Director: MARK WIHAK

River is another small picture out of relative nowhere that would be swallowed whole in a more aggressive marketplace. Here, Mark Wihak’s wonderfully evocative near-romance has room to breathe without calling for life support. All you have to do is see it.

Lovely Regina, Saskatchewan, is the unnamed setting for the partially improvised story of a twentysomething boy and girl who meet one summer day, hang out, become roommates, hang out some more, cough up a few hard confessions, and watch their summer freckles fade into whatever happens next. River is about these two kids. It’s about all of us, at the point in our lives where childhood ends, and the world opens up. Made for $70,000, with a crew of five (including real pro cinematographer Patrick McLaughlin), first-time actors Adam Budd and Maya Batten-Young, and a shooting schedule of 20 tight days last August. All those associate with the project were, and remain, friends, colleagues, lovers or students in the film-production program Wihak teaches at the University of Regina. The project, like the film, captured a magic time in summer for them all. — “Small Pictures Out of Nowhere Get Somewhere” piece by Montreal Film Gazette’s John Griffin.


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