Screening @ qFLIX Worcester 2018, Sunday, October 14 @ 1:15 PM

Sometimes the concept of “coming of age” is majorly whacked with a dose of “coming out,” particularly when you’ve got a story set in the middle of a sleepy town during a sordidly hot summer. Are we alluding to the heat as a metaphor here? Well, artists are in fact known for their propensity of acts of dramatic licensing, wouldn’t you say?

Take the unraveling story that occurs during the course of Ingrid Veninger‘s “Porcupine Lake” as a fine example of keen drama intermingled with honest writing and pretty darn great acting. Here, you’ve got a pair of teenage girls, Bea and Kate, thirteen, to be exact, who meet, establish a quirky friendship in a secluded hamlet of Northern, Ontario and try to come to terms with their blooming self- identities. 

Sounds fun, right? And oh, there’s more. Let us not leave out the fact both participants in this newfound friendship have a host of wacky (dysfunctional) family members just waiting to burst at the seam. Why is this starting to sound so incredibly Tennessee Williams? This one is a winner, for sure and will be screened at qFLIX Worcester, the acclaimed LGBTQ+ film festival initially spawned in Philly’s gayborhood.

Veninger’s “Porcupine Lake” is as brutally good as it gets. It’s not a surprise, having come from the inner guts of the hearty Canadian cougar who first got her break as an actress on the cult favorite “Friday the 13th: The Series,” and who successfully transitioned the verve she employed as an eighties scream queen into molding powerful directorial campaigns like “I am a good person/I am a bad person” (2011), “The Animal Project” (2013), and “He Hated Pigeons” (2015). Who knows where the inveterate director will go from here?

It’s not so much a teeny bopper type of melodrama so much as it is a colorful depiction of raw youth figuring themselves out that makes “Porcupine Lake” a pretty successful flick for the youngsters. Sure there’s a few scenes that have been overdone in similar teenage love stories, but I really admire Veninger’s audacity in tackling the issues pretty much head on with the criminally young cast. The personality juxtapositions between our two leads is equally vital here and there’s no doubt whatsoever that both Charlotte Salisbury (Bea) and Lucinda Armstrong-Hall are having one hell of a good time exploring who their characters are.

It’s a great thing, especially for Salisbury, who’s in her first time on a camera role here, whereas Hall’s already been placed in front of an audience due to her success as Holly Hoyland on the hit Australian soap-opera, “Neighbours.” It’s also obvious that director Veninger clearly cares about these characters in a profound way in how she’s drawn them. In essence, “Porcupine Lake” is going to make for a tremendous addition to the always entertaining qFLIX. We ALL hope to see you in attendance for this wild romp of a teenage ride.

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