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Retreat (Short Film)

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Retreat is a 15-minute short narrative film directed by Erin Brandenburg, written by Henry Adam Svec, and starring Ron Leary. The story depicts grizzled songwriter Harold Murphy attempting to find solitude on a retreat to Pelee Island. He may be a local music legend, but Harold has lost his creative spark and he hopes that some time alone will enable him to write his next record. Instead of inspiration, Harold is distracted by the beauty and strangeness of the island, and by a migrant worker on a bike who haunts his days. Visually stunning, with scenes from the landscape of Pelee Island and music by acclaimed musician (and true local legend) Ron Leary, Retreat is an ode to searching for your artistic voice and finding it in the most unlikely of places.


Your donation will help this project get realized! Funds raised will go directly into pre-production and production costs, including artist fees, crew fees, equipment rental, travel, food and accommodation; funds will also go to post-production expenses, including editing, sound design and mixing, and music.


The project is to film Retreat over two days on location on Pelee Island, ON, the southernmost point in Canada. Pelee Island is known for its wine and is home to many species of endangered plants and animals; but the place has also long been a refuge for artists and musicians. Key creatives include Erin Brandenburg (Petrichor, BOBLO), DOP Tess Girard (Prison Farm, Shelter), writer Henry Adam Svec (Life Is Like Canadian Football and Other Authentic Folk Songs, Artificial Intelligent Folk Songs of Canada), music supervisor Andrew Penner (Sunparlour Players) and real-life local legend and grizzled musician Ron Leary as Harold Murphy.


Artist Bios:

Erin Brandenburg - Director/Executive Producer


Erin Brandenburg is a director and writer originally from Essex County, Ontario. Based in Toronto, she works with the multidisciplinary collective Kitchenband. Erin is a graduate of the directing program at the Soulpepper Academy, winner of the Enbridge Emerging Playwright’s Award, a finalist for the Gina Wilkinson prize, participant of the Stratford Playwright’s Retreat, The Banff Playwright’s Lab and the Longborough Lake Writer's Retreat (Crow's Theatre/Mongrel Media). She was an artist in residence at the Toronto Public Library through Artists in the Library, where she created the Albion VR Project in collaboration with Toasterlab. Selected directing credits include the touring social justice puppet musical Selah's Song (TOTB), The Flin Flon Cowboy (The Flin Flon Collective/Rendezvous With Madness Festival-Workman Arts), Knives in Hens (TMU), Forgiven/Forgotten (Audio Drama - TOTB), HOME DAY (Necessary Angel/Resilience Project), UnMute (Zoom Play/Podcast - TOTB), Remembering the Winnipeg General (Zeitpunktheatre), Everything I Couldn’t Tell You (Riser/Spiderbones), Blood Wedding (Soulpepper), This Will Lead to Dancing (TOTB), Petrichor (Summerworks),

Her plays include The Flin Flon Cowboy (Co-written with Ken Harrower), BOBLO (Theatre Centre/Kitchenband), The Great Lakes Project (Kitchenband), Petrichor (Summerworks), DRIVE (Kitchenband/Edge of the Woods Theatre), Detroit Time Machine (Rhubarb), Pelee (SummerWorks) and Reesor - co-written with Lauren Taylor.

Ron Leary - Lead Actor - Harold Murphy


Singer-songwriter Ron Leary’s smokey, rye-soaked voice is legendary throughout the Windsor and Southwestern Ontario region. Whether his songs touch on the politics of the day, the downtrodden, romance or joy, he’ll raise your spirits and leave you wilfully optimistic.

Indoctrinated to the stage at a very young age, Leary’s music career began by performing the community halls of Ontario’s tobacco belt with his parents’ country and western band The Corn Huskers.

Since the release of his critically acclaimed debut in 2006, The Road in Between, Ron Leary has logged countless miles up and down the 401, as well as the Trans-Canada coast to coast, touring and supporting his releases. His other highly acclaimed release is 2017’s Tobacco Fields. In 2024, the new album Deep South will be released.

Christina Ienna - Director of Photography



Christina Ienna is an award-winning cinematographer and filmmaker based in Toronto. She has extensive experience in documentary, narrative and commercial production. She is on the Board of the Canadian Society of Cinematographers and holds status as an Associate Member.

Christina graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Honours in Film and Communication Studies from the University of Windsor. She spent the early part of her career working in Alberta and British Columbia before moving to Toronto. Christina has over fifteen years of industry experience working across Canada and the United States with companies such as TOURISM CANADA, AMAZON, LIFETIME, PIXAR, VICE, CBC and UNIVERSAL MUSIC.

Henry Adam Svec - Screenwriter/Actor/Producer


Henry Adam Svec is a performer, writer, and scholar. His interdisciplinary works The CFL Sessions, Artificially Intelligent Folk Songs of Canada, and Folk Songs of Canada Now—each of which has blended recorded music, live performance, and narrative text—have been presented at galleries and festivals across Canada, including Hillside, Sappyfest, Eastern Edge, and Rhubarb. His recent novel, Life Is Like Canadian Football and Other Authentic Folk Songs (Invisible Publishing, 2021), also mixes genres and traditions, including the folk song anthology and Künstlerroman, and has been described in Canadian Literature as “a very funny book.” He has been an artist in residence at The Banff Centre, Roberts Street Social Centre, and the Klondike Institute of Art & Culture, and his writing has additionally appeared in The New Quarterly, Broken Pencil, C Magazine, and elsewhere.

Svec holds a PhD in media studies from the University of Western Ontario. His first scholarly book, American Folk Music as Tactical Media, was published by Amsterdam University Press in 2018 and received “Honorable Mention” from the International Association of Popular Music (Canada Branch) Book of the Year Award. He teaches at the University of Waterloo.

Andrew Penner - Music Supervisor


Andrew is an award-winning artist who can be heard on over 50 albums and has performed extensively throughout North America and Europe. In theatre, Andrew has worked for Soulpepper, Crows, Stratford Festival, Canadian Stage, NAC, Obsidian, Musical Stage Company, Native Earth, The Theatre Centre and many others. Andrew has created music for Film/T.V. including, “One Week”, “Small Town Murder Songs”, “Cooking with Stella”, “This Beautiful City”, “Eadweard” and “Lost Girl”. He is a founding member of the award-winning, multidisciplinary collective, Kitchenband who create stories inspired by obscure history and geography. Andrew is a Slaight Music Associate at Soulpepper Theatre. Andrew lives in Toronto, Canada with his wife and 3 sons. www.andrewpenner.ca

Main image photo by Ryan Brough.
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Organizer

Henry Svec
Organizer
Blenheim, ON

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