Private Project


Desperate to save her collapsing marriage, Judith (Japanese Canadian) brings her husband and two daughters to a self-development retreat on a remote island. But when they befriend another interracial couple (Pat and Carol) who seem to have the perfect marriage, Judith begins to recognize how stifled she has been. She finds herself infatuated with Pat, which leads to more resentment towards her emotionally stilted and privileged husband, Steve. Sensitive to the tensions, the children’s already fragile sense of security begins to erode.

Their youngest, Emmy (6), who is timid and dependent on her sister, has a horrific time at the day camp where she is introduced to an eerie seaside cave that is rumoured to be haunted. The eldest, Stephanie (11), who is headstrong yet impressionable, meets an enigmatic girl with a mean streak and is taken under her wing, leaving her sister to fend for herself. The growing stress in the family heightens Emmy’s anxiety and she begins exhibiting compulsive behaviours that go unnoticed by her preoccupied parents.

In the end, the family must collectively face their most unnerving insecurities before they become permanently broken.

  • Meredith Hama-Brown
  • Meredith Hama-Brown
  • Tyler Hagan
  • Sara Blake
  • Ally Maki
    Key Cast
    Shortcomings, Hacks
  • Luke Roberts
    Key Cast
    Ransom, Game of Thrones, The Batman
  • Sarah Gadon
    Key Cast
    Enemy, True Detective, Alias Grace
  • Chris Pang
    Key Cast
    Crazy Rich Asians, Palm Springs
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Drama, Family
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 55 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    May 30, 2023
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Distribution Information
  • Game Theory Films
    Country: Worldwide
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - Meredith Hama-Brown

Meredith Hama-Brown’s work as a director has taken part in various international film festivals including: Palm Springs Shortfest, Shnit, Fantastic Fest, and Fantasia International Film Festival. In 2018 she won the $20,000 Telus Sea to Sky Award at the Vancouver International Film Festival, the Best Narrative Film Award at Las Cruces International Film Festival and the Best Film Award at the Future of Film Show for her film ‘Broken Bunny’. Her music video for Alaskan Tapes' song ‘And, We Disappear’ (2019) was nominated for a UKMVA, won the runner up award for Best Music Video of the Year on Booooooom, a Graphite Pencil from the D&Ad Awards for cinematography and a Canadian Society of Cinematographers award for Best Music Video. It was also featured on the 1.4 Flying High Long List and nominated for an MVPA award for 'Best Newcomer Video’. In 2020 she was selected for the TIFF Filmmaker Lab and was awarded the Canada Goose Fellowship for her feature film, ‘Seagrass’. Her projects have received support from the BC Arts Council, Canada Arts Council and Telefilm Canada. Her films have been selected for numerous Vimeo Staff Picks and featured on Nowness Picks, Directors Library, Directors Notes, Booooooom and Mâché Digital

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Director Statement

Seagrass is a fictional film and yet it is also deeply personal to me. The writing process began with some key memories in my life, but developed much beyond that, touching on a web of interweaving themes that matter to me.

When setting out to write this project, I knew that I wanted to look at a particularly poignant time in my life. I was six years old when my parents were going through a divorce. During this time I remember developing many rigid routines and strong attachments to objects. Looking back at this time, I can see clearly as an adult that these behaviours were an outcome of the instability that I was feeling from the changes in our family’s life.

Decades later, as an adult, I have also experienced a great deal of anxiety. Because of this relationship that I have to the emotion of fear, I knew that it would be central to Seagrass.

From exploring questions relating to fear and security, I found a story that speaks to many themes. Seagrass is about a distressed family, motherhood, the deep bonds between sisters, irrational fears, grief, shame, intergenerational trauma and racial identity. It is about all these seemingly disparate things, but the thematic tissue that connects them all is “fear” and the various ways that uncertainty affects our relationships and sense of stability.

One of the themes I’d like to speak to further is my exploration of racial identity in the film. I knew as I became more invested in the story that it would need to be something that I incorporated. As Judith struggles to find her identity as a mother, wife and woman, I knew her racial identity would be a large question for her as well.

As a half-Japanese, half-white Canadian, I have often considered questions around my identity. So much of my Japanese Canadian family history and culture were not passed on to me. When I look at the root cause of this, I feel that it is a direct result of the incarceration of Japanese Canadians during WWII.

My grandparents didn’t speak much about their experience to their children, I think because it caused them to feel shame. My mother and her six siblings grew up in the interior of British Columbia, in a predominantly white community; a place her family ended up residing because of her parents’ unjust displacement and the fracturing of the Japanese Canadian community in BC pre-war. Through Judith’s character, I am looking at some of the reasons why lineage and culture were lost in my family. I am also exploring through her crisis, the feelings of anger, shame, and longing that come along with losing touch with one’s own history.

The film ends somewhat jarringly; each storyline isn’t perfectly resolved in a neat and conclusive way. I felt this was the most enriching and truthful ending for the film. It speaks to the many ways that the characters’ lives have been fragmented and instead of being able to fix these ruptures, the only answer is them to simply see the truth head on, at last.