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  • Writer's picturePatrick Sutherland

"Broken Beat" wrapped!

There's a real intimacy and heightened sense of intent when you create a film that is so connected to real life. The writer, co-director, and lead actress of "Broken Beat" is Janine Kirk, an actress and author who has based this film on her own experiences with congenital heart defects affecting her newborn baby Emma (now 2 years old and thankfully healthy).

Imagine the primal terror that a parent would experience after learning their newborn child has a life-threatening condition. This kind of experience could be studied and recreated in a convincing way by an observer, but the fact Janine knows this dread first hand lent her screenplay an authenticity that really came through and grabbed me. I have no children of my own at this time, but her words and scenes tapped into a nerve that runs through all humanity, a kind of fear that is baked into our DNA and instantly recognizable.

I knew I had a serious challenge ahead of me in figuring out how to translate the story to screen in a way that treated the experiences with respect and truth. It wouldn't be enough to simply present it in a safe, matter of fact way... there is too much terror in the story for the audience to see it all from a distance, so i wanted to look for ways to 'get dirty' with the heavy content. At times I wanted us to get uncomfortably close, and feel the very authentic energy emanating from Janine's performance.

There are beautiful sequences of lightness and hope that carefully weave into the story and provide some balance. Often times they are wordless moments, and dialog-free story telling brings out the very best in me. It's always creatively challenging, riveting, and often a great moment for truth (for this kind of storytelling transcends the limits of language). I captured some of my best work to date on this lovely film.

The crew we assembled put their hearts into this story. Gudrun, Scarlett, Robbie, Brandon, Matt, Tracy, Brad and Nick really brought it. I think we all did work that we will be proud of, and I can't wait to see the film next year.

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