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Swan Song Trailer: First Look at TIFF-Bound Karen Kain Doc

Swan Song chronicles Karen Kain's farewell to the National Ballet of Canada

2 mins read

Get your first look at the hotly anticipated documentary Swan Song ahead of its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. The documentary follows legendary ballerina and artistic director Karen Kain as she bids adieu to the National Ballet of Canada after five decades with the company. Director Chelsea McMullan  (Ever Deadly) and producer Sean O’Neill go behind the scenes with Kain as she mounts her farewell by making her directorial debut with a revisionist take on the beloved Swan Lake.

The new trailer released today by Visitor Media highlights the emotional journey of Kain’s big show as Swan Song situates the production within her legacy on the stage. The doc also features perspectives from dancers from all corners of the company, who speak to its future and that of the art form itself. Swan Song includes actor Neve Campbell among its roster of executive producers, along with filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nick de Pencier, and Christina Carvalho. The film is distributed in Canada by Blue Ice Docs with Dogwoof handling sales.

Swan Song debuts in the Gala programme at TIFF with Kain and Campbell expected to hit the red carpet. The doc then plays the Vancouver International Film Festival before hitting theatres this fall, and then in an expanded version on CBC.


Read more about Swan Song in the cover story of our upcoming issue.


Synopsis: Swan Song immerses viewers inside one of the world’s leading ballet companies as it mounts a legacy-defining new production of Swan Lake, directed by ballet icon Karen Kain on the eve of her retirement. The verité-driven feature documentary closely follows Kain and a group of young dancers drawn from the National Ballet of Canada’s ranks, weaving Swan Lake’s dramatic creation process with intimate scenes from the subjects’ personal lives as they push toward one of the most significant opening nights in their company’s history.


Pat Mullen is the publisher of POV Magazine. He holds a Master’s in Film Studies from Carleton University where his research focused on adaptation and Canadian cinema. Pat has also contributed to outlets including The Canadian Encyclopedia, Paste, That Shelf, Sharp, Xtra, and Complex. He is the vice president of the Toronto Film Critics Association and an international voter for the Golden Globe Awards.

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