Q&A with Tricia Lee, director of Silent Retreat

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Silent Retreat is a Canadian independent film based on an interesting premise for a horror film–silence. Despite this, director Tricia Lee forged ahead and created an interesting create feature anyway. Her film is screening at Toronto After Dark and we had a chance to speak to her about the film.

Describe your film in 10 words or less.

Dramatic horror creature feature about women using their voices to be heard.

What attracted you to this script?

It was inspired by my own 10 day silent meditation retreat in 2011. I carpooled with a group of people going up to the location. When I was about to leave, I was looking for one of the girls who I drove up, but they said that she had left early. When I shared this story with my writer Corey Brown, I realized that I didn’t know anything about her, since there was no talking, no eye contact, no getting to know her. And we thought, what would happen if people disappeared this way. No one would know who they were to track them down! And so began the journey of writing Silent Retreat. What attracts me to this story is the theme. The men at the retreat, we learn, are brainwashing women to be quiet and submissive. And this film is about not remaining silent, and standing up and using your voice to be heard.

Robert Nolan as The Doctor in "Silent Retreat"

Robert Nolan as The Doctor in “Silent Retreat”

With both feminist commentary and create feature elements, what was the most challenging thing about making this film?

Honestly, the hardest thing was working with such a low budget and making the creature and scares good enough to scare a horror audience, and keeping true to the story, characters and theme.

Your other film screening at a festival this year, Clean Break, is also a thriller. What is it about the horror/thriller genre that attracts you?

Right now, working in the lower budget arena, these genres seem to be able to sell quite well. But it’s not all about genre. It’s about telling good stories within the framework of the genre. So I find that there is something fresh about the scripts that Corey writes within these well-established genres.

What’s the one thing you want people to know about your film?

What the creature looks like.

What are you most excited about seeing/doing this year at Toronto After Dark this year?

Seeing the other films and meeting the filmmakers. The horror community is a great one to be a part of, and I’m a bit of a newbie, so it will be great to hang out with other passionate filmmakers. I’m also very excited and nervous to see the reaction from the audience. This is the world premiere and the movie’s first time on the big screen.
What are you working on next?

Out next film is called One Drop. A creature feature about a single mother who after an accident, wakes up in a medical facility to find that she’s nine months pregnant and everyone is dead.


Like most people who write for the web, I've been obsessed with movies since I was very young. My favourite movies are The Social Network, Easy A and Garden State, but I try to spend my time broadening my film horizons. I'm the Publisher of Toronto Film Scene, and in my "spare" time, I'm a web designer and strategist. (Gotta support my movie habit somehow...)

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