THE FIPRESCI AND SLAMDANCE GRAND JURY PRIZE WINNER CLAIMS THE WIN IN ONLINE AWARD SHOWCASE.
On the evening of May 28, 2020, Heather Young’s acclaimed debut feature film Murmur was announced as the winner of the Canadian Screen Award for John Dunning Award for Best First Feature Length Film. Masterfully created by the award-winning director and producer duo Heather Young and Martha Cooley, the film highlights an enduring story of aging and the human-animal connection – portrayed by its cast of Nova Scotian non-professional actors, whose roles are largely inspired by their own lives.
Murmur previously received the FIPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics) award of the Discovery Program at the Toronto International Film Festival, where the film had its World premiere in 2019. Murmur also opened the Atlantic International Film Festival, which marked the first time a debut female filmmaker led the Atlantic festival in 30 years, and where the film picked up awards for Best Atlantic Feature, Best Atlantic Director, and Best Atlantic Screenplay.
“We are thrilled that Murmur has been recognized by the Canadian Academy,” says multiple award-winning filmmaker Heather Young following her Canadian Screen Award win. “We are grateful to have been recognized among such talented filmmakers and are so proud of our whole team. This is a welcome burst of energy for the film at a time when many of our plans for the film have been altered by COVID-19.”
Murmur follows Donna, a sixty-something year-old who is scheduled to perform community service in an animal rescue shelter following a DUI charge. Over time, Donna (portrayed by Nova Scotia native and first-time actor, Shan MacDonald) begins to relate to the abandoned animals that surround her and she forms a particular bond with a senior dog who she brings home to prevent him from being euthanized. Donna begins collecting other animals from the shelter and buying them online, until her small apartment is over-run and her unchecked compulsion for connection ultimately causes her home and life to fall into further disarray.
About Heather Young | DIRECTOR
Heather Young is a filmmaker originally from New Brunswick now living in Halifax, Nova Scotia. After graduating from the University of New Brunswick and NSCAD University she made several short films. FISH (2016) played at festivals all over the world including Palm Springs Shortfest, the Vancouver International Film Festival, Vienna Independent Shorts and TIFF Canada’s Top Ten Festival. FISH was also a Vimeo Staff Pick and won Best Short Film in the NSI Online Short Film Festival. Her latest short MILK (2017) had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (where she also participated in the TIFF Talent Lab), won Best Short Film (Canada) at Festival du nouveau cinema, and played TIFF Canada’s Top Ten, Aspen Shortsfest, the Maryland Film Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival, the London Short Film Festival, and many others. MURMUR is her first feature.