She Sings to the Stars

The endless desert. A Native American grandmother lives alone tending her corn. Her half-Mexican grandson and a white, ageing magician are stranded. No water. A river of stars. Everything changes: anything is possible.

  1. Cinematic Arts
  • Magic is everyday. We have created separation between what we consider magic and wondrous and what we consider real, where there is none. We knew this unequivocally as children. Everything was alive, interconnected and we existed in a continual state of reciprocity. Indigenous cultures still know this. Physics has shown us ways to prove it. As a young child 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 wished to bring the unrestricted realms of dreaming into the confines of our reductive waking world. I 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.” I constructed three life-size, newspaper-stuffed dressed figures of the characters and listened. Graced with three actors who poured heart-fire into rehearsal and performance, we 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. And four years later, the film had its first preview. Writing and directing your own work is like trying to wake up within a dream. Since filmmaking is such a fluid, intuitive medium, it can be the place where the waking and the dreaming worlds merge. As a first-time writer/director of a feature, I was both aware of my naiveté and yet wary of restrictions being imposed upon the story I had written. But out in the desert under a broad river of stars, everyone pulled together to make true the film's refrain: "You know, anything is possible." The 21st Century finds us parched, hurried and fearful. We have commodified Nature with no awareness of our vital symbiosis. We are thirsty for connection and meaning, wearied by outworn concepts and the relentless pace of the American dream. Mabel is not in a hurry. As a grandmother, she is a keeper of a timelessness, held in the desert and the endless expanse of stars. Listening, she sings and senses with all that is around her. While little seems to happen in her world, she is present for whatever arises in the moment – where anything (and everything) is possible. In 2010, I was prompted by a vision to create a cycle of films about women - but specifically, to explore the feminine aspect of our nature. It is our feeling nature, our intuitive sense that connects us to all that is living. The beauty of our diversity can be celebrated only when we acknowledge that we are all related – an inclusivity where both the human and the more-than-human world are in communication with each other. Isn't it time to come back to the circle?