Last week, The Cadre interviewed Harmony Wagner and Jason Rogerson, the director and producer duo of â€˜Singing To Myselfâ€™ to discuss the creation and inspiration behind their film. Singing to Myself is a story of an intimate and honest friendship between two women, which is a rarity in mainstream media these days. â€œWomen are almost always portrayed as only being interested in men, food or shoes,â€ said Wagner. Wagner wanted to create a film with complex female characters and tell a story of an authentic female friendship, capturing all its dimensions and subtleties. Â
â€œWhat transpired at the Women Making Waves conference in Halifax is what really set the wheels in motion for me.â€ She said. Women Making Waves is an annual industry conference organized by Women in Film and Television (WIFT). â€œOur discussions at that conference about how there are so few women writers and directors in filmmaking led to the creation of 1K Wave Atlantic grant,â€ She added. Â
Each filmmaker who received this grant was given a budget of a thousand dollars and a five-month timeline to finish their project; everything from the early writing stages to the final edits were to be completed in the timeline. Wagner said â€œAt first, Jason and I thought that this project was just not for us! Shooting a feature film with a budget of a thousand dollars sounded crazy!â€ She continued, Â â€œLooking back at this movie, the budget was both a challenge and a blessing. Although we had full creative license to make the movie the way we wanted, we couldnâ€™t afford to pay our crew and cast.â€
â€œFilmmaking is not the same as it was twenty years ago. If we can make a feature film for a thousand dollars, anyone can make a short for free!â€ said producer Jason Rogerson. Many film festivals accept film submissions that are made with smartphones and put together with basic editing software. Rogerson said that these are perfect platforms for budding filmmakers. â€œThere is definitely a crowd out there that’s thirsting for diversity in storytelling,â€ Rogerson added.
If you like independent films and you happen to be a UPEI student, faculty member or alumnus then be sure to check out the FREE screening of Singing To Myself on September 28th, 2017. Room 242 in McDougall Hall. Doors open at 6 pm, screening begins at 6:30 pm.
Statement from North of 49 Films
Singing To Myself is presented as part of North of 49 Films – Movies On Campus. Â A Telefilm Canada/FIN: Atlantic International Film Festival initiative, the program provides Atlantic Canadian Universities the opportunity to present Atlantic Canadian films. This UPEI screening is free for students, faculty, and alumni, and will be followed by a Q&A with writer/director Harmony Wagner. The film also screens at St. Mary’s University on November 8th.
Singing to Myself tells the story of Iris, a young deaf woman, who decides to reject the pursuit of worldly success, embrace her silent solitude, and learn to be happy with less. But then she meets a precocious musician named Celeste. Â Beautifully shot on PEI, the film is an intimate gaze into the complexity and ease of female friendship. Â Written and directed by Harmony Wagner and produced by Charlottetown’s Periscope Pictures, â€˜Singing to Myselfâ€™ was a recipient of a 1K Wave Women in Film and Television Atlantic award.