True North | Future//Present
After an impaired-driving charge, Donna (Shan MacDonald), a lonely woman in her 60s, fulfills a community service sentence at a local animal shelter. Estranged from a daughter who won’t return her messages, Donna finds a source of desperately needed companionship when she takes home an ailing dog named Charlie about to be euthanized. Soon, she violates regulations and fills her apartment with more and more pets as she tries in vain to fill a chasmic emotional void.
In her heartbreaking and pointedly unsentimental debut feature, Heather Young - whose short films have played VIFF, including the award-winning Milk (VIFF 17) and Fish (VIFF 16) - squarely looks at her protagonist’s inner world with compassion without shying away from the selfishness of projected love and care, and its potential to become a blinding and consuming force. MacDonald, a nonprofessional actor in her first role, gives a tender and raw unscripted performance. Murmur is a story of how our seemingly pure gestures can be bound up with and clouded by need.