Following sold out premiere screenings at TIFF, the MURMUR director collects the coveted FIPRESCI award for the Discovery Program.
－ Announced by TIFF and the jury of the 2019 FIPRESCI (THE PRIZE OF THE
INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF FILM CRITICS) on September 12,
2019, award-winning filmmaker Heather
Young was named the recipient of the coveted 2019 FIPRESCI
award of the Discovery Program at the 43rd annual Toronto International Film
Festival for her debut feature title, Murmur.
Starring a cast of Nova Scotian non-professional actors, many of whom are
playing themselves in the film, Heather Young and producer Martha Cooley
skillfully craft a documentary-narrative hybrid feature that captures an
enduring story of aging and the human-animal connection. Murmur had its
World Premiere at TIFF, and will be the Opening Gala film at FIN: Atlantic
International Film Festival on the evening of September 12, the first time in
30 years a first-time feature filmmaker had led the Atlantic festival.
“Winning the FIPRESCI Prize for the Discovery Program at TIFF is a
wonderful surprise and a true honour,” says filmmaker Heather Young. “This film
was made with a small budget and a small crew in Nova Scotia and I am so proud
that everyone’s hard work has led us to this very special recognition.”
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 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
“It is important to me to tell the stories of older women and
allow them to be complex, flawed and fully realized characters, the likes of
which are rarely depicted in cinema,” says award-winning filmmaker Heather
Young of Murmur. “Donna is a difficult character, but hopefully one that will
resonate. Her loneliness and addictive nature cause her to act in ways that are
at times counterintuitive and destructive but ultimately she is looking for
connection — and that is something that we can all relate to.”
Following it’s TIFF and FIN screenings Murmur continues its festival tour with stops at VIFF (Vancouver International Film Festival), CIFF (Calgary International Film Festival), and FNC (Montreal Festival du Nouveau Cinema.)Murmur was funded with the support of Telefilm Canada and the Talent Fund, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Nova Scotia Film & Television Production Incentive Fund and Arts Nova Scotia.
The FIPRESCI jury is comprised of Jury President Rita di Santo (UK), Fr d ric Jaeger (Germany), Liam Lacey (Canada), Ruben Peralta Rigaud (Dominican Republic), M ge Turan (Turkey), and Claire Valade (Canada).
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.
About Martha Cooley | PRODUCER
Martha Cooley is a filmmaker and cultural worker of settler ancestry based in
Halifax, Nova Scotia (Mi’kma’ki). She is a recipient of the 2011 Canadian
Progress Club Women of Excellence Award in the Arts and Culture Division for
her work developing training and outreach programs in filmmaking. Martha is
currently the Executive Director of the Atlantic Filmmakers Cooperative, where
she manages the operations of a vibrant, nonprofit resource centre for
independent filmmakers. MURMUR is her first feature as a producer.
Photo credit: Shot by Luis Mora in the TIFF x Samsung Studio, courtesy of the Toronto International Film Festival (2019)