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Small Town Murder Songs

Small Town Murder Songs

Small Town Murder Songs

Ed Gass-Donnelly

  • Country: Canada
  • Year: 2010
  • Language: English
  • Producer: Lee Kim, Ed Gass-Donnelly
  • Screenplay: Ed Gass-Donnelly
  • Runtime: 75
  • Programmes:

A modern, gothic tale of crime and redemption about an aging police officer from a small Ontario Mennonite town who hides a violent past until a local murder upsets the calm of his newly reformed life. The film stars Peter Stormare, Jill Hennessy, Aaron Poole and Martha Plimpton.

DramaCrime & ThrillerSexualityReligion & SpiritualityAlientation

screening times

    • Sunday September 12
    • 7:00:00 PM
    • AMC 6
    • Tuesday September 14
    • 12:30:00 PM
    • VARSITY 7
    • Friday September 17
    • 9:30:00 PM
    • AMC 6

Note: indicates Premium Screening.

official description

Who raped and killed the girl whose body is found by the lake near a rural Ontario community? And who was she? At first, these questions appear to be pivotal to Small Town Murder Songs, the riveting new film by Ed Gass-Donnelly. But are they? The police investigation is led by Walter (Peter Stormare), the troubled local police chief in this small Mennonite farming town. As the investigation unfolds Walter enters a labyrinth of religious repression and self-doubt that threaten everything he believes.

The opening scene introduces a quartet of characters that emerge in a tragic tableau; if at first cryptic, the subsequent plot reveals a complex interpersonal geometry. We learn that Walter had an affair with Rita (Jill Hennessy), who notified police when her thuggish boyfriend (Stephen Eric McIntyre) found the dead girl’s body. Walter now lives with Sam, a decent, God-fearing waitress (played by a luminous Martha Plimpton). As the murder investigation develops, Walter is pressured by all facets of the community: the provincial police, the townspeople, his Mennonite father and brother (who won’t forgive his questionable past), and Rita, who shuts him out completely. Before long, the duress pushes Walter to the edges of his sanity.

The terrific music, pumped up to dramatic effect, acts as the chorus in this disturbing drama. The film is divided into evangelical chapters (including the ominously titled “Repent and profess your faith”) which illustrate the weight of Christianity upon both Walter and his community. Brendan Steacy’s cinematography, a small but pitch-perfect performance from the wonderful Jackie Burroughs and the inimitable Peter Stormare in one of his strongest performances to date all conspire to make Small Town Murder Songs a devilishly good film.

Martin Bilodeau

director bio

Ed Gass-Donnelly was born in Toronto. He began directing for the theatre before moving into filmmaking. He has directed the short films Dying Like Ophelia (02), Pony (02), Polished (02), Pink (03) and Sixty Seconds of Regret (2009). Gass-Donnelly participated in the Festival’s Talent Lab in 2005 and has directed numerous music videos. His feature films are This Beautiful City, which premiered at the Festival in 2007, and Small Town Murder Songs (10).

full credits

Principal Cast: Peter Stormare, Aaron Poole, Martha Plimpton, Jill Hennessy
Lee Kim, Ed Gass-Donnelly
Brendan Steacy
Ed Gass-Donnelly
J.R Fountain, Tyler Whitham
Bruce Peninsula
Production Designer:
Rachel Ford

Canadian Distributor:
Production Company:
3 Legged Dog Films
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