Extraordinary Women: The Folk Artist

Back Lane Studios’ Special Event: 

Extraordinary Women: The Folk Artist

Producer Mary Young Leckie joins us for a screening and discussion of her film dramatizing the life of Nova Scotian artist Maud Lewis.

When filmmaker and producer Mary Young Leckie was in Halifax some 20 years ago, working on a film about the Halifax explosion, she learned about folk artist Maud Lewis (1903-1970) and thought her story had to be told.

It took 13 years, but, in 2016, Mary, the creative producer behind the project, and an international team brought the bio-pic Maudie to the screen. Mary, a High Park neighbour, and three of Maud’s descendants will be joining us for a screening of Maudie at the Revue Cinema and a discussion of the film, Maud’s story, her art and legacy.

Developing the narrative for the film posed a challenge, Mary says, until a consultant suggested that in fact it was a love story – if an unusual one. Oscar-nominated actors Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke are remarkable in their portrayals of Maud, crippled by rheumatoid arthritis but with a passion to paint, and Everett, the inarticulate, surly fish peddler who posts a notice for someone to clean his one-room shack. Maud, seeing that ad as a way to escape a confined life in her aunt’s house, applies for the job and moves in. 

Over the years, she covered surfaces inside and outside the house with cheerful flowers, birds, animals and other designs, and she began selling her brightly coloured paintings to people who dropped by her home. Maud and her work were eventually to fuel new interest in folk art in Canada, and her nostalgic paintings, created despite pain and disability, have become part of Nova Scotia’s identity.

How close does the movie parallel Maud and Everett’s actual lives? How did family members learn they were descendants of Maud’s only child, sold secretly to adoptive parents by her brother? What was the impact on them of seeing the movie, with their relative portrayed so vividly and sympathetically. We will hear from Mary; Tammy Boucher and Melissa Requil, Maud’s great granddaughters; and great, great granddaughter Robyn Meynard.

An Irish-Canadian co-production, directed by Aisling Walsh and filmed in Newfoundland, Maudie won multiple awards in Canada and Ireland. It has a 90 per cent ranking on Rotten Tomatoes.



Tickets: $15 (suggested donation) on Eventbrite at Maudie.eventbrite.com


Tickets: $15 (suggested donation) on Eventbrite at Maudie.eventbrite.com


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