No Sinner vocalist and actor Colleen Rennison has been nominated for a Canadian Screen Award, for the song “Molly”.
Rennison provides one of the most memorable moments in Ben Ratner’s Down River when she performs the number live—“I sang that song about 45 times on the day,” she told the Straight, in a call from Venice Beach—in a scene set at the Cobalt (backed by Vancouver’s the Gay Nineties, no less.)
Rennison also takes a major part in the film as Harper, one of three young women orbiting around an older mom-figure played by the great Helen Shaver. Ratner’s film was conceived as a tribute to his mentor, Babz Chula. Significantly, the writer-director heard the song first, and helped Rennison develop her character after.
“I wrote it as a revenge song for a girl that broke my heart,” Rennison said, explaining that the earliest version of the gut-bucket blues number was vamped over the first few bars of the Beach Boys’ “In My Room”, weirdly enough. “We’re good friends now, and she’s a great lady, but she was definitely one of my first loves. Everything in that song is true to life.”
Ratner’s film in general has been praised for its true-to-life qualities, but it was shut out of all the other CSA film categories. In fact, B.C. is barely represented at all in the bigger picture, while a shocking proportion of this year’s nominated films have yet to open in Vancouver.
The Canadian Screen Awards take place at Sony Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto, on March 9.
Down River is scheduled to open at the Fifth Avenue on March 14.