Having lost her beloved mum, Tilley moves from the country to the city to pursue a life in music and care for a friend’s aged Dawg.

A confrontation on the wrong side of the harbour tests Tilley’s mettle as she fights to say a proper goodbye to Dawg and finally mourn her mother.

Creative team

Writer/director: Shelley Thompson
Producer: Gay Hauser

Filmmaker’s statement

The loss of a beloved parent seems to be the transition place to adulthood at any age: a time when there is stocktaking and a profound confrontation of one’s own mortality.

Losing my mother in 1999, I realised years later that I’d never properly mourned her, never finished whatever unfinished business we had. That can become a handicap, and sometimes some kind of shock, some quite unrelated event allows us to finally address and lay to rest that central relationship, and let the love move to a new place.

To imagine that same stocktaking in such a young person as Tilley, already full of questions and poised for change, is to recognize that youth is tough enough without losing someone you’d hoped would be a guide for a little longer.

Dawg has come, in part, from a desire to create something as a tribute to my own mother whom I lost before all the questions I had for her were answered.

I’m interested in simple stories, gently told. Stories that move and resonate for everyone.

About Shelley Thompson

Shelley Thompson

A Calgarian, Shelley Thompson trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) UK, the Canadian Film Centre in Toronto (2015) and is a recent participant of Women In the Director’s Chair (WIDC 2016) program.

Before settling in Nova Scotia in 1997, Shelley worked extensively in the UK including at the Royal National Theatre, the West End and regions, on series for Thames TV and the BBC; and extensive radio work for BBC and BBC World Service.

Since settling in Nova Scotia, she has portrayed Barb Lahey for 11 seasons on Trailer Park Boys, as well as varied roles in features and television.

Her playwriting includes A Kind of Faith (2004), Leaving Wonderland (2015) and various plays for children (Belinda the Bicycle Witch, Lost and Found, Bluenose Billy).

Dawg (2015), her first short film, won hearts at family festivals across North America.

Leaving Wonderland, her first feature, was developed from her stage play of the same name. Dawn, Her Dad and the Tractor, a feature supported by the Canada Council, is continuing development supported by WIDC. Her feature ensemble comedy, The Benefit, was developed during her time at the Atlantic Film Festival Script Development Program (2016); and her short film Bats (2016) debuted at the Atlantic Film Festival.

Shelley is the proud parent of singer/songwriter T. Thomason and a keen advocate for LGBTQ issues.

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