Fawn (Gabrielle Miller) is an in-demand but insecure actress. While striving to honour her religious beliefs, she battles the uncertainty between living out her career opportunities and settling down to begin a family with the man she loves (Peter Flemming). Aki (Jennifer Spence) is a dynamic abstract artist who hides under her paint-stained hoodie. She has talent, but with a widowed father (Hiro Kanagawa) whose traditional values constantly undermine her, not to mention her struggle with her own crippling shyness, she finds herself resorting to drastic measures to make an impact on an art dealer (Brian Markinson). Harper (Colleen Rennison) is a gifted but self destructive rock singer. Desperately trying to fill the void, she careens happily between drugs, a sugar daddy (Teach Grant) and “the one that got away” (Ali Liebert). Pearl (Helen Shaver) is a charismatic, caring older woman who lives in the same building as the three younger artists. Estranged from her own daughter, she takes Fawn, Aki, and Harper under her wing, keeping them on track and inspiring them to new heights, while sharing her own secret with only her kindhearted neighbour (Jay Brazeau). When Pearl suddenly leaves their lives, the three women must summon the courage to overcome their fears and face the future on their own.
Inspired by Ben Ratner's long-time comradeship with actress Babz Chula, who passed away in 2010, Down River is a film about mentorship, friendship, living life to the fullest, and ultimately letting go.