North of Normal – quirky Canadian indie film tells tale of a strained but loving relationship between mother and daughter
Based on her riveting memoir, North of Normal follows Cea Sunrise Person’s unconventional childhood in the wilderness, her complicated relationship with her perpetually pot-smoking teen mom, and her incredible path to a version of normalcy on the runways of Paris.
After six years spent in the Yukon wilderness with her grandparents, fourteen-year-old Cea Sunrise Person reunites with her mother, Michelle, in North Bay. It’s not only Cea’s first time living in a city, but her first time living alone with her mom, without any terrible boyfriends getting in the way. It’s what Cea has always wanted. But when Michelle starts dating her married boss, Cea realizes that even though the surroundings are different, not much has changed. So, when she learns about a model search, which would send the winner to Paris with promises of a glamorous career, she decides to audition. Michelle is dismissive; modeling represents everything their counterculture family hates about modern society. But Cea sees it as a lifeline; an opportunity to provide for her mom, so she doesn’t need to rely on any more unreliable men.
Cea loses the contest, but her disappointment is compounded when she learns that even if she had won, her mother wasn’t planning to go with her, choosing instead to stay behind with her boyfriend. Michelle says she’s trying to build a family for them, but Cea thinks their family is already complete, and a revolving door of boyfriends gets in the way – and sometimes does serious harm. Realizing Michelle is never going to choose Cea over the current man in her life, Cea decides to become the self-sufficient woman she wishes her mom could be, charting her own path to a modeling career in Paris, with an inspiring combination of grit and resilience.
In theatres across Canada. Available from Elevation Pictures. Directed by Carly Stone. Starring: Sarah Gadon, Amanda Fix, James Darcy, and River Price-Maenpaa. Based on the Memoir North of Normal by Cea Sunrise Person.
Director’s Statement – Carly Stone
I read North Of Normal in one sitting. I’ve never done that before with a book. Cea Sunrise Person writes with so much humour and pathos, I was immediately captivated by her world and the characters that populated it. I was filled with what felt like endless inspiration to bring this visually rich and emotionally charged story to the screen.
I joined this project a number of years ago after Kyle Mann had optioned the book and sent me a copy. As a young female director, I could relate to Cea’s ambition and feminist spirit. But about a year into working on the project, I gave birth to my son, and my connection to the material became more intimate in a way I hadn’t anticipated. This story, at its core, is about a mother and her child. Where I had always related to Cea, I started to feel more empathy for Michelle. I felt protective over both of their complexities. Two strong female characters expressed in entirely different ways, infinitely intertwined with each other, forever defined by one another, and my goal was to capture that. When it came time to bring the script to life, I was seven months pregnant with my second child; this time, a girl. It felt fitting. Having my daughter with me, knowing she could hear me and absorb the energy on set, influenced the way I directed this project. I approached the mother/daughter relationship with greater compassion and I took risks with my craft in an effort to inspire a fearless sou
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.