Cloudburst (2011 film)

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Cloudburst (2011 film) posater.png
Directed byThom Fitzgerald
Produced byThom Fitzgerald
Doug Pettigrew
Screenplay byThom Fitzgerald
Based onCloudburst
by Thom Fitzgerald
StarringOlympia Dukakis
Brenda Fricker
Ryan Doucette
Kristin Booth
Michael McPhee
Jeremy Akerman
John Dunsworth
Music byJason Michael MacIsaac
Warren Robert
CinematographyTom Harting
Edited byAngela Baker
Distributed bySidney Kimmel Entertainment
Release date
  • September 16, 2011 (2011-09-16) (Atlantic)
  • September 23, 2011 (2011-09-23) (Edmonton)
  • February 20, 2012 (2012-02-20) (Glasgow)
Running time
93 minutes
CountryUnited States

Cloudburst is a 2011 Canadian-American comedy-drama film written and directed by Thom Fitzgerald and starring Olympia Dukakis and Brenda Fricker. It premiered at the Atlantic Film Festival in Halifax, Nova Scotia on September 16, 2011.[1] The film is an adaptation of Fitzgerald's 2010 play of the same name.


Stella (Dukakis) and Dotty (Fricker) are a lesbian couple from Maine who embark on a Thelma and Louise-style road trip to Nova Scotia to get married after Dotty is moved into a nursing home by her granddaughter.[1] Along the way they pick up Prentice (Ryan Doucette), a hitchhiker travelling home to Nova Scotia to visit his dying mother, and the three bond deeply as they travel.[2]

Stage play[edit]

Cloudburst debuted as a stage play on April 8, 2010 at Plutonium Playhouse in Halifax, Nova Scotia.[3] The play starred Carroll Godsman, Deborah Allen, Ryan Doucette, Marlane O'Brien, Michael McPhee and Amy Reitsma. The successful engagement ran for five weeks and closed on May 8, 2010. The production was nominated for several Merritt Awards, Nova Scotia's professional theatre awards, including nominations for Outstanding Production, Outstanding New Play (Fitzgerald) Outstanding Lead Actress (Allen), Outstanding Supporting Actor (Doucette), and Outstanding Set Design (Fitzgerald).[4] Fitzgerald won the Merritt Award for Outstanding New Play.[5]


Fitzgerald adapted his own stage play for the screen. The film version was produced by Doug Pettigrew and Fitzgerald, and executive produced by Sidney Kimmel, Vicki McCarty, William Jarblum, Trudy Pettigrew, Dana Warren and Shandi Mitchell.[6] Fitzgerald had originally planned for the role of Dotty to be played by Joan Orenstein, but as she died while he was writing it, he cast Fricker instead.[1] In press for the film, Fricker praised the screenplay, "I was so moved by it. The love story was so beautiful I couldn't say no to it."[7] Three members of the original stage cast reprised their roles: Ryan Doucette, Marlane O'Brien, and Michael McPhee.


The film debuted to an enthusiastic standing ovation on September 16, 2011 at the Atlantic Film Festival, where it won an Atlantic Canada Award for Best Screenplay and the People's Choice Audience Award for Best Film of the Festival. Its second festival appearance was October 20, 2011 at Cinéfest Sudbury International Film Festival, where it also won the Audience Choice Award for Best Film, and on October 23, 2011 the film was the opening night selection of the Edmonton International Film Festival where it won the Audience Award for Best Canadian Film. Cloudburst was very well received at film festivals from coast to coast in Canada, winning awards at festivals in Halifax, Montreal, Kingston, Edmonton, Victoria, and others.

Cloudburst made its U.S. debut at the Palm Springs International Film Festival where it was named a Best of the Fest. The film made its Australian debut at the Breath of Fresh Air Tasmania Film Festival. It made its European debut as Opening Night Gala of the Dublin International Film Festival. It was also selected as Opening Night Gala of the British Film Institute London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival and as the closing-night film of Frameline 36.

Brenda Fricker commented in 2012, "Of all the films I’ve made, only three do I remember where I felt I’d moved forward as an actress: Cloudburst, My Left Foot and The Field." [8]

Awards and honors[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "A queer Thelma and Louise story" Archived September 26, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. Xtra!, September 13, 2011.
  2. ^ "Cloudburst stars hit Halifax". The Chronicle Herald, December 6, 2012.
  3. ^ Watson, Kate. "Cloudburst Review". The Coast Weekly Magazine. The Coast Publishing. Retrieved October 5, 2011.
  4. ^ "2011 Robert Merritt Awards Recognizing Excellence in Nova Scotian Theatre". The Merritt Awards. Theatre Nova Scotia. Archived from the original on October 10, 2013. Retrieved October 5, 2011.
  5. ^ "Merritt Awards". Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia. Athabasca University. Retrieved October 5, 2011.
  6. ^ "Cloudburst (2011)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved October 5, 2011.
  7. ^ Hall, Jamie. "Edmonton Film Festival opens with a Cloudburst". Edmonton Journal. Edmonton Journal. Retrieved October 5, 2011.
  8. ^ Barnard, Elissa (December 11, 2012). "Actress hails Cloudburst". The Chronicle-Herald. Retrieved January 6, 2013.
  9. ^ a b c Eldridge, Richard. "Ron Gant's Good Day Atlanta debut, Cee Lo spotted!, Out on Film winners". Atlanta Magazine. Out on Film. Archived from the original on October 28, 2012. Retrieved November 3, 2012.
  10. ^ Knegt, Peter. "Thom Fitzgerald's "Cloudburst" Wins Awards Across Canadian Festival Circuit". Indiewire. Indiewire. Retrieved October 5, 2011.
  11. ^ "Tattler". The Chronicle-Herald. Retrieved October 5, 2011.
  12. ^ "Official Website". Festival Internacional de Cinema Gai i Lesbic de Barcelona. Archived from the original on November 2, 2012. Retrieved November 3, 2012.
  13. ^ Ellwood, Pip. "'Cloudburst' To Open 26th BFI London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival". Entertainment Focus. Retrieved February 15, 2012.[permanent dead link]
  14. ^ "Cinefest Sudbury Announces 2011 Award Winners". Cinéfest Sudbury International Film Festival. Archived from the original on February 4, 2012. Retrieved October 5, 2011.
  15. ^ Griwkowsky, Fish (July 23, 2011). "Cloudburst to Open Edmonton International Film Festival". Edmonton journal. Archived from the original on January 19, 2013. Retrieved January 25, 2012.
  16. ^ "Dublin Film Festival Fare Unveiled". Irish Times. February 2, 2012. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
  17. ^ Knegt, Peter. "Thom Fitzgerald's "Cloudburst" Wins Awards Across Canadian Festival Circuit". Indiewire. Indiewire. Retrieved October 5, 2011.
  18. ^ Hawryth, Michael. "Cloudburst and acclaimed docs snag prizes at image+nation". 2B Mag online. Archived from the original on April 26, 2012. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
  19. ^ Soares, Andre. "Indianapolis LGBT Film Festival Awards: Elderly Lesbian Lovers on the Run, Interracial Gay Romantic Comedy". Alt Film Guide. Alt Film Guide. Retrieved November 28, 2012.
  20. ^ "Melbourne Queer Film Festival 2012". Time Out Melbourne. Archived from the original on January 29, 2012. Retrieved February 15, 2012.
  21. ^ "Cloudburst wins Best Feature at Out Takes". New Zealand Daily News. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved July 14, 2012.
  22. ^ a b c d Williams, Ken. ""Zenne Dancer," "Cloudburst" top list of FilmOut San Diego award winners". San Diego Gay & Lesbian News. Hale Media, Inc. Retrieved June 19, 2012.
  23. ^ "Records Set at 30th Anniversary VIFF". Vancouver International Film Festival Official Website. Vancouver International Film Festival. Retrieved October 23, 2011.
  24. ^ Reid, Michael D. (February 13, 2012). "Belgian crime thriller takes top honors at Victoria Film Festival". The Times Colonist. Retrieved February 15, 2012.

External links[edit]