Katerine Savard Emerges From Chrysalis To Spread Wings In Cannes Pick “Nadia, Butterfly” (Video Of Trailer)

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Katerine Savard stars in "Nadia, Butterfly" - Photo Courtesy: Nemesis Films, Canada

Katerine Savard, the Canadian butterfly ace, has transferred her skills to the silver screen with a debut acting role in a film named an official Cannes 2020 selection this week.

The 27-year-old from Pont-Rouge, Quebec, last raced from Canada last year, when she claimed silver and bronze medals at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru. Since then, she’s devoted herself to playing the title role in “Nadia, Butterfly”.

The title reflects focus on the chrysalis moment in a swimming career: when the swimmer moves on and needs to find a new identity beyond the pool. “Nadia” also  features former Canada team-mate Hilary Caldwell, who retired in May 2018, and another elite swimmer, Ariane Mainville.

Directed by Pascal Plante, “Nadia” was billed as the only Canadian entry to make the 56-film cut for Cannes out of 2,067 overall submissions.

In common with so much, COVID-19 got Cannes canned this year but the international festival, due to have taken place in its traditional annual slot last month. Even though the event could not go ahead, organisers released the festival lineup as a way of celebrating the chosen films. “Nadia” may yet get some limelight at film festivals in Toronto, Telluride, New York and San Sebastian later this year, depending on coronavirus developments.

Shot last year in Montreal and Tokyo, “Nadia, Butterfly” examines one of the most testing moments of a swimmer’s career: the tricky transition from athlete to the rest of life. Banners displaying “Tokyo 2020” feature in a scene where the film crew create an alternative Olympics as the final race in the career of the character played by Savard. Filming started in autumn last year and was completed in February. Release is set for autumn this year.

The Trailer of Nadia, Butterfly, starring Katerine Savard:

Katerine Savard Knew How To Focus

In an interview with Gregory Strong of The Canadian Press, Savard notes the same intense focus she gave to making the 106-minute film as she is used to applying to her career as a world-class swimmer. She tells Strong:

 “I think I (found) success in my swimming life just because I was kind of hard with myself. I was training hard, I was pushing myself and everything. So I guess I’m like that with all (things) in my life.”

Katerine Savard, Olympic medley relay bronze medallist for Canada at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games with World short-course, Pan Am and Commonwealth titles to her name, is at one with water, which helped when it came to having to turn on the waterworks. She said:

“I remember a scene in which I had to cry. They just asked me to cry and I started crying. It was easy for me.”

Swimming Canada-finals-5apr2016. Photo Scott Grant

Katerine Savard – Photo Courtesy: Scott Grant/Swimming Canada

Pascal Plante, who approached Savard to audition for the lead role,was a decent swimmer himself. Big plus for a director in an industry that has touched on swimming and swimmers many times down the years but often got it wrong, the count of corny and cringeworthy cliches high. Plante tells Strong:

“It’s not as binary as a lot of sports movies that are based around either teams or boxing where it’s extremely clear: it’s you win or you lose.”

Producer Dominique Dussault is excited to see how the work will be received. He tells Strong:

“I knew we made a great film. The shoot and everything, there was a moment of magic that I felt we created. We really created a synergy with all the crew and the actors. So I knew we had a special film.”

The cast and crew have yet to sit together and watch their film, COVID-19 having forced postponement of the get-together.

Meanwhile, Katerine Savard has been training in her backyard pool as best she can during lockdown and hopes to resume full training when her local pool reopens, with a view to making the Canadian cut for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in 2021.