So Lavender received a theatrical release across Canada. Yeah! Here’s what some of the more intelligent critics had to say:
I’ve seen the film in theatres four times now.
The first time was at Tribeca Film Festival. As I mentioned in a previous post, New York was a dream within a dream.
The second time was in Toronto, at Cineplex Cinemas Yonge and Dundas Square. A lot of friends came out to the screening to show their love and support and enjoy the film, including Lusiana Lukman, who had always believed in the screenplay and who introduced it to Ed Gass-Donnelly and Ed to me.
Lavender sold out! Its run was extended, and expanded into additional cinemas, which is pretty huge for an indie film.
After the show, many glasses were raised in celebration at the Imperial Pub—a local bar next to the cinema. Everyone was overjoyed at how the film turned out. Some were literally on the edge of their seats while watching.
The third viewing was with Mum. She’s 88, so we went together to an afternoon showing when my focus could be on her. She stayed awake through the entire movie which is high praise from an 88 year-old. Then she got to see Yonge and Dundas Square at night for the first time. She found all the lights and buildings fascinating.
Finally, Lavender returned home—to the place it was originally written. Prince Edward County, Ontario. The film was screened at The Regent Theatre, on November 23rd, 2016.
To my surprise, upon arrival, I saw that my name was up on the marquee. I posted on Facebook that I was giddy. A friend commented that the film has been in major markets across the country and premiered in New York, but this made me giddy? What can I say? There’s something about being recognized at home.
There was a tremendous turn out for Lavender in the county; most stayed for the Q&A afterwards with yours truly. People drove in from as far away as Kingston and Kemptville: friends and neighbors, previous co-workers and employers, mates from college, many high school friends, and even some elementary school companions. Near the front was Sarah Harrison, who makes the best mustard in the world at Cressy Mustard Co., we have been friends since birth—when our parents held a joint baby shower for us (I obviously don’t recall the details).
A few friends had experienced the film with me in Toronto, but made the journey to enjoy it again—picking up on subtle nuances in the second viewing. And there were those in the audience who came to the screening just to see a good thriller—and judging by everyone’s reaction, they weren’t disappointed.
It was a thrill for me to get to share the film in the first theatre that I ever watched a movie in. It think it was the first Star Wars—I would have been 6 or 7.
At the end of the night, Cole Jackson, who was the first person to read the script, asked me to sign the copy that I gave him in 1999. I’d asked him jokingly if he wanted me to sign it those 17 years ago, but he said not until he saw it on the big screen. Unbeknownst to me, he’d held onto the original screenplay all this time—and now the moment had arrived.
Toronto After Party. Photos taken by Colleen Yates.
The Regent Theatre show photos by Louis Thomas.
The soap in the photo near the end was a gift from Andrew McLuhan at the screening. Andrew was a driving force behind getting the film shown at The Regent.