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Hard Light

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In Hard Light, filmmaker Justin Simms uses Michael Crummey’s seminal piece of Newfoundland literature as a lens to examine cultural change and modern relationships.

At its most basic level, the film serves as a portrait of Newfoundland and its people.  As in Crummey’s collection of poems and stories, there is a decisive theme of the artist investigating his ancestors to discover himself. Hard Light also questions the function of art in human understanding: the power of storytelling to, as Crummey says in an interview near the end of the film, “pin something long enough, to make it hold still long enough for us to be able to see it for what it is.”

Crummey’s stories are dramatized in atmospheric, carefully composed black-and-white sequences overlaid with voiceover readings from the works themselves, read by Simms. Character is built through an accumulation of detail.

The dramatizations are broken up by Crummey’s own ruminations in conversation with Simms. The writer’s childhood memories tell us where the spirit of the stories, and in some cases their subjects, came from; his thoughts on the process of creating the book tell us why they matter.

A beautiful cinematic blending of old and new, Hard Light is a timely reflection on compassion and the art of living.

2012, 54 min 50 s

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Founder's Award
Yorkton Film Festival
May 23 to 26 2013, Yorkton - Canada

Jury Award
FIFA / International Festival of Films on Art
March 14 to 24 2013, Montréal - Canada

Honourable Mention for the NFB Colin Low Award
Doxa - Documentary Film and Video Festival
May 4 to 13 2012, Vancouver - Canada