An internationally award-winning Canadian film with a local tie makes its Prince Edward County debut at the Regent August 28th.
The Maiden is a 2022 art-house film co-produced by the County’s Daiva Zalnieriunas. It won critical acclaim at the Venice International Film Festival, winning a Cinema of the Future award. For its North American premiere, it was selected for the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival.
The Maiden is set in Calgary, where Ms. Zalnieriunas’s partner, director Graham Foy, grew up. A perfect summer day ends in the tragic death of a teenager, but weaves a cosmic connection between three friends. Despite the film’s suburban setting, Ms. Zalnieriunas believes the tragic circumstances of the passing of an adolescent will resonate in this rural community, where local teenagers experience that level of hurt and pain at regular intervals.
“There’s a tragic accident at the beginning of the film and all the characters feel like they’re living on the edge —something I felt growing up in the County,” she said.
With director, producer and writer credits to her name, Ms. Zalnieriunas is currently working in front of the camera in the Toronto film industry. She can recall, however, many a Monday night spent at the Regent, taking in the latest Cinefest offerings.
“There would often be an international film we wouldn’t get at the big theatre in Belleville — sometimes art house, often subtitled. I saw many movies at the Regent — something I don’t believe I would have had access to otherwise. It was very inspiring to me as a teen to see that kind of cinema.”
Nearly two decades later, the County native is proud to bring her own art house film to the Regent to share with friends and family on a Monday evening. Mr. Foy and Ms. Zalnieriunas plan on hosting a Question and Answer session after the screening and the producer’s parents, local winemakers Richard Johnston and Vida Zalnieriunas of By Chadsey’s Cairn, will sponsor the evening. Their Gewürztraminer vintage will be for sale.
Positive reviews of the full-length feature film dot the New York Times, Toronto Star, Variety, Screen Daily, and The Globe and Mail. The production had an extended theatrical run across Canada. The Maiden is now showing up on screens in the Netherlands and the UK. Its message seems to be resonating with young people across the globe.
“I’m hoping some Prince Edward County teens will come out to the screening — a lot of recent high school grads from all over the world have found a connection to the film and I would love for that to be the case for someone in my hometown,” said Ms. Zalnieriunas.