in Canada with Guy Godfree as cinematographer. Post-production took place in Windmill Lane, with Stephen O’Connell as editor. Susan Mullen of Parallel Film Productions produces, alongside Small Shack Productions, and Painted House Films. Financing comes from the Irish Film Board/Bord Scannán na hÉireann, Mongrel Media, Telefilm Canada, Newfoundland Film Development Corporation, Ontario Media Development Corporation, The Harold Greenberg Fund, and Corner Piece Capital. Maudie will World Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Speaking on the selection Walsh said:

I am so delighted to come back to Halifax to screen Maudie on the opening night of the Atlantic Film Festival. I cannot think of a better place to celebrate Maud Lewis’ life and work. Nova Scotia is where Maud Lewis’ story lives and breaths. It is where she is from. Halifax is particularly special for me as The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is where I started my journey on this film. I remember being so moved standing in front of Maud’s painted house for the first time.

Wayne Carter, Executive Director of the Atlantic Film Festival added:

Last year’s crop of Atlantic films went on to acclaim throughout the world and this year’s would appear set to continue the trend. The breadth of stories and quality of presentations are epic and unforgettable; hitting the mark on every subject imaginable. We cannot contain our excitement on welcoming Maudie as our Opening Night Gala. This film not only hits the mark on an emotional tie to the region but we are confident it is a film that will be a serious contender at awards time, early next year.


The Atlantic Film Festival (AFF) is an eight-day celebration of film, media and music from around the world. It’s a festival that turns Halifax – a charming and historic coastal city – into an international Mecca for the arts, abuzz with filmmakers, industry types and film lovers. This year’s event celebrates 36 years of the Festival and takes place from September 15th to 22nd.

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