Midnight at the paradise

Midnight at the paradise

by Vanessa Matsui

Synopsis | Cast & Crew | Technical Information

As teenagers, Iris and Alex fell in love watching the sexy film 'Breathless'. Years later, Iris is married to a workaholic doctor, stressed out by motherhood and caring for her dying father. When Iris invites Alex to screening of 'Breathless' but he shows up with his fiancée, her world shakes. The two ex-lovers will spend the evening contemplating the past and plotting a future together.


Liane Balaban, Allan Hawco, Kenneth Welsh, Emma Ferreira, Ryan Allen, Kate Trotter

Director Bio

Vanessa Matsui is a director-actor-writer and Midnight At The Paradise is her debut feature. She is an alumnus of the Sundance New Voices Lab where she developed the second season of her critically acclaimed hit web series Ghost BFF, which she created, wrote, directed for and starred in. Ghost BFF was nominated for six Canadian Screen Awards including best Digital Series and two nominations for Vanessa as an actor, it screened at festivals globally and won multiple awards including Best Web Series at the LA International Femme Film Festival. Vanessa is currently serving as Executive Producer and Series Director for Sphere Media’s How To Fail As A Pop Star created by Vivek Shraya. She is also a Guest Director for Son Of A Critch (CBC, Paramount UK).

Director Statement

I am thrilled to be directing my first feature, Midnight At The Paradise, which explores what makes long-term relationships work, as impacted by desire, memory, and time. I was initially drawn to this script because Bill Robertson had written the lead character of Iris (a 40-year-old mom questioning her life choices) for my best friend Liane Balaban and I love her not only as a person but also as an actor. She's a hidden gem and I was inspired to show the world just how talented she is! As I delved deeper into the process, as a mom myself, dealing with aging parents and career setbacks, it felt cathartic to direct this ensemble who are all stumbling to feel alive and forget about their problems, if only for one night. Because of my background as an actor, this performance-driven six-hander felt like the perfect fit. It was the privilege of a lifetime to work with Liane Balaban, Allan Hawco, Emma Ferreira, Ryan Allen, Kate Trotter, and Kenneth Welsh in his final film role. The moment I saw their chemistry reads, I knew we had a very special cast who would bring their unique truths to these complex characters. This film will always be special to me not only because it was my first but because it was truly a joy to make; collaborating with artists at the height of their abilities and finding that unique tone that combines comedy and drama while thematically exploring life, death, and what it is to be human.

Cast Bio

LIANE BALABAN (Iris) made a major splash at Sundance with her debut in the lead role of Alan Moyle's New Waterford Girl (1999), for which she also received a TIFF Special Citation. Variety called her performance opposite Kevin Pollak in Gary Yates’ acclaimed Seven Times Lucky "unforgettable." She also starred opposite Dustin Hoffman in Last Chance Harvey, and in Michael McGowan's One Week opposite Joshua Jackson, writer/director Adam Brooks‘ Definitely Maybe, and Bart Freundlich’s World Traveler opposite Billy Crudup.

ALLAN HAWCO (Alex) is an acclaimed actor, writer, and producer and one of Canada's most recognizable stars. He created and starred in the long-running hit CBC series Republic of Doyle and currently appears on the CBC/Netflix show Moonshine. Other credits include: Another Life (Netflix), Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan (Amazon Prime), Frontier Season 1-3 (Netflix), The Book of Negroes (BET/CBC). Film credits include director Bruce McDonald's award-winning Weirdos and actor/director Paul Gross' Hyena Road.

KENNETH WELSH (Max) worked with many top directors including David Lynch (Twin Peaks), Martin Scorcese (The Aviator) and Mike Nichols (Heartburn). He starred in twenty plays on and off Broadway, including premieres of The Real Thing, directed by Mike Nichols, and Frankie and Johnny In The Claire de Lune, opposite Kathy Bates. Midnight At The Paradise is his final film.

EMMA FERREIRA (Anthea) currently stars opposite Rob Lowe in Netflix’s Unstable. She was named a Netflix Top Fresh Face in March 2023 and a TIFF Rising Star for her feature debut, Learn To Swim (2021), which was recently picked up by Ava Duvernay’s company. Midnight At The Paradise is her second feature.


Writter & Producer Bill Robertson
Executive producer Paul Barkin
Executive producers John Bain & David Hudakoc            
Director of Photography Jason Tan CSC               
Production Designer Hanna Puley                         
Costume Designer Jess Sanchez             
Casting Jason Knight & John Buchan
Editor Pauline Decroix
Original Score Dillon Baldassero                        
Songs Written & Perfomed by The Neighbourhood Watch

Original title: Midnight at the paradise | 94 minutes | English OV |  Audio 5.1 | Colour | Aspect Ratio 1.85:1

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