September 28, 2023

VIFF 2023 | 'Seagrass' Counsels A Couples Therapy Retreat

"I'm actually not cut out for motherhood."
Ally Maki Luke Roberts Meredith Hama-Brown | VIFF 2023
Vancouver International Film Festival
VIFF 2023—Vancouver actress turned filmmaker Meredith Hama-Brown makes her feature directorial debut in the low-key, early-'90s British Columbia-set relationship drama Seagrass. Her film quietly explores personal dissatisfaction through two interracial couples who meet at a couples therapy retreat on Gabriola Island.

It stars Ally Maki and Luke Roberts as Judith and Steve, a seemingly happy couple on the surface, with two precocious young daughters, eleven-year-old Steph (Nyha Breitkreuz) and six-year-old Emmy (Remy Marthaller), who are mostly left to their own devices as their parents try to make a last-ditch attempt to save their crumbling marriage through group counselling.

Chris Pang and Sarah Gadon co-star the another couple, childless and more well-adjusted in appearance, who bring a stark contrast to Judith's family unit. Through the vacation setting and idyllic surroundings, Judith realizes how much she's lost touch with her own heritage and identity after the loss of her mother.

Hama-Brown deftly exposes the cracks in any perfect-looking family through the lens of childhood. Shot on film, Seagrass has a fresh take on its generational family drama. How the film juxtaposes character emotions with dramatic tension work to build the story's climax.

Seagrass screens at the 2023 Vancouver International Film Festival as part of the Northern Lights series at the Rio Theatre on September 29th and SFU Woodwards on October 1st. It also screens as part of the 2023 Vancouver Asian Film Festival on November 5th.

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