Ma’am, tell us something about the title of your movie. What are reflections? Do they necessarily induce pain in one’s life?
Usually reflections are thoughts that are deep because a topic or idea has been thoroughly thought through. In the case of our movie, these reflections are deep meaningful personal and sometimes painful thoughts about loss and grief from both Dad and son Geordie. Even Mom had reflections on leaving before she died. Reflections do not have to be painful. They can be insightful and freeing. They can be comforting and joy-filled. Some of the reflections in our movie were very deep and painful. Some were comforting and motivating.
Tell us something about the story. What made you realise that you definitely wanted to direct this movie? What did you like about the story?
The first time I read the script, I knew that this was a story I wanted to direct. The script was raw full of human emotions and feelings. It was real and came from a real place. This story came from the heart of a man who felt so much and went through so much. I could sense that. I like to create stories that help to shift perspective and approach, that look at issues and real life in a fresh and different way. I have a soft spot for mental wellness too. So the realness, rawness and the fact that this story has to do with loss, an experience that has a real impact on our mental wellness – well this was a package that I could not pass up. Grief and loss is also not something that North Americans do well with. In general, we don’t know how to grieve and how to deal with loss in a healthy way. So there was also opportunity to help not only ourselves but others in our audiences with loss. That became our hashtag #helpotherswithloss.
Talk to us about the importance of stories in a world devoid of them. Where would we be without them?
Oh man. I could not imagine a world without stories. It would be horrible. First of all, we would not be able to connect with one another’s hearts. We would not be able to understand one another much at all. Stories really help us to convey our experiences – both the joy-filled and the pain. They help us to empathize and to communicate. We learn about one another and the world with story. Without story, we would not be learning. We would not have a sense of belonging or understanding. We would feel much more alone. Stories help us to not make the same mistakes again. They help us to know how things went for someone else. Stories also encourage us to do things that are good over again. They teach us how to live well. Without this way of teaching, we would be stumbling. Life would be so much more difficult. We are instructed and lifted by the stories of others who have gone before us as well as those that are around us.
Tell us something about the magical world of cinema. Why do you think it is something that connects one and all?
Visual images are universal. Even when we do not know a language, we can put a visual image from a film in front of us and if told well, we can understand the story without understanding the language. Film is the most powerful medium in my opinion because it is all about the images. In fact, if a story is written well, no words are necessary to tell it. Only images. This is the reason
that anyone can be impacted by film. What we see in an image on the screen connects to our hearts and to our understanding. No matter our country of origin.
Which movie would be your guilty pleasure? The movie you are never tired of watching and perhaps you would like everyone to watch it at least once.
Oh wow. I love Psycho or Rear Window by Hitchcock. I never get tired of them. Any Hitchcock actually. I love Sixth Sense by M. Night Shyamalan. They are older but still some of my favorites because they teach me how to tell a story as a director with great images.
The theme of loss plays a preponderant role in the movie. What is your view on the phenomenon of loss?
We all go through loss. It is universal. We do not only lose loved ones because they die. But we can also lose opportunities, health, possessions, money, relationships. There are many things in life that we can lose. Loss is a part of life. So it is essential that we know how to handle loss. That we understand that there are different ways to grieve, to deal with loss. That not everyone is going to be able to move through it in the same way we are. It is important that we give each other the space and time to work through grief and loss. And it is important that we are sensitive to someone who has lost anyone or anything. Grieving occurs with any loss and it takes time and energy. We need to know how to grieve and allow ourselves and each other the space and time to grieve.
Loss is so personal yet so much more universal in nature. It takes us back to story of Kisha Gautami and the Buddha. Don’t you think in a strange way it connects human beings on the basis of pure agony? Loss is something that transcends the superfluous layer of pretensions.
Absolutely. Loss is definitely something that can bind us together or tear us apart. If we allow it to, loss can bring us together. It is a human experience. Every human no matter where we live or what heritage we have goes through loss. Loss is an opportunity to support one another. We need each other’s support to get through loss.
The conversation plays a vital role in the movie. We find clarity through their individual confessions that appear to poles apart from one another. They reveal so much themselves in the process. A rather bleak final sequence probably made us think if the conversation could have ended in a better way between them. How impactful do you think was the conversation between them in the movie?
I think Dad and Geordie connected better than they ever have before in their relationship when we meet them in our movie. I don’t think they ever really got along that well or had good conversations. Mom was the one that both Dad and Geordie were able to talk with. Not each other. So their loss of her is very difficult on both of them. When Geordie comes to see Dad in our story, they share some of their deepest thoughts and feelings. I think this is something new for them. Something that they are not used to. As a result, their conversation is bumpy and messy. It is not easy. But I think it is good. It was important for them to hear some of the things that were said between them. To know where the other is coming from. I think the conversation between them shows them how very different they are and how differently they are processing
the loss of Mom. And that is what we want to say in this movie. We all experience loss in different ways. But we should not let that keep us from talking about it or connecting with one another. We just never know when our time on this earth is done.
There are objects and images that talk to us directly in the movie. The family photographs , the photo of the mountains. How significant a role do you think the images played in the story?
Film is all about the images. Story is all about the images. So when I was looking at this story of loss, I was thinking about what images would represent what Dad was trying to let go of and what Geordie was trying to hold on to. And I knew it was important to show that they are coming at things very differently when it comes to handling the loss of wife/ Mom. I realized that Dad was in a place with the loss of his wife where he needed to let go of family and the past (represented by the family photos) he had with his wife and son. He needed to move on to a new place. And that is what the mountains are – a new place for him to move towards and go to. Dad has to put away and replace the photos with the mountains. It is part of his moving on and forward. A part of his healing. The script at the top when Geordie arrives even indicates that Dad has done this.
Geordie on the other hand wants to keep and hold onto the memories and images which remind him of the past. So he carries with him in his wallet and has in his vehicle those photos. He will never give them up because they mean the world to him.
Again, the images of the family photos and mountains were symbols of how these two men were handling their loss in very different ways.
What do you have to say about the performances?
I am so grateful for all three of the actors who were in this piece. They each gave from their hearts to the best of their ability. This was a very difficult script and story to tell. It was a deep subject, not something that was easy to face or look at. And yet, they knew their lines (and there were many for a short film) and were ready for filming. They were dedicated and committed to seeing it through. They did their best to connect with each other and to say where they were at with the loss they had endured through their performances. It took a lot of guts to do this and they did it.
Tell us something about the song in your movie which is immediately followed by an agonising occurrence.
Our incredible composer and musician Don and I chose a song from his repetoire which felt a bit country because our story took place in a rural setting. And we wanted to shed light on how it takes a little time and effort to work through things, especially emotionally and mentally difficult experiences like loss. As the song says, with patience and a little space and time, things can get better. It was important to us that there was some hope and encouragement for the audience especially after such a difficult ending to the visit that Dad and Geordie had. And we really did want to encourage people not to give up when things get tough. Loss is not easy. But it is possible to move through the difficult times especially if we support and listen to one another.
The opening sequence itself suggests the juxtaposition of confinement and freedom. The father is trying to escape grief by locking himself in a house while the son appears to be driving in the open air, taking things the way they are and getting through the road of grief and despair. Do you agree?
Yes. There is a definite difference between their lives and you could say that the opening sequence shows some of how different they are living. For sure.
In a situation when there are characters who are so different from one another, do you think a vital role is played by a loving and powerful force like that of the person they have lost?
Oh yes. These two men are very different and the way that they were able to be together at all was because of their wife/ Mom. She was the one who united them. For sure. She understood and was able to connect with both of them. She was the calming force. She was the one that was steady and sure. She was the one that they relied on for comfort and for assurance.
Thank you for the opportunity to share our movie and thoughts with you.