...on making Singing The Bones
"My challenge was to design a visually exciting film and stay true to the emotional impact of the story. As Director, Production Designer and Editor, my opportunities were as great as my burden. I directed the play Singing The Bones. I'm very familiar with the story, and it's a very strong story. It was the heartfelt, emotional response from audiences in North America and Europe which became my inspiration to bring this story to a new medium.
"At the outset, I decided to expand the storytellers role by stretching the boundaries of what a film audience will accept in the transfer of a character through minimal make up and costume. I turned the emphasis back on acting and performance. In Singing The Bones the midwife tells the story. With one actor playing the three roles of the story's main characters, we are intuitively and visually reminded that each character is an aspect of the other, as much as she is an aspect of ourselves.
"Because of the nature of truth told in Singing The Bones, I wanted to present the life stories in a somewhat documentary format. I've mixed this approach with the more conventional filmic style where characters directly interact with each other. When Meg addresses the camera in Singing The Bones, the camera becomes the midwife's POV. The camera thus reflects the nature of the midwife, the person in between who's translating the woman's desires and needs. I've also given the storyteller space and distance from the camera. We're in the room, and out of respect, we don't get too close to the person telling her very personal story.
"The other emphasis on the adaptation to cinema was to help the story resonate more three-dimensionally, through what we see and hear. Nicole's role as a troubled artist, working out her pain through her charcoal drawings is a good example of this. Dr. Sara's hobby of creating dolls was a very important visual - almost as if she was trying to recreate her lost family, person by person. None of this is ever spoken, it's experienced as part of the fabric of the story.
"As Editor, I found the stories really came alive through movement and dissolve, with music, repetition, speed of image. Having spent my entire life as a visual artist, it was wonderful to work with the extra dimension of live, moving images.
"For me, the emotional impact of each scene is the bottom line. And the pressure I felt with every creative decision was not the pressure of getting it done, it was the pressure that it has to be good, it has to succeed in telling a very good story."
Gordon Halloran makes his debut as a director with the feature-length drama Singing The Bones, his first motion picture.
Ontario born Halloran is an award-winning visual artist, theatrical director, playwright and production designer. In the mid-seventies and eighties, Halloran won national awards for package design and was known across Canada for his cover art for Macleans Magazine; his illustration graced the pages of The Financial Post, The Globe & Mail, San Francisco Magazine and many others. His commissioned work is displayed in private and corporate collections in Canada, the United States, England, The Netherlands and around the world.
Halloran created The Ice Painting Project in 1993, which was christened by Canada's national newspaper, The Globe and Mail as "the quintessential Canadian art form", and which was featured at the 1996 World Figure Skating Championships in Edmonton, Alberta.
As a theatrical director and playwright, Mr. Halloran's productions with Third Coast Theatre have toured Canada, the United States, England, and Sweden to excellent notices. His one man tour-de-force Showing Size, written from his experience as an artist in financial markets in New York, Chicago, Toronto and Vancouver, received rave reviews in Vancouver, Edmonton and the Sunshine Coast.
Most recently, Mr. Halloran worked as Production Designer on the award-winning feature film CLOUDS, which opened at the Lincoln Centre in New York and in select U.S. cities in September, 2000. Although CLOUDS is Halloran's first feature film credit, it has won numerous awards. Among them:
Halloran taught at Ontario College of Art in the '70s and at Emily Carr College of Art in the '80s.
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