Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Filmmaker Kazik Radwanski’s new film, Anne at 13,000 ft., had a long road to its virtual premiere this weekend.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

This time last year, I was at the Berlin International Film Festival presenting the international premiere of my latest feature, Anne at 13,000 ft. Looking at photos of that sold-out cinema now feels like glimpsing a distant past or even a dream. In our present moment, an audience of 1,000 people gathered to see a movie together has become the stuff of fantasy. Our plan after the festival was to fly back to Canada and release the film across the country. We were hoping for many more nights like that one in Berlin. Little did we know that it would be the last time our film would be screened in-person.

For an independent film, everything depends on building momentum from festival to festival, from screening to screening. Suddenly, that came to a screeching halt. The release date for Anne at 13,000 ft. was March 20, 2020. Ontario issued a state of emergency on March 17. I remember having daily calls with cinemas leading up to the release. How naïve I was, bargaining with them, still hopeful to open.

Like many, we didn’t realize the full scope of the pandemic’s consequences. At first, we accepted that we’d have to delay the release for a month, then we became hopeful about opening in the fall. One year later, we’re back in lockdown, and the film will be released virtually across Canada on Feb. 19. This isn’t what we planned. But that’s part of what filmmaking is about.

Story continues below advertisement

The film follows Anne, a volatile young daycare teacher whose increasingly erratic social behaviour and emotional outbursts cause tensions to rise at the workplace and in her personal life. Deragh Campbell gives an incredible performance as this troubled woman in free fall – not just figuratively, as she has an affinity for skydiving – who reaches a tipping point when a tentative relationship with a romantic interest (Matt Johnson of The Dirties) she drunkenly meets at a wedding pushes her closer and closer to the edge.

Anne at 13,000 ft. is only 75 minutes long, and yet you might be surprised to read that it took two years to shoot. Patience is a huge part of my process. I’m inspired by the spontaneity and the flicker of the unpredictable. But to achieve those moments requires a lot of preparation. Scenes were revised and tailored to be shot documentary-like at a functioning daycare with 200 children. Deragh volunteered there to research her role and seamlessly blend with the environment. She even took skydiving lessons so she could jump out of a plane for the film. We had to plan for the unplanned. It took two years to film Anne. It only makes sense that it should take two years to release it.

It may sound unusual to work this way, but Anne at 13,000 ft. was produced through MDFF, a production company that I co-founded with my best friend, Dan Montgomery. We have the freedom to make our films how we want, setting our own pace, determining our own methods and adjusting on the fly. It also means we have the autonomy to release our film the way we think is best. We never could have weathered the COVID-19 storm without our independence.

It means we work with modest budgets, that we have to be resourceful and self-reliant, but it also means we aren’t beholden to stakeholders or the whims of a studio. Otherwise, like too many films, ours would have likely disappeared into obscurity, rushed out on a video-on-demand platform months ago.

Fortunately, the film has slowly gained its momentum back over the past year, travelling the world and screening virtually in South Korea, Argentina and Austria. We screened at the MoMA and signed a deal with Cinema Guild to handle our U.S. theatrical release. Earlier this month, the film was nominated by the Toronto Film Critics Association as one of three finalists for the Rogers Best Canadian Film Award.

And, at last, we’re set to finally release Anne at 13,000 ft. into Canadian (virtual) cinemas.

Deragh Campbell, left, and Kaz Radwanski discuss Anne at 13,000 ft. in Toronto on Aug. 14, 2019.

Tijana Martin/The Globe and Mail

Reflecting back on this journey and all of its setbacks and delays, we’re exhausted, but in the middle of an ongoing pandemic, we have nothing to complain about. I can’t help but feel strengthened and emboldened to move forward. I’ve already written a new screenplay for Deragh Campbell and Matt Johnson. Telefilm is on board. A new project with its own set of surprises awaits.

Story continues below advertisement

Embarking on each film is its own leap of faith and presents different challenges to overcome. Being an independent filmmaker requires you to jump without knowing exactly how you’ll land. Not unlike Anne herself, we found ourselves in free fall, but we managed to end up on our feet. Now we’re ready to jump all over again.

Kazik Radwanski is the director of Anne at 13,000 ft., which is available virtually across Canada via digital TIFF Lightbox starting Feb. 19, followed by digital screenings via The Cinematheque in Vancouver starting March 5

Plan your screen time with the weekly What to Watch newsletter. Sign up today.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies