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Embodying the Spirit of Sable Island Beyond Her Famous Horses

Sable Island has its own inimitable rhythms – it answers to no one. I can’t help but feel an incredible connection to the island and its near-miraculous existence, perfectly preserved after all this time.

This evolving, shifting landscape and its amazing wild horse inhabitants represent a freedom that’s hard to capture without continuous reinvestigation. So during my last trip there I knew I had to make a film.

The island is a prismatic place, and I wanted the film to feature more than just visuals of its famous equine residents. Instead, we wanted to focus on the landscape and how it is innately intertwined with the animals. Lastly, we wanted it to offer an experience that transports you to Sable’s shores.  

The film’s co-director was Benny Nicks, whose accomplished work has been shown at the Tribeca Film Festival. As we walked around the island together, we realized that the film had to come from the ‘voice of the island.’ This was the only way we could really attempt to harness the nature of this multi-faceted place.  

To better channel the romantic yet precarious environment, we also chose to write a script – in part poem and lyric – and to work with a composer, Grammy/Oscar Winner Christopher Ward, on an original score.

We then used the push and pull of the language in the script and in the score to mimic the constant evolution and sensory overload inescapable on the island.

The resulting work is our take on embodying the island’s intricacies, nuances, and spirit.

Here is an excerpt from our description of the voice of the Island:

“The narrator is perhaps a weathered, old, and wise woman; someone who has seen it all yet continuously comes back to Sable, recognizing the island as a stronghold of beauty, a life force of its own…but maybe she IS the island.”

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When creating my films, I’ve become increasingly interested in asking the question: What would this location say if it could talk? There are so many places on Earth that are imbedded with years of history. If I don’t tell their stories I wonder how they will be remembered, if at all, for generations to come.

I look forward to reexamining this question in the future.

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