Director Lindsay MacKay on "Wetbum"

From -  An awkward teenage outcast (2014 TIFF Rising Star Julia Sarah Stone) finds unlikely companions in two aged residents of the retirement home in which she works, in this charming and poignant debut by Canadian director Lindsay MacKay. Starring Jenna Nye, Kenneth Welsh, Leah Pinsent and Craig Arnold.

A coming-of-age movie driven by sharp observations and a poetic sensitivity towards outcasts, first-time feature filmmaker Lindsay MacKay's Wet Bum is graced by an exceptional lead turn from 2014 TIFF Rising Star Julia Sarah Stone, whose performance is exquisitely crafted yet feels wonderfully devoid of guile.

Forced by her mother to work in the seniors' residence she manages, fourteen-year-old Sam (Stone) endures a daily gauntlet of cleaning rooms and dealing with disgruntled residents. In addition, Sam's slower physical development has made her very self-conscious about her body — an uneasiness that hasn't gone unnoticed by the fellow students in her swim class — and her swim instructor has become strangely solicitous of her.

Unhappy amongst her schoolmates, Sam finds herself increasingly drawn to two of the residents at the seniors' home: silent Judith (Diana Leblanc), who acknowledges Sam exclusively, and Ed (Kenneth Welsh), whose persistent rants and oddly half-hearted attempts to hitch a ride to a mysterious location intrigue and trouble her. As her relationship with them deepens, the girl is drawn into worlds far more complex than the one inhabited by her peers.

Featuring a stellar supporting cast (including Leah Pinsent as Sam's harried mother) and several wonderful set pieces — a mid-winter party in an unfinished house that encapsulates all the thrills and horrors of small-town adolescence — Wet Bum(developed as part of TIFF STUDIO) is a poignant debut whose hard-won wisdom belies the youth of both its star and director.

Wet Bum is preceded by Red Alert, a charmingly comic short documentary from veteran filmmaker Barry Avrich, in which a young auburn-haired girl (Sloan Avrich) panics when she finds out that redheads may become extinct in only a century.