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Maud Lewis Biopic to Premiere at Toronto International Film Festival

A long-awaited biopic based on the life of iconic Nova Scotia folk artist Maud Lewis is due to have its Canadian premiere on September 12 at the Toronto International Film Festival, Hants Journal reports.

Before her death in 1970, the formally untrained Lewis created hundreds of paintings depicting cheerful scenes of life in rural Nova Scotia—the sphere into which she was born in 1903, lived a life of physical challenges including rheumatoid arthritis that limited her physical mobility, and died.

Lewis also painted the near-entirety of the small one-room house where she lived with husband Everett with bright, garden-like designs. The house itself is now in the collection of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax.

According to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia website, Lewis sold her paintings via a nearby roadway, where a sign “Paintings for sale” encouraged passerby to stop.

Originally conceived in 2003, according to the Hants Journal, the Maud Lewis biopic (titled Maudie, and distributed by Mongrel Media) was originally slated to star Canadian actor Rachel McAdams.

Later, casting changed. British actor Sally Hawkins is playing Maud, while American actor Ethan Hawke is playing her husband, Everett.

Maudie is directed by Irish director Aisling Walsh, who directed the award-winning 2003 film Song for a Raggy Boy, as well as BAFTA-nominated adaptation of the Sarah Waters novel Fingersmith.

According to the Hants Journal, Sherry White of Newfoundland wrote the script, and the feature was filmed last year in Newfoundland, where the crew recreated the original one-room home of Maud and Everett.

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