A car accident in the cold winter night leads two strangers, Joanne (Sonja Smits) and Chris (Jonas Bonnetta), to share a road trip the next day. As a snow storm rolls across their route, memories of the past year float through their minds. Processing the loss of his mother, Chris also copes with failing eyesight that could jeopardize his career as a filmmaker. And after losing her husband John (Colin Mochrie) near their cabin, Joanne must come to terms with the rituals of daily life without him. As their drive continues, their drifting memories reveal parallel experiences, helping each of them shift the focus of their destination.
I remember seeing “401 Towards London No. 1,” by Ontario painter Jack Chambers, and recognizing myself in it - despite the lack of people in the painting. The point of view, the light, and its feeling of weightlessness struck me as a completely ephemeral fragment - but one that I had experienced emotionally, sometime else in my life, growing up in south-western Ontario. My life has been filled with car, bus, and train rides along this route, on highways and country roads, and recently extended into south-eastern Ontario, where I’ve lived since 2012, in rural Prince Edward County. With each trip, and each year, I recognize the ghosts of past years (and trips) haunting me along the corridor. The west-east 401 highway corridor, in particular, is a tether to different eras of my life, and has always been a thematic subject I wanted to explore in cinema. But rather than scary, I’ve always felt this liminal state comforting, and the distance between trips to be cause for reflection. I’ve been trying to populate the landscape of this frame with characters for my whole career, and finally, with this narrative, I’m excited to combine fictional characters within this real landscape. Drifting Snow is a series of memory fragments, spirits along the rural tributaries of Ontario..