Arts

Parts of the film were shot on-location at St. Paul’s University. Photo: Parker Townes.

Movie exploring psychotherapy in 1980s Ottawa will be in both English and French

St. Paul’s University was briefly transformed into a film set in a production that should inspire campus film buffs and aspiring filmmakers.

Karolyne Pickett—actress, producer and University of Ottawa alumna—was there recently shooting her debut independent film Broken Waters/ Eaux Troublés. It tells the story of a young female psychiatrist in mid-1980s Ottawa, focusing on her struggle against the then-mainstream concept of chemical psychiatry with her own firm belief in humanistic psychotherapy.

The film is bilingual as Pickett hopes to reflect the diversity of Canadian culture.

“It’s important on many levels,” she said on set. “It’s important for the world and also for Canadians to realise and appreciate the existence of communities in the minority language in Canada.”

“My hope is that it will strengthen the social fabric of the country because this film shows how the languages are intertwined, it’s not about a clash between Anglophones and Francophones.”

Her inspiration to make a bilingual film mainly comes from her past. She was brought up in a bilingual household in Vanier with a highly influential Francophone mother and an Anglophone father.  

“Thanks to both of them I’ve grown up to be a proud French-speaking Canadian but also a fully bilingual Canadian and I think there’s everything to gain and nothing to lose by knowing more than one language.”

Unlike many filmmakers, Pickett did not study the arts—in fact, she studied biology at the University of Ottawa and has a Master’s from the University of Toronto. She said she often switches back and forth between her passion for the arts and sciences.

Those two sides of me have been in struggle my whole life and I’ve struggled to balance them,” she said.

I’ve often felt like I could only do one and I therefore had to give up the other and then as I got older I realized that, you know, it’s not that black and white and that there will be periods in my life where one side of me subsides and the other one takes more dominance and then it’ll go back.”

“Right now, I’ll let my art side shine,” she added.

Picket said she is still making mistakes but identified the most important thing for any first-time filmmaker: passion for the project.

“Because this is what I think has enabled me to recruit the team that I have,” she explained.

“Because if the champion of the project doesn’t fully believe in it and is not fully passionate about it, why would anybody else join in? And as a first time you need the support a competent team that’s going to lift you up in your moments of need.”

Shooting began at St. Paul’s University late February and with plans to continue at various locations around Ottawa until March 4.

The film is inspired by Jocelyne Beaulieu’s play J’ai beaucoup changé depuis.