Out now. Set in the 1980's amongst the sparse landscape of an isolated farming community, four restless adolescent girls band together to escape their troubled lives by reclaiming an abandoned farmhouse as their own. Official Selection at TIFF 2022 Directed by Sheila Pye Starring Maddy Martin, Jenna Warren, Sadie Rose | Youtube: Game Theory Films


Canadian filmmaker and writer Sheila Pye is busy working on a new project which will see the late Agatha Christie back on the big screen, but this time the focus will be on Christie’s own true life.

Sheila Pye at the 12th Evolution Mallorca International Film Festival in Palma.

Sheila, who is also a contemporary visual artist working in photography, video art and performance and continues to mount exhibitions worldwide, has lived in Pollensa for the past two years, having spent 13 years living and working in Madrid.

One of her earlier films, The Red Virgin, starred the highly acclaimed Spanish actress Maribel Verdú, and she has just presented her latest production, The Young Arsonists, at the 12th Evolution Mallorca International Film Festival in Palma.

“It’s very Canadian set in rural Canada so I knew that it had to be shot there.
“We were setting it up structurally to be a co-production with Spain because I live here and wanted to do the post-production here, and I had some Spanish actors in mind as well, so we were sort of structuring it that way. We got a lot of public funding in Canada, so we knew we had to shoot there but we wanted to do the post-production between Madrid and Toronto.

“But right when we were in pre-production, gearing up to shoot my dream which I had been working on for three years, the pandemic hit and everything got cancelled.

“And at that point we didn’t really know if we were going to be able to film anything ever again.
“Then I was told that it really wasn’t the time to make the film, so we postponed it by a year but eventually managed to start shooting during the pandemic, which was quite a harrowing experience; it was a very intense period. We shot in Hamilton, near where I grew up. I was there for about three months and when I could I was popping back and forth to Madrid where my daughter was living. So it was very hectic as well.

Amazing opportunities
“But it was also very interesting because we had to get used to the new Zoom way of working and it did work. I heard a great quote the other day when someone was complaining about remote working at home. It was ‘no, you’re working with home, not at home’. And I think that’s what it was, embracing a whole new way of working and for me it’s opened up a lot of new amazing opportunities and different ways of living.

“I have always wanted to live in Mallorca, but I wanted to wait until my daughter was older, so all the new ways of remote working have changed my life and work for the better.
“And after the pandemic I realised that life is short and I needed to live where I felt most inspired and where I wanted to make my next film, which is set here.

Related news

“As a filmmaker you’re always working on various projects at the same time.
“But the film I am most inspired to do here is about Agatha Christie in Pollensa in the 1920s. I’m writing a story about her life and it’s going to be a fun project. It’s going to be very different from my last film (The Young Arsonists) which is dark, heavy and very personal and intimate. The next one is also going to be a murder mystery, but it’s going to be light, fun and playful.

Christie’s disappearance
“It’s not based on any of Christie’s books, it’s based on her disappearance. She disappeared in the ‘20s after finding out that her husband had cheated on her and left her for a younger woman. She woke up one morning, kissed her daughter goodbye and left only to drive into field and crash her car in a forest. The police found it, but there were no signs of either foul play or her. So a huge manhunt ensued. Everyone presumed that Agatha Christie was dead, missing or had killed herself. One of the biggest nationwide manhunts in the UK happened, led by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, to find this missing author.

So, all of a sudden for me she was at the centre of her own story; she was the protagonist of one of her murder mysteries. She eventually showed up in real life at a spa in Harrogate registered as Mrs. Tressa Neele (the surname of her husband’s lover) from Cape Town, and she claimed amnesia and had no recollection of what had happened over the previous eleven days.

“Throughout her life, even in her autobiography, she never spoke about what happened. Nobody really knows what happened. There are tons of theories out there. What I’m doing is inventing my fun version of what happened.

“To that extent the film is based on true events. I’m going to have her opening her eyes in my story after crashing her car and she’s on a boat from Palma to Formentor to meet Adam Diehl, the Argentine poet who has just bought the whole peninsula and is creating a hotel there.

“And then she gets embroiled in this murder mystery again in Pollensa, assisting a private investigator who’s been hired by a local woman, and my goal is to film it all here in Mallorca. I’m totally inspired here, we have this most beautiful set every day. I see it and I feel I just can’t wait to film something here.

Never give up
“From an artist’s perspective, the colours, the light, the blue of the sky, it’s such an inspirational island and where I’ve always wanted to live and work, and now I am.

“But one thing I’ve learnt is to never give up. I’ve failed so many times, so many rejection letters, I’m going to like wallpaper a room with them. You go through life with so many projects and dreams but then it’s failing, failing, failing, but for those one hundred ‘nos’, there’s always one ‘yes’. So don’t give up,” she said.
“And then you get involved with festivals like this and Sandra has done an amazing job, it’s great.”