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Current events from our area for April 2015

Muskoka-mademovie plays at Norwood Theatre

Visitors to Rocky Crest Golf Resort last April may have caught sight of actors Patricia Clarkson, Scott Speedman and Tim Roth, who were staying at the resort while shooting the drama October Gale at the nearby Ross boathouse on Lake Joseph.

The film opens at the Norwood Theatre in Bracebridge on April 3. October Gale premiered March 6 in the United States and came to Canada March 27. 

Written and directed by Canadian filmmaker Ruba Nadda, October Gale tells the story of Helen, a grieving woman whose husband died in a violent October storm while closing their island cottage the year before. When she returns to the cottage in the spring, foul weather, a stranded stranger with a gunshot wound and a possible killer turn her reflective retreat into a struggle for survival.

Despite the suspenseful elements, Nadda explains that the movie is a character study. 

“It’s about a woman going through the loss of her husband and dealing with grief,” Nadda says. The elements of suspense and jeopardy heighten Helen’s emotional journey. “How would she deal with that and what would she do?” 

Nadda says the idea for the film came to her at an island cottage on Georgian Bay. “I always wondered what would happen if bad people showed up,” she admits with a laugh. “I always felt the location was prime for that kind of drama.”

The landscape and elements in Muskoka play strong roles in the film, according to Nadda. 

“They’re a leading character,” she says. A spring storm features prominently in the plot and a short filming schedule meant the cast and crew needed to be flexible when it came to the weather. “We made a decision that when we see a storm coming we’ll just drop everything that we’re doing inside and go out there and chase (it). We got some gorgeous shots,” Nadda says, although it was not always without some concern. “It can be quite dangerous. I didn’t realize how isolating nature can be. There was one shot where we were out in the boat and the waves were just terrifying.”

Nadda has written and directed 18 feature films and shorts at home in Canada as well as in Egypt and the Middle East, including 2009’s Cairo Time, which won the Toronto International Film Festival for best Canadian feature. October Gale reunites Nadda with Cairo Time star Patricia Clarkson, who plays Helen. “She’s incredible and a lot of fun to work with,” Nadda says. “I threw so much at her with this movie, and she was just unstoppable.”

Nadda and Clarkson are working on a third project together, a series for HBO that Nadda is sworn to secrecy about. Nadda is currently in Los Angeles working on the script, but reveals that Muskoka is her favourite place to write. “I love it – it’s where I’ve gotten most of my writing done, at my boyfriend’s family cottage in Honey Harbour.”

(The Ross boathouse was featured in the February issue of Muskoka Magazine. Their cottage is on Lake Joseph.)

Children learn forest safety

The Muskoka Boat and Heritage Centre is offering Hug a Tree and Survive program this spring.

The program, that helps teach children how to survive in the woods,  takes place on April 24.

“It teaches them how to avoid getting lost and what to do if they get lost,” says Ann Curley, operations manager of the Muskoka Boat & Heritage Centre. “It makes them outdoor smart.”

This presentation is aimed at children in grades K-5. Each participant gets a starter safety kit, which includes a Fox 40 whistle, signalling mirror and more. Call 705 687-2115 for information. 

Admission to this workshop is free!

Set sail for hospital gala fundraiser

Shake off the winter blues while supporting the Huntsville hospital. A cruise evening is the theme of the Huntsville Hospital Foundation charity gala on April 18 at Deerhurst in the ballroom.

“You will even be able to have a portrait with a cruise ship backdrop,” says Britta Gerwin, development officer/event and donor relations with the Huntsville Hospital Foundation.

The evening starts with a complimentary cocktail, followed by dinner, dancing and live and silent auctions. 

“One prize is two tickets to anywhere WestJet flies and includes a suitcase and a few other items,” she says. 

At Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare, 90 per cent of new equipment has been purchased through the foundations and auxiliaries. Hospitals do not get funding from the province for capital equipment. Funding is received for operating costs, which includes depreciation expense; however depreciation does not come close to covering the cost of buying state-of-the-art medical equipment.

For tickets call the foundation at 705-789--4483. “It’s going to be a great evening,” says Gerwin.  

Entertaining evening with Kenny and friends

Country fans will get all the entertainment they can handle. Direct from Las Vegas, Kenny Rogers and Friends is the ultimate tribute to Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash and Reba McEntire. Marty Edwards and the Memphis Cats band will keep you moving to the music on April 18 in Bracebridge.  

Favourite Kenny hits including Coward of the County, Lucille, Lady and more. This tribute includes the dazzling Wendy Engler as both Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire, singing classic country tunes, including Working 9 to 5 and Here You Come Again amongst the favourites. 

As a special bonus, the show also includes Jim Yorfido, widely regarded as the top Johnny Cash tribute artist in the industry, singing Ring of Fire and Boy Named Sue. 

It will be a celebration of country music at the Rene M. Caisse Theatre.

Humorous fiddle show is Barge fundraiser

A fast-paced show explores fiddling styles from across Canada. Scott Woods, Fiddlin’ in they Key of EH is at the Gravenhurst Opera House on May 1.

The show features plenty of old time fiddling, trick fiddling, family humour and culture that have become symbols of what truly makes us Canadians.

This show is a fundraiser for the Gravenhurst Sunday night summer barge concerts.

Famous zoomer joins Be My Guest

With a new vision on aging, the man behind ZoomerMedia, Moses Znaimer will be speaking in Bracebridge on April 29. 

His is the latest guest in Peter Jennings’ Be My Guest series. The Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP) is introducing a new chapter in April and Znaimer’s appearance will be proceeded by a meet and greet at which guests can learn more about Znaimer and CARP, of which Znaimer is president.

“Describing Moses Znaimer as a visionary is really fitting,” says Jennings. “After all, we’re talking about a man who’s imagination has been at the core of starting over 20 television enterprises such as CITY-TV, CityPulse 24, Bravo and MuchMusic.

“He’s done co-ventures with broadcasters in Argentina, Colombia, Finland and Spain. And long before the dawn of YouTube and Instagram, he anticipated the popularity of viewer-generated content, leading to impressive innovations like first-person, hand-held videography news reporting and opinions expressed on the air via Speaker’s Corner. 

As the president of CARP, Znaimer oversees a network of 55 chapters and 300,000 members. He’s also the founder, president and CEO of ZoomerMedia Limited which trades on the Toronto Venture Exchange. That company publishes the monthly Zoomer magazine, which has become the largest paid circulation periodical in Canada for people who are 45 plus. Its content is aimed at zoomers: boomers with zip.

“All this, by the way, from a guy who’s in his 70s,” says Jennings. “Clearly the head of an association for retired persons sees no reason to be retired himself!”

“When I contacted them about having Moses as a guest,” says Jennings. “They told me about their plans to introduce the new chapter and asked if I would be open to combining their event with mine. It made sense to me.”

At 6 p.m. on April 29 at the Riverside Inn, CARP will welcome guests with drinks and hors d’oeuvres and then at 7:30, Be My Guest will begin in the same location. Because CARP is looking after costs for the event, this edition of Be My Guest is free.

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