Rhonda’s Party

Rhonda, a reclusive nursing-home resident, has spent months planning her best friend’s 100th birthday party with the help of a young nurse, Amy.

The band is booked, the cake is ordered, and everyone is invited. But when the guest of honour dies, Rhonda must decide whether the party will go on.

Creative team

Writer: Christine Comeau
Director: Ashley McKenzie
Producer: Nelson MacDonald

Director’s statement

Ashley McKenzie says:

Rhonda’s Party was a first film for myself and my core creative team. Together we made the film through the Atlantic Filmmakers Cooperative’s FILM 5 training program in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The first time I read Christine’s script, I was taken by a certain abrupt and unsentimental quality in her writing style. This drew me in, because on an aesthetic level, I too wanted to treat the sweet and melancholic qualities of the story without embellishment.

I was inspired to give the film a delicate amount of emotional distance and to focus on the peripheral elements inside Rhonda’s world that I found to be meaningful.”

About Ashley McKenzie


Ashley McKenzie is an emerging filmmaker from New Waterford, Nova Scotia.

Her directorial debut Rhonda’s Party was named one of Canada’s top 10 short films by TIFF in 2011 and won CBC’s Short Film Faceoff.

When You Sleep, her second short film, was produced through NSI Drama Prize and went on to screen at TIFF, the Stockholm International Film Festival and Cannes as part of Telefilm Canada’s Not Short on Talent showcase. The film picked up best Canadian film at the Silver Wave Film Festival and Ashley won best emerging director at the Atlantic Film Festival for her work on it.

Ashley is an alumnus of the TIFF Talent Lab and makes films with long-time collaborator Nelson MacDonald. Together they formed the cinema moniker, grassfire films with the aim to create work that blends formalist filmmaking with gritty realism and brings personal dramas from their own little slice of the world to an international audience.

Ashley is currently in post-production on a new short film Stray, and working on several feature film scripts.