The Valise

A contemporary fairy tale

In a land of rugged beauty, a flower lures the innocent into a world of magic and loss. An enchanted character places pieces of herself into a shifting world she cannot control, in a cycle of creation and destruction that will continue long after she is gone.

Skipping through a Nordic forest Spring, a FREE SPIRIT comes upon a solitary flower. She cradles it with her and discovers an empty valise on the way home. It is the perfect place to store her new treasure.

During a night of deep slumber in her home, the flower and valise transform. On waking, the free spirit is offered inspiration and materials for her own creations. She sets out to make quirky creatures, pieces of herself, and place them in the wide and beautiful world. Exhausted but content, she lays down to rest.

While the spirit sleeps her creatures fall prey to natural forces and hungry wildlife, disappearing forever.

Come the morning the spirit opens her magic box to find nothing but a dead flower. She rushes out, fearing for the creatures she loved and entrusted to the world, only to find them disappeared. She has no more to give.

Making her way through a boreal autumn, a dark haired FREE SPIRIT discovers a single flower, and then a lovely empty valise. And so it goes …

  • Tammy Salzl
  • Tammy Salzl
  • Tammy Salzl
    Key Cast
    "Flower Finder 1"
  • Maya Candler
    Key Cast
    "Flower Finder 2"
  • Scooter
    Key Cast
    "The Hungry Dog"
  • Tammy Salzl
  • dc3 Art Projects
    Associate Producer
  • Greg Mulyk
    Music and Sound
    Sophia (2017) – Original music and sound design, audio mixing, mastering
  • Kunstnarkuset Messen International Artist Residency (KHMessen), Norway.
  • Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (CALQ), Canada.
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Short
  • Genres:
    Contemporary fantasy, Fairy tale, Art house, Nature, Magic realism, art film, imagination
  • Runtime:
    11 minutes 37 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 11, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    20,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
    Canada, Norway
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    HD Digital
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:

  • Canada
  • EIFF Edmonton International Film Festival
    September 29, 2019
    World Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Oaxaca FilmFest X
    October 7, 2019
    Mexican Premiere
    Official Selection: New Industry
  • Canada Shorts - Canadian & International Film Short Fest
    Saint John, New Brunswick
    December 15, 2019
    Merit Award; Official Selection
  • International Festival of Winter Cinema
    February 13, 2020
    Official Selection
  • Blazing Sun Independent Film Shorts Festival
    Kingsville, Texas
    United States
    March 4, 2020
    US Premiere
    Award of Excellence/Official Selection
  • NewFilmmakers NY
    New York
    United States
    July 15, 2020
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Tammy Salzl

Tammy Salzl was born in Edmonton Canada, into a gigantic dysfunctional family with 18 aunts and uncles, 42 cousins, and barely one parent. She spent her summers being tortured as an English speaking city slicker in French speaking prairie farm communities. Retreating into art and stories and animals was the salvation she didn’t find in the fundamentalist religion she was periodically thrown into. Salzl completed an MFA in Studio Arts at Montréal’s Concordia University in 2014 and has been expanding her storytelling to include video and multimedia installation since graduation. The tales she creates in all media, awkwardly blending whimsy and melancholy, embody what it means to exist in todays world. Her large, video-based multi media installations have shown most recently in Art Souterrain 2019, Montreal’s International Public Art Festival, as well as in Toronto, New York, Ottawa, and Edmonton. She has been awarded several grants and residencies in Canada and internationally, and uses them to make her beautiful parasites: work that enters the eyes through beauty, sinks to the gut with uneasy content, then rises to the brain to fester over time.

'The Valise' was filmed in Ålvik, Norway, with additional locations on Vancouver Island, and Edmonton, Canada, and represents her directorial debut.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

I was walking down Toronto’s Queen Street West on a slushy spring day and happened to wander into a little antique thrift store. Sitting in a corner, amidst an array of old photos and flowered pottery, sat a small, boxy vanity case - the kind women used in the 60’s to store make up and perfume. It called to me.

There is memory and history and stories in objects. I wondered about this little valise, about its travels and all the different kinds of personal treasures it once held. I took it home with no real purpose in mind, trusting in the connection I felt to it. In the following weeks I began preparing for an international artist residency in Norway, and all the while the little case sat quietly in the corner of my room, almost forgotten. One day before departure I tripped over it, knocking it askew, and when I set it upright again it told me a beautiful tale of love and loss, emergence and decay. I became determined to tell its tale, and so the little valise accompanied me to the magical mountains and fjords of Norway.

'The Valise' is inspired by my fascination with folklore and myth. It draws on notions of femininity as a frame of reference, and on influences including ecology, pop culture, and archetypes of women within traditional tales. Familiar scenes are set within a strange reality where humanity and nature are simultaneously at odds and intricately entwined. The soundtrack references ancient Nordic folk music, its rhythm in step with the otherworldly northern scenery.

'The Valise' is a tale of magic and loss in a world where creation and destruction are extensions of one another. In an unending cycle every living creature is a part of, it gives voice to the beauty and folly of being human.