Following on from appearances in Toronto, Halifax, and Calgary, Aisling Walsh’s Irish/Canadian co-production Maudie heads west to open the 2016 Vancouver International Film Festival. It will be joined at the festival by Fiona Tan’s Irish/Dutch/German co-production History’s Future.

MaudieMaudie 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.

Maudie is directed by Song for a Raggy Boy director 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.

The film world premiered at the Telluride Film Festival recently, where it has gathered strong word-of-mouth and awards buzz for the performance of Sally Hawkins in the lead role. It will play the Toronto International Film Festival next week. Director Aisling Walsh will be on-hand to introduce Maudie, the VIFF’s opening gala on September 29th.

History's FutureHistory’s Future, from director and artist Fiona Tan, was co-written with film critic Jonathan Romney. It stars Irish actor and writer Mark O’Halloran (Adam & Paul) in the leading role, alongside Denis Lavant (Holy Motors), Johanna ter Steege (Spoorloos), and fellow Irishman Brian Gleeson (Standby). The film fuses fiction and documentary into a visual essay charting an amnesiac’s odyssey into regaining memory via a Europe in turmoil. By the time his journey ends, MP (O’Halloran) has learned to survive, newly armed with an understanding of how we live today.

History’s Future is produced by Cormac Fox for Irish based Vico Films, Floor Onrust for the Dutch based FamilyAffair Films, and Benny Drechsel for Germany’s RohFilm. It is financed with the assistance of Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board, Netherlands Film Fund, Mondriaan Fund, Mitteldeutsche Medienforderung, Fonds 21, MEDIA, Amsterdam Fund for the Arts, Dommering Foundation, and the Ellipsis Foundation.

The Vancouver International Film Festival also added I, Daniel Blake, the Cannes Palme d’Or winner which had Ireland’s Robbie Ryan as DoP, to its lineup of special presentations.

The 35th Vancouver International Film Festival runs September 29 – October 14

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