A documentary by Rhonda Buckley

Avon Ladies... Rural Style is a film showing the irony of a makeup company that became a top seller in Newfoundland in the 60’s. Rural Newfoundland women have been thought of as hearty and in most cases they don’t even wear make up. In the 60’s, 4,000 women throughout Newfoundland became top sales agents for the country. By comparison, in urban centers Avon ladies walked up a walkway and rang a doorbell to say “Avon calling”. Still, in rural Newfoundland today women go door- to door by ATV, hike over cliff sides and around woodpiles in order to sell make up in the community.

TERRANOVA MATADORA: Carolyn Hayward a woman who killed over 100 bulls…
A documentary by Rhonda Buckley

Airing June 2015 BravoDoc Canada

Carolyn Frances Hayward (born 1937 in St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada) was a bullfighter, who later became an artist. Featured on Front Page Challenge, What's My Line and I've Got a Secret, she became a celebrity in both Canada and the United States for her success and career as a bullfighter. She became interested in bullfighting when she visited Spain and in 1957 fought her first non-professional fight at Plaza de Toros in Toledo, Spain.

Carolyn Hayward, now 78, left Newfoundland at 17 and killed over 150 bulls in Mexico City, Merida, Peru, and Spain. I am making a documentary about Carolyn Hayward and have access to extraordinary archival footage from 1963. Terranova Matadora: Carolyn Hayward is a documentary that will include archival footage and present day recorded interviews.

VOCATION artists know their calling…
45 minutes

Vocation is a documentary on artists who knew from a very early age they wanted to be an artist. A decision that for them was instinctual and some may even say it is ‘a calling’ based on faith and perhaps even fate alone. Artists Andy Jones, Deepa Mehta, Marie Brassard, Christopher Pratt, Brad Peyton and Bif Naked are committed to creating work in theatre, literature, music, film and performance based on an innate desire to succeed while working in the precarious profession of art.

The Real Matriarch
45 minutes

The Real Matriarch takes a look at the politics, life and professions of four prominent women from Newfoundland and Labrador: Lois Brown, Barbara Doran, Edythe Goodridge, and Mrs. Sarah Sexton. Media clips and interviews showcase their vivacious personalities; entertaining, shocking at times, endearing, and ultimately great storytellers. Their work with women’s groups, aids patients, artists, filmmakers, and community groups is acknowledged nationally and internationally. Spanning four generations and while raising children they have held their battles wildly and never stepped down, always leaving a boardroom or a dining room in laughter.

As Barbara Doran says: “My mother was a widow when I reached the age of 2 and raised 8 children, when I go after something ‘Not doing it is not an option’.”

James Andersen: Over 50 Years of Taking Pictures
22 minutes

James Andersen: Over 50 Years of Taking Pictures is a culmination of photos, films that are brought to life with Andersen's own words. The James Andersen collection documents over 50 years of community life in and around Makkovik, Labrador. The stories that accompany "Uncle Jim's" work explain why for over 50 years he has never been without a camera as he documented daily rituals and life. Andersen does not shy away from telling these stories but shares them with conviction and with a voice that honours each event's importance; the church being rebuilt, fish being caught, and stories of sickness and death are each told with the same reverence. Andersen's collection has been called the "largest collection of photographs from a single community in Canada". It represents a remarkable record of community and family life in Labrador that will be passed on for generations.

People Who Stay
22 minutes

The King family is from Badger’s Quay near Greenspond, Newfoundland with over 40 family relatives still living there. The entire community has a population of only 400. Actor/musician Greg King takes us on tour of his family homes, and to meet his father and sister, who work at the hospital where they were all born. They tell of the importance of family and the irony of feeling worldly while connected to a small community in central Newfoundland.


short film
Surrounded By Water
The Joan Morrissey Story

Produced, Written, and Directed by Rhonda Buckley

Joan Morrissey lit up a room and her powerful singing held the audience in the palm of her hand with her rich, bold voice. She was a lounge singer six nights a week and raised her six children all day and night too. She was born in 1933 in downtown St. John’s, Newfoundland and started singing on the radio at seven years of age. She was nominated for a Juno award, sold over 50,000 records and when a Toronto record company sent her a cheque for $38.00 she took them to court, insisting artists must be paid. She called the company crooks on the front page of the local paper.

Joan washed her children’s clothes in a river, yet still managed to host eight TV shows for two local TV stations. She performed live on Canada AM, where with Newfoundland bravado, she sang "Thank God Were Surrounded by Water", to glowing reviews. Joan performed in Toronto and Nashville, and volunteered with the parent teachers association, made brownies, and when other mother’s told her children she was a ‘loose’ woman performing in a bar, she said, “to hell with what others have to say, you must always do what you think is right.” Joan performed while pregnant and at times up until the last day before she gave birth. From Joan’s point of view, “I said I could do it and that is why I can. It is no more than folding laundry or baking bread. I always knew I could do it and so I do.”

She had withstood a court case with a national record label, a jealous and harsh husband, and a heart surgery that left her with severe depression. At 44 years of age, after singing "how great thou art" to family and friends on New Years Day, she ended her life. A community was halted in sorrow, and her five daughters and one son still bond today over the love and honour of their Lady of Song - Joan Morrissey.

Joan’s music is still heard on the radio in Australia, Europe and here at home. “Yes My Dear”, Joan would say, I will sing you a song...


Written by Mary Walsh Produced by Rhonda Buckley

Come home to Newfoundland, it's come home year… There's lots of fish and brews and treats like that…So don't stay where you're to, come where we're at.

That summer of 1966 was Newfoundland’s Come Home Year. And all of the Little Girl’s relatives came home and they all stayed with the Little Girl’s real family, almost 25 people, if you counted Madonna and her four kids who were staying in a trailer in the back yard. 19 people, no running water and an outhouse next to the crab apple tree. The Little Girl’s big sisters were home with their broods in tow and were both seriously up the stump. They waddled around like some nightmare vision of womanhood, swollen, bitter, drunk, angry, ruined. The Little Girl’s mother, the Sarge, was in her glory, all her friends were home from the States, Ang and Min Costello and their families from Camden, New Jersey, Mary Laracy and Nora Gull from Philly, and her deaf sister Cass and her crowd of savages home from Brooklyn for the whole summer.

The Little Girl found herself adrift in a sea of noise and people. Sometimes there wouldn’t even be food for her, it would be all gone by the time she got to the table. She had wanted for so long to be with her real family but now that she was here she understood what Aunt Mae meant when she said there were more tears in heaven over answered prayer than unanswered ones. It was a summer of unprecedented freedom – suddenly she could go where she wanted, do what she liked, cause no one had time to pay any attention to her – it was exhilarating and terrifying. She was rising up and she was going under. All those things made the Little Girl who grew up next door to her family feel like she was left out and that only she didn’t belong in the real world. And she often found herself thinking that summer, what would a real little girl do now, how would a real little girl think, feel, act?

By Rhonda Buckley
Script Editor Ruth Atkinson

Producers Lynne Wilson and Jill Knox Gosse Wreckhouse Productions

Driving into the spotlight can blind you…steer with caution or you and your family may collide.

NICK hosts a call-in radio show, Carnage Alley, and broadcasts along the 403 outside of Aldershot, Ontario. NICK has had tragedy in his hometown, Rose Blanche, since he was young, losing his father when he had to drive him home at the age of 11 because his Dad was too drunk to drive. He also lost his fiancé Rose in a car crash on their wedding night.

Trying to right one death and his guilty conscience was enough. Death surrounds NICK. He accepts it and even expects it. Hearing ambulances raise hairs on the back of his neck.

NICK’S life is surrounded by chaos and sublime routine. The things that get you by, TV, Sunday dinner and line dancing, fill his days and nights. Nick lives with his mother DARLENE, who watches Bachelorette with a TV remote in one hand and rosary beads in the other. FLORENCE their nosy neighbour is a best friend to Darlene and a daily fixture at their house.

SHIRLEY, Nick’s live-in girlfriend and her four kids wins NICK’S love. Shirley moves up the ladder from waitress to head accountant and butts heads with Darlene on more than one occasion. Tasha, Shirley’s youngest takes a liking to NICK and their bond paves the way for Nick to ask Shirley to marry him, a love NICK thought he would never see again on this side of the earth.

NICK, showing paternal love for Tasha is not a moment too soon, as Nick finds out he has a much older daughter LUCY from his fiancé and widow Rose when they were young in Rose Blanche.

Hardships, death, love, family backpacks, lunches, and sacrifice consume almost every person lucky enough to be above ground and get in a car in the morning. It is life. People think two tragic deaths are impossible. How could someone be so unlucky? That's just something out of a tabloid. In Rose Blanche, where NICK comes from, they would even go as far as to say you were trying to get attention. NICK’s phone-in calls about death and horrific car accidents, keep Nick on edge, which is his strength and weakness. When he hits the highway it is hard to know what turns life will bring. Nick knows what it takes to survive — as he holds himself and his listener’s together one call at a time on his radio show, Carnage Alley.

Writer/Director: Sherry White.

The Genie nominated feature film has shown in over 30 international festivals including Perspective Canada Cannes, TIFF, Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, and won the Jury Special Prize at Torino Film Festival. Crackie was one of Canada’s Top Ten Films in 2009.