Norma Jeane and the Tropic of Cancer

After accidentally witnessing the ‘birds and the bees’ in action, eight-year-old Norma Jeane embarks on a quest against her strict Italian father to understand sex and, in the process, love.

Creative team

Writer: Laura Notarianni
Director/co-producer: Joshua Demers
Co-producers: Shannon Fewster, Andrew Hunter

Filmmaker’s statement

Norma Jeane & the Tropic of Cancer was a collaboration through and through.

Writer Laura Notarianni’s script had great personal depth and beautiful simplicity, and it was my first opportunity as a director to breathe in another person’s words and use them to paint my own version of the story.

Shooting November 2010, the project was shaped by a long post production, the necessary battle of creative work versus paying rent. The lengthy percolation, albeit, brought many fruits, and we ended up dramatically cutting down what I had naively perceived as the picture lock of a coming-of-age into a more focused narrative of a father and daughter negotiating her growing up in the absence of the mother.

We were blessed with the finding of Francesca Catanzariti, who perfectly encapsulated the curiosity, tenacity and vulnerability of eight-year-old Norma Jeane, as well as the stoicism of Vince Moia as her father and the pure grace and magic of Heather Marie Annis.

Isai Rivera Blas’ short but vital role was also a great gift as was the great sensitivity of our director of photography, Andrew Hunter, and the tireless efforts of co-producer Shannon Fewster.

There’s a quote I always seem to pull during the creative prep of my last few films, one from the novel, No Great Mischief, another family saga.

“All of us are better when we’re loved.”

And we are.

About Joshua Demers

Joshua Demers

Joshua Demers is a director, writer and producer.

His fourth short, Emily, was produced with a grant awarded by bravoFACT, while his third, Norma Jeane and the Tropic of Cancer premiered at the Montréal World Film Festival in 2013.

His second effort, The Architect, received distribution with Shorts International, UK and sold in three territories including the US, winning best student film at the Alaska International Film Awards along with several other festival showings.

Both The Architect and Lead Us Not Into Temptation were nominated for best fiction short at York University’s annual Cinesiege competition.

In summer 2011, Joshua formed Just Focus Films with fellow filmmaker and photojournalist Elisa L. Iannacone, one of the top 10 emerging companies selected in 2011 by Project Wildfire, a Toronto-based social business incubator.

Joshua has over six years of diverse Canadian film experience with stints in accounting and archiving, film budgeting and scheduling, as a trainee assistant director, line producer and office administrator.

An alumnus of the CMPA mentorship program, Joshua graduated summa cum laude with a BFA in film production and a master of fine arts in screenwriting, both with York University.

About Laura Notarianni

Laura Notarianni

As director of scripted programming for Temple Street, Laura is responsible for finding new projects for the development slate as well working with writers on active development projects and current productions. She is the point person for project submissions and is actively involved in finding new material and developing creative arenas to pair with writers and foster into pitches.

Notarianni’s involvement at Temple Street began in 2008 in the story department on Being Erica and, after two seasons, she transitioned to Temple Street and has been working in development ever since. Laura became the director of scripted programming in 2012.

She received an honors degree in film production and screenwriting from York University in Toronto.

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