After a winter car accident in the cold night, middle aged Chris and senior Joanne agree to share a car ride together the next day - mainly to avoid fines for being under the influence and without a licence. While they travel toward Ottawa in a winter storm rolling across Ontario’s 401 highway corridor, each of them reflects on the past year in their lives. Joanne lost her husband in bad weather a year ago, skiing in the Gatineau mountains, and has been stalling her relocation. With his mother unconscious in the hospital, Chris was tending to her old farmhouse, trying to ready it for sale, and not get himself hooked into staying in the area. As the road and their stories drift past one another, they each find a new exit at 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..