When Sue Smith released her album TONIGHT WE SAIL in the middle of the pandemic, little did she know that the musical alchemy she created with the Potion Kings would blossom and further develop into a film. The process of turning YOU COME CALLING, a gorgeous track off the album, into a music film was a creative collaboration in its truest sense.
Smith’s long-term friendship and collaboration with Dancer/Choreographer Karen Kaeja provided the kernel of inspiration. Known to Guelph audiences through Guelph Dance and the River Run Centre, Karen Kaeja is an award-winning Performer, Choreographer, Mentor, Community Builder and Project Instigator whose work intersects relational perspectives. Smith and Kaeja have collaborated on dance/music projects going back to the early 90s. Smith’s vision for her 2021 live-stream album release concert from the River Run Centre included Karen – whose dance performance would illuminate the depth and imagery on TONIGHT WE SAIL. It is no surprise that Smith and Kaeja are artistically drawn to each other. Kaeja’s intuitive and perceptive performance in the film YOU COME CALLING powerfully expresses the felt sense of both longing and unification in Smith’s evocative lyrics and music.
For the film, the dynamic pair was further complemented by the insightful eye of up-and-coming Director Tessa Fleming and the gorgeous photography of Daniel Grant CSC. Daniel Grant is an award-winning Director of Photography who has collaborated with some of Canada’s most celebrated Directors, including Bruce MacDonald and Patricia Rozema, and earned Canadian Society of Cinematographers Awards and Canadian Screen Award nominations for his work in both documentary and fiction. His recent credits include Danis Goulet’s Night Raiders, produced by Taika Waititi, and the HBO series Station Eleven, starring Mackenzie Davis, Himesh Patel, and Gael Garcia Bernal.
For the film, Smith’s vision of working with Kaeja was amplified by her desire to work with fellow artists Daniel Grant and Director Tessa Fleming who happen to be Smith’s backyard neighbours! Smith says, “ I’d been imagining a story line set in a specific location, and when I invited Tessa and Daniel to have a listen to the tracks and visually conjure the lyrics and dance on the screen, they were immediately drawn to YOU COME CALLING”. The song is an evocative, visceral meditation on the artist’s journey. Fleming states, when asked what drew her to the song, “The genesis for this work was inspired by the evocative lyrics and gorgeous sound of Sue Smith’s You Come Calling. The song, for me, speaks to the paradox of the creative life. The longing and waiting in every artist, creator to merge with the muse that fuels them. Something calls to us, we find it, revel in the unification, the creation, and then we separate, only to begin again the search towards integration, towards wholeness.”
All four Artists came together in what they say felt like a fated meeting under the November full moon in 2021. Their collaboration focused on a single night-shoot during which the song was the ultimate driver for collectively telling a story of calling upon and searching for the muse within. Smith and Fleming are quick to say the work they captured that moonlit night would not have happened without the support of their friends and neighbours who came out as Production Assistant, B Camera Operator, Truck Driver, Craft Services, and Gaffers – all generously volunteering to support a magical night of filmmaking.
Tessa Fleming and Sue Smith invite you to join the celebration of the premiere of the music film YOU COME CALLING on Saturday May 28 @ 8 pm on Zoom. Meet the key artists. Hear about the making of the film and see the film in its first viewing.
To register your attendance, email your name to [email protected], with “Calling” as the Subject Line.
In lieu of a ticket cost, you are invited make a donation to MSF, Red Cross or a charity of your choice.
Learn more about Sue Smith at: http://www.suesmith.ca and listen at: Tonight We Sail on Bandcamp
Submitted by: Brenda Lewis,
Lewis Media Relations: www.brendalewis.ca/publicist