Finally, Emilie is working in a new movie:
Emilie will play Mairi Chisholm
The film opens when the British Army finds itself overwhelmed by the massive casualties in the opening months of the War. Major Munro, a physician attached to the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC), decides to organize a Flying Ambulance Corps of nurse and driver volunteers to rush the wounded to field hospitals. He recruits four women: Elsie Knocker (British), Mairi Chisholm (Scottish), Dorothy Fielding (Canadian) and Helen Gleason (American). Mairi is the designated driver, while the others all have varying degrees of medical training. Each of the women has her own private reasons to serve in the Corps. Elsie is fleeing a broken relationship. Helen is anxious to be closer to her husband Arthur, a war correspondent operating in Flanders. Dorothy is concerned about her brother Robert, a volunteer in the newly formed 10th Battalion of Canada’s First Infantry Regiment, scheduled to be deployed in Flanders. And Mairi is a daredevil anxious to escape the stultifying restrictions on women in Edwardian society.
The women are sent to a field hospital in Furnes, some 15 miles from the front lines. But before long, Elsie discovers that many wounded soldiers die of shock during the long and arduous transport from the trenches to the hospital. She implores Dr. Munro to move the field hospital closer to the front. When he declines, citing British Army regulations, the four women steal an ambulance, packed with supplies, and begin to operate their own dressing station — in an abandoned village called Pervyse, a stone’s throw away from the trenches. Pervyse is just north of the Ypres ‘Salient,’ a dangerous bulge in the German lines which actually exposes the Allied soldiers to German artillery from three sides.
In the meantime, Helen receives news that her husband, Arthur Gleason, has been arrested by the French military. Arthur has information about the true extent of Allied casualties that the French intend to keep under wraps at all costs. Helen asks Dr. Munro to intervene, but Munro has little influence on the British High Command.
At the same time, Canada’s First Infantry arrives in Flanders and is deployed in the Ypres Salient. Dorothy rides out to greet them and meets Lt Alex Helmer of the 13th Battalion. While she is there, the 13th is subject to a sudden German gas attack — the first use of poison gas on the Western Front. The small post in Pervyse is overwhelmed with gassed soldiers. Alex is one of the casualties. His close friend, John McCrae, a Canadian medical officer, identifies the gas as chlorine, and suggests a remedy. Word is quickly spread, and the Canadians hold the line after vicious fighting. Dorothy nurses Alex back to health, and the two fall in love.
The gas attack has exposed major deficiencies in the British medical services. Despite the heroic role of the Pervyse post, the four women are an acute embarrassment for the RAMC High Command. They intend to shut them down. Meanwhile, Munro travels to London and comes face to face with Lord Kitchener, the British Secretary for War, who offers him a deal. The British Government will intervene on Arthur Gleason’s behalf, if the four women agree to abandon their “mutinous” post and return to RAMC authority.
But then, other dramatic events intervene, and despite tremendous challenges the post survives until April of 1918, when the massive Ludendorff Offensive threatens not only the lives of the women but the imminent collapse of the Allied armies.
The screenplay is based on years of research on the Pervyse post and the role of the Canadian 1st Infantry Regiment in World War I by Santa Monica-based writer/director Jean-Pierre Isbouts, a filmmaker with a doctoral degree in history.
The film is produced with the assistance of the Government of Alberta, Alberta Film Development Program, and will be shot on location in and around Calgary, Alberta in the Fall of 2010.