The Mary Contest

A young catholic girl, with a quick temper and dreams of becoming a nun, desperately wants to win a prize for her altar, but her plans are derailed by the relentless teasing of the popular mean girl.

Creative team

Writer/director: Teresa McGee
Producer: Gord Peters

Filmmaker’s statement

The Mary Contest is a sweet coming-of-age story that hopefully people can relate to, even if they didn’t grow up in Catholic school. It is based on a (brief) period in my life when I was sure I wanted to become a nun. Their lives looked so serene and seemed more important than that of my mother, who had nine children to take care of.

I joined a prayer and good works group called the Legion of Mary where a contest to name the most Marys was initiated by our group leader. The coveted prize: a miniature bible. My twin sister and I went to town collecting names for the contest – Our Lady of Fatima, the Little Flower etc. My twin sister ended up winning the prize and still lords it over me.

I am extremely proud of the work everyone connected to the film put in. I am indebted to Gord Peters, our producer, as well as the entire crew who worked tirelessly so that we could capture the footage we needed. Their commitment was truly inspiring.

As a first time filmmaker, I was awed by the many hours needed to put the film together and refine it during post-production. I thank everyone who worked on post with me for their expertise and for having the patience it takes to work with a first-time director. It was a tremendous learning experience for me and I cannot wait to take what I have learned to my next project.

I had the privilege of working with some very talented and generous actors on this film. Despite the youth of much of the cast, they amazed me with their professionalism and commitment to the project.

Our lead actor, Adanna Avon, has received two acting awards for her outstanding performance in the lead role, including the young artist award for best actress in a short film (11-12 year olds). Adrienne Hicks, who plays the mean girl Tammy, also received two acting nominations for her excellent performance.

Our beautiful original score is the work of the gifted composer Cameron Wilson. The score was recorded live with arrangements for piano, cello, oboe and violin. The music greatly adds to the tone of the film and is a work of art on its own.

Many people contributed to the making of The Mary Contest. Special thanks to the schools and individuals who allowed us to film in their spaces as well as the many people who donated money for our post production through our crowdfunding campaign. We received funding from the National Film Board of Canada to cover some of the production costs without which we would not have got off the ground.

After months of hard work, it is our profound pleasure to be showing The Mary Contest to audiences at festivals. We were named best family short film at Bare Bones Film Festival and also received the award for best youth actor in a short film (Adanna Avon).

We received an excellence in filmmaking award at the Canada International Film Festival and we were a finalist at the Black Hills Film Festival. We received three nominations at the John Paul II International Film Festival, including best screenplay, best actor in a short film and best short film.

Our two young leads, Adanna Avon (Mary) and Adrienne Hicks (Tammy) were both nominated for acting awards at the Young Artist Awards in LA for their roles. Adanna was the winner in her category. We also received three nominations at the Action on Film Festival for best female filmmaker (short), best youth performance (short) (Adrienne) and best foreign director. We received the runner-up award for the last nomination.

About Teresa McGee

Teresa McGee

Teresa McGee is a writer/director and teacher from Vancouver. Previous credits include third place at Slamdance for her short comedy script, Man Pillow (co-written by Kathleen McGee).

Teresa is currently writing a feature dramatic screenplay and working to save money to make her next short film, a comedy.

Teresa also writes for children, with eight titles with Scholastic Canada’s Literacy Place program.

Leave a comment