She just started third grade, and now eight-year-old River Price-Maenpaa is making her way into the festival scene with her lead role in North of Normal, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this month.
“I just grew up playing,” she says with a sweet smile.
Price-Maenpaa began her career in the film industry when she was four years old with a role in an episode of Amazon’s Tales from the Loop.
She has since amassed five credits to her name on IMDb, and her latest role landed her on the TIFF red carpet last week but didn’t get to watch it with everyone.
“I couldn’t, it’s an adult film,” she says.
However, she managed to come to the theater after the show. She says it was pretty cool.
“People told me it was a great job and they really liked it,” Price-Maenpaa says.
“I saw that many people had tears in their eyes.”
North of Normal is a 2014 adaptation of the 2014 memoir of the same name by Canadian author and model Cea Sunrise Person.
It tells the story of her unconventional upbringing in the wilderness of western Canada in the 1970s.
Price-Maenpaa plays a young man and Amanda Fix plays her teenager.
The film also begins with Robert Carlyle and Janet Porter as Person’s grandparents and Sarah Gadon as her mother.
“They were a lot of fun to work with,” says the eight-year-old.
She says they have more experience than her.
Price-Maenpaa isn’t sure what her dreams are yet, but she wants to be an actress when she grows up.
She doesn’t have a schedule for her next acting job yet – instead, she’s focused on school, dance lessons, and hanging out with her brother.
Her film will arrive in her hometown next week with the TIFF on Tour, which will move the festival to Windsor for just one night on Wednesday, September 28th.
North of Normal will also screen in the city as part of the Windsor International Film Festival in October.
Price-Maenpaa says she hopes people will like the film, but unfortunately she won’t be able to watch the film then either.
“You should be 18 and I’m not 18, I’m eight,” she explains.