The Retreat, developed through NSI Features First, premieres across Canada and US today

The Retreat

Rachel Young

Outreach and Engagement Lead

The Retreat, developed by writer/producer Alyson Richards and director Pat Mills through the National Screen Institute’s Features First program, makes its theatrical and digital premiere across the US and Canada today.

It’s the 26th fully produced feature film to come from the program.

NSI Features First is a renowned development training launch pad for producer/writer teams looking to produce their first or second feature film with strong commercial appeal.

“Getting the phone call that we’d been accepted into the NSI Features First program was the first step in a long journey to getting The Retreat made. It was our first outside validation for the project and we felt very supported through the program,” says writer/producer Alyson Richards. “For me as a writer, it was just the boost of confidence I needed.”

Alyson and Pat participated in the program from 2008 to 2009 where they worked on the fundamentals of filmmaking and received a cash award and up to $17K of in-kind services.

The Retreat started her long journey with NSI Features First – through script development, director mentorship and workshopping ideas with other teams, the National Screen Institute played an important part in getting our feature made,” says director Pat Mills.

The Retreat follows a lesbian couple who embark on a romantic weekend at a remote cabin in the woods but must fight for their lives when a group of militant serial killers hunt them.

Production on the film began in 2019, shortly after it was named a semi-finalist in the Slamdance Screenplay Competition the previous year.

“Alyson and Pat have shown dedication and love for their craft since day one,” says NSI CEO Joy Loewen. “They both have worked tirelessly to see this story brought to life on screen, and we are excited to see their hard work pay off.”

Quiver Distribution acquired the worldwide rights to the thriller in April, with the theatrical and digital premieres slated for May 21 in the US and Canada.

The Retreat is available in select theatres and on demand on Google Play and Amazon Prime.

The film stars Celina Sinden, Tommie-Amber Pirie, Sarah Allen, Munro Chambers, Aaron Ashmore and Rossif Sutherland.

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NSI Features First 2008 was made possible by Presenting Sponsor Telefilm Canada; Program Partners The Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation and Canwest; Supporting Sponsor Corus Entertainment Inc.; Provincial Sponsor Manitoba Film & Music; and Service Sponsor William F. White International Inc. and NSI Core Funders Manitoba Sport, Culture & Heritage and the City of Winnipeg through the Winnipeg Arts Council.

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About the National Screen Institute – Canada (NSI)

Propelled by a visionary network of donors, private and public organizations, board members and staff, the National Screen Institute supports creators from across Canada to tell unforgettable stories. Through industry-informed training and mentoring in film, television and digital media, students and alumni find their voice and place on the global stage, inspiring us to shape a better world.

We are committed to training participants from a diverse community of voices including Black, Indigenous, People of Colour, women, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning and two-spirit (LGBTQ2S+), people with disabilities, those outside large urban centres, those from regional and remote areas and various religious groups.

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Rachel Young, Outreach and Engagement Lead

The National Screen Institute is supported by: Core Funders: Manitoba Sport, Culture and Heritage, the City of Winnipeg through the Winnipeg Arts Council; Benefactors: TELUSTelefilm Canada; Patron: CBC; Builders: APTNBell Media; Indigenous Training Programs Partner: Directors Guild of Canada; Strategic Sponsors: Manitoba Film & MusicRBC Emerging Artists Projectdocumentary ChannelCBC GemCentre for Aboriginal Human Resource Development (CAHRD)Indigenous Screen Office (ISO)Canada Media Fund (CMF)The Winnipeg Foundation, Super Channel; Industry Partner: National Film Board of Canada; Friends: StantecWilliam F. White InternationalCompany 3.