Trailblazer a guest of Sudbury Indie Cinema this week

Valerie Buhagiar is a guest of Sudbury Indie Cinema next week. Supplied

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Best known for her work on stage and screen as an actor, Toronto-based Valerie Buhagiar started making short films in the 1990s and today is working on her fourth feature, rumoured to be shot in Northern Ontario later this year.

Both her shorts and her features have consistently attracted critical praise and festival awards. With a dual career in front and behind the camera, she is a singular artist and considered a trailblazer for women seeking a path in film in the director’s chair.

Buhagiar first came to prominence as the co-star of Bruce McDonald’s trailblazing Canadian indie film hits Roadkill and Highway 61. Since then, she has appeared in scores of films and TV series, has introduced films for The Showcase Revue, all the while continuing her stage career with recent hits, including a Dora nomination for Botticelli in the Fire and Sunday in Sodom at Canadian Stage.

She has carved out a parallel career as a writer and director. She honed her unique vision, a blend of surreal imagery and emotional warmth, in a series of award-winning shorts beginning in 1994 with The Passion of Rita Camilleri. Her second feature is her most ambitious work yet: It’s Hard To Be Human.

It is fitting then that in her two-day visit to Sudbury as a guest of Sudbury Indie Cinema; the first event will be #WomenInFilmWednesday with the Northern Ontario premiere of her latest feature: It’s Hard To Be Human (2017), winner of the Best Canadian Feature at Female Eye.

The event goes Feb, 5, 6-8 p.m. Tickets range $10 for co-op members, $14 for non-members and are available online or at the door.

Synopsis: God kicks his daughter out of heaven and won’t let her back in until she learns empathy. It’s Hard to be Human is a surreal drama inspired by Strindberg’s A Dream Play.

It’s a visceral experience of Agnes, God’s daughter, in the liminal place before death.

Then on Feb. 6, she will appear at the Inspiring Mind Series, 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Tickets: $15-$25 advance, or $40 at the door. For advance tix:

The schedule:

10 a.m. Selected Shorts (1994-2008).

12:30 p.m. The Anniversary (2014).

Synopsis: On the morning of their 20th wedding anniversary, Teresa’s husband Sam goes for a run and keeps on running. Teresa carries on with the dinner celebrations figuring he’ll show up eventually.

As the evening unfolds, we realize Sam ran away a year ago and Teresa’s tenacity is holding onto his return. Their teenage son, Nicky, gives the party a bit of magic as he spikes the food with some hallucinogenics causing a wide variety of effects on the dinner guests.

After a lot of laughter, tears and awkward embraces, Teresa realizes the truth about Sam’s departure and what it means to say I Love You.

For more information on the films of Valerie Buhagiar visit:

Twitter: @SudburyStar