Director Statement

“Salvation” is a film about a devoted Christian woman who much to her surprise wakes up in hell instead of heaven. The hell she finds herself in is quite different from the one she has been taught to fear. In fact, the only frightening aspect of this hell is realizing what she has become.

My excitement for this project came from a combination of my passion for play and my question of an afterlife. Born into a Romanian Orthodox family I was baptized, went to church every Easter and said daily prayers. I did this almost without question until a couple of years ago. I’m not sure exactly what changed, perhaps I did. All I know is I have more questions than ever before.

With “Salvation” I play around with expectation and explore how a woman (Phoebe) who has made the personal choice to be faithful to God might feel realizing that she got it all wrong. I am not out to condemn Christianity; I am more interested in how people justify their beliefs.

Throughout the film I explore the idea of a personal hell and challenge the complexity in defining the terms good and evil. I am intrigued by all the biblical texts, but even more so about the way each person interprets it. I have always been fascinated by the fear some people experience with Christianity. There are a lot of rules in the bible that have good intentions and moral lessons to teach. Yet I find, despite the fact that being faithful to a God can enhance someone’s quality of life, sometimes it causes harm to others. I am saddened by the prejudice homosexuals still experience in our modern world. I also see people who claim they are devoted Christians break their own rules and condemn others who do the same. These people deeply interest me.

Since the film is such a character driven piece, I was afraid I wouldn’t find someone strong enough to bring Phoebe to life. However, I was fortunate enough to have June B. Wilde join the team and her brilliant performance has exceeded all my expectations. She embodies the duality of Phoebe’s nature perfectly, interpreting her in a vulnerable and honest way. Furthermore, Matty Finochio’s performance as Lu is fresh and delighting. His charm and spontaneity add a lot of humour to the film, while still allowing for his sensitivity to rise to the surface. Lucifer’s relationship to Phoebe is a love-hate, a tango of seduction, humour and compassion. Elizabeth Marleau (Camille) and Hunter Elliot (Matthew) also deliver very strong and impressionable performances. It was an amazing learning experience to get the opportunity to direct such terrific and talented actors.

“Salvation” is a dark comedy, a religious-satire. As the great playwright Eugène Ionesco said “light makes shadows darker, shadows intensify light… the comic is tragic.” I also believe that tragic moments can be absurdly amusing. I think it is this quality we have as humans to laugh in hopeless situations that makes us unique.

I am proud of this film and extremely thankful for the help and dedication from all the cast and crew. I invite you to explore this website for more information on the film and attend a screening.

Sonia Suvagau