Patricia Rozema's new film screens Saturday at home in Sarnia

Sarnia-raised filmmaker Patricia Rozema is set to return home this weekend with her latest "passion project."

Film director Patricia Rozema is photographed in Toronto during the Toronto International Film Festival in September. Rozema, who grew up in Sarnia, is scheduled to attend a screening of her new film, Mouthpiece, Saturday at the Imperial Theatre during the South Western International Film Festival. Chris Young/THE CANADIAN PRESS

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Sarnia-raised filmmaker Patricia Rozema is set to return home this weekend with her latest “passion project.”

She’s scheduled to attend Saturday’s screening of her film “Mouthpiece” Saturday, 7 p.m., at the Imperial Theatre during the South Western International Film Festival.

“Mouthpiece,” which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, is based on the play of the same name by Norah Sadava and Amy Nostbakken, who also star in both the stage and film versions.

Rozema said one of her daughters was interning at a theatre company and urged her to see the play.

“It was mind-blowing,” Rozema said.

“It was such a honest voice of young women dealing with their own internalized misogyny . . . and honest about how they felt like they had overcome their mothers’ hangups and internal barriers, but in fact, just had new ones that were still the same.”

Rozema said she was also drawn to the play’s style of storytelling.

“They have two women playing one woman, which is insane and thrilling.”

The approach captures a duality experienced particular by women “since we’ve been encouraged to look at ourselves from the outside, since the beginning of time,” Rozema said.

But, instead of the expected approach of portraying extremes of a character, such as their good and bad versions, the two voices in the play represent “the dual consciousness that I certainly have,” Rozema said.

“I am constantly in debate with myself about whether to do it this way or that way.”

The two actors even physically fight at times as they have that internal debate, “and sometimes they just slip into perfect sync, when their emotions are unified and uncomplicated,” Rozema said.

“I was just overjoyed to stumble on something that had a completely new form.”

The story in both versions is about a women who returns home to deliver the eulogy at her mother’s funeral.

“It’s about loss of a parent, and that always just shakes you to your core, I think,” Rozema said.

After seeing the play, she thought it would make an interesting film and Sadava and Nostbakken were on board.

All three of them wrote the screenplay and Rozema pulled together funding to make the film with her new production company, Crucial Things.

Born in Kingston, Rozema grew up in Sarnia. After starting out in journalism, she began making films and her 1987 debut, I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing, won a prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

It was the start of a successful career making her own films as well as working in television as a director and writer.

“I feel like I’m just getting started, I really do,” she said.

Rozema said she has had many experiences while working in different genres over the years.

“I love a challenge; I love to try on a new voice,” she said.

Rozema said she feels that approach has brought her to a point where all her skills are in place.

“And now finally, women are in style,” she added.

“Much more bigger doors are being opened, much more easily.”

Information about the film festival can be found online at

Rozema is scheduled to take part in a question and answer session at Saturday’s screening.