Creative Interview With Film Director Jennifer Corcoran
Jennifer Corcoran is a writer and film director in the midst of a cycle of women centric films. She has just completed her first feature and the first film in the cycle, She Sings To The Stars which has an interesting story on how it came about.
Jennifer first met Mabel, the grandmother character of She Sings to the Stars, in a dream. She said, “It's time to sing the song. Listen. It will take you four years.”
Jennifer went on to construct three life-size, newspaper-stuffed dressed figures of the characters and listened. Graced with three actors who poured heart-fire into rehearsal and performance, they inhabited the insistent song of the desert where the living drought on location has eroded a once flourishing community. Dreams arrive, we don’t concoct them. Four years later, the film had its first preview screening.
The film is the story of a Native American grandmother, her half-Mexican grandson and a faded magician. Mabel is a Native American grandmother who lives alone, tending her drought-ravaged corn in the desert Southwest. Her half-Mexican grandson, Third, dreams of ‘making it big’ in LA, but his plans change dramatically when he comes to his grandmother’s house to collect traditional dolls he hopes to sell for a high price. Lyle is a faded magician from LA traveling with a white rabbit, the promise of a gig, and a life-long dream to be able to magically disappear. When his radiator boils over, he is stranded outside Mabel’s house. Both men must yield to a timeless rhythm and discover a creative capacity greater than imagined.
At Laundry we more than love the spirit and message of the film that "You know, anything is possible."
You can buy the film now on DVD on the films website and check out the trailer below.
Laundry spoke to Jennifer recently with those all important Creative Interview questions:
Three words to describe you?
Fiery, intuitive, daring
Three words to describe your work?
Subtle, challenging, compassionate
When did you decide you wanted to be a film director?
When I was 5.
I fashioned a box to capture my dreams. With a hole in the top, shedding light on a blank piece of paper inside, I tied the box to my head when I went to sleep. I wanted to bring the unrestricted life of dreaming into the confines of my waking world.
I was trained in the theatre. But when I directed plays written by others, I always itched to write and direct my own work. I wanted to work from the inside out, rather than from the outside in. Writing and directing your own work is like trying to wake up within a dream. And as much as I still love the thrilling and dangerous immediacy and intimacy of theatre, I want to work on a broader canvas, one akin to the screen of the mind. Back to dreams perhaps.
Who is your favorite film director?
Rather than a favorite film director, favorite films like: Fellini's ‘81/2’ and ‘La Strada’; Marcel Carné's ‘Children of Paradise’; Satyajit Ray's ‘Apu Trilogy’; Kelly Reichardt's ‘Wendy and Lucy’; Debra Granik's ‘Winter's Bone’; Bertolucci's ‘The Conformist’; Liliana Cavani’s ‘The Night Porter’; Chaplin's ‘Modern Times’; D.W. Griffiths' ‘Broken Blossoms’; Nuri Bilge Ceylan's ‘Winter Sleep’; Jane Campion's ‘The Pianist’; Krzysztof Kieślowski's ‘Blue’; Terry Gilliam's ‘Brazil’; Edgar Reitz's ‘Heimat’; Wim Wenders' ‘Wings of Desire’; Tarkovsky’s ‘Sacrifice’; Iñárritu's ‘Amores Perros’ and ‘Biutiful’; Sissako’s ‘Timbuktu’; Sofia Coppola’s ‘Lost in Translation’; Kurosawa’s ‘Dreams’; Ki-duk’s ‘Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring’; Loach’s ‘The Wind That Shakes the Barley’; Kiarostami’s ‘Through the Olive Trees’... and old-fashioned Italian circuses, nothing quite like them.
What else inspires you other than film?
Wilderness, the sea and stars. I read a lot of poetry. Music. And my three mind-bending children.
What music do you listen to when working?
If I am writing, I don’t listen to music. I love silence. I need to read aloud to hear what dialogue sounds like.
If I am working with images, I listen to music. Primarily instrumental, expansive scores. The sound creates more space inside me.
After years of listening to classical music when working, I am now going through an antipathetic period where I simply can’t listen to it any more.
What inspires your work?
Dreams. The wonder of it all. Magic. How everything is in cahoots with everything else. Possibility.
What city inspires you the most?
What do you dislike about the film industry?
It’s patriarchal, incestuous and oh-so-self-important. But there is a quiet revolution of independent filmmakers reinventing the wheel.
Where can we see your work?
Our website has a list of screenings & events: www.shesingstothestars.com
We are about to sign a distribution contract for She Sings to the Stars for North American and world rights on all platforms. News will be posted on our social media and the website.
Further, we will be selling directly from our website : DVD, HD download and streaming.
What future projects are you working on?
Six years ago, I was prompted by a vision to create a cycle of films about women - but specifically, about the feminine - a voice that has long been silent. It’s the feminine within each of us, male or female, that connects us to all that is alive. Our patriarchal cultures have separated us from nature and the cycles of creation. Domination is unsustainable. As bearers of life, women have a natural capacity to nourish in the way we are all nourished by the Earth. The beauty of our diversity can be celebrated only when we acknowledge that we are, integrally, all related. And in this collective, women's voices are still missing.
Together with my brother, She Sings to the Stars producer, Jonnie Corcoran, I am currently developing the second film of the cycle set in contemporary Ireland with a working title, Now and Also Now. We’ll be shooting in spring of 2018.