Sunday, October 7, 2007

Whangarei, NEW ZEALAND September 27, 2007

Singing the Bones screened at St Andrew's Church Hall, Whangarei, New Zealand

"Hi Caitlin

It all went well - I really enjoyed seeing the movie again - as always the comments were varied but I sold all the DVDs so I think we can assume that the response was very positive. I'd like to talk to you about whether I can get more DVDs?

All in all it was a very appropriate way to start our conference!

Jeannette (Lazet)

Friday, October 5, 2007

Birmingham, England, September 22, 2007

Email from Elsie Gayle regarding her screening on September 22nd at the Electric Cinema, Birmingham, England

"Hi Caitlin,

"We had a very good time. Not sold out but good numbers. Great panel discussion and consciousness raising and a few quotes to include in the blog for you.

"Up to my neck in work at present but hoping to send you a video clip from the panel discussion.(being edited) as well as the written. Still waiting for the numbers and final update. All DVD and CDs sold out.

"Be in touch shortly,


Thursday, October 4, 2007

Sebastopol, California, September 19, 2007

September 18, 2007 Wednesday

Who are you?
And what do you want?

Constance reading #2

A tea house in downtown Sebastopol. We listen to the voice of midwife Constance Miles who speaks to us as a featured performer in Sebastopol Word Fest. Tomorrow we'll screen our film "Singing the Bones" at the Sebastopol Cinema. Constance is our hostess, and has organized that event. The audience gathered here is small but attentive.

"Can we set aside all else and surrender to this moment?" she asks through a poem about a dying friend, and we surrender to her voice in the yellow light of the cafe. A midwife who works primarily in birth, Constance also brings words into the world, and sometimes her poems deal with others who have died; ("Call for Diane floating between worlds. . .") glimpses her journey to accompany them as far as she can go: "Could we meet for dinner? We are alive."

Caitlin & Constance @ reading

She shares a sacred moment in her life: washing her mother’s body for the first and last time, lovingly describing the woman who mothered her through the scars her body bore and the clothes she no longer wore. "Clothes that say something about Mom" lists a closetful of left-behinds including old swim suits that didn’t fit and "a rainbow spectrum of sun visors". And in the silence of forever, she speaks simply: "All I wanted was quiet/ the house is quiet now"


Of course, she writes about birth: "Deeper Into Now", the three word title of a poem about the place a woman inhabits during birth. A new mum's elated “We did it! We did it!” after hours of a difficult delivery. She calls mothers-to-be “her mamas”. She thanks generations of wise women with her "Eulogy for Midwives".

This is what we share: a belief in birth, its transformative and healing grace. It’s strength, it’s power, the work of it. We know that in our world, fear of birth interferes with its centuries-old power and wisdom. We, Constance and I, in our own individual way, and in communion with others who work in birth around the world, we work to empower mothers, fathers and families -- the next generation -- one birth at a time.

Barton & Constance

Here's Constance and her partner, Barton outside their home in Sebastopol.


At supper, (excellent Nepal cuisine) we talk about religion. Barton says, "I was an atheist until I found out that god is a woman." We walk to the Sebastopol Cinema for the screening of our film, "Singing the Bones" a fundraiser for California Association of Midwives. By "we" I mean Gord, Director/ Editor / Screenwriter and (me) Actor/Playwright. We’re both the film's producers, and we’re here, to answer questions from the audience after the film finishes. We don't expect much audience, Constance has been warning us all afternoon. Constance is our presenter, but she just got back from Australia, and time was tight. She printed extra posters. Advertised on her email lists. But. At showtime, no news of ticket sales.

We're hopeful. At the wicket we say “We’re the filmmakers of Singing the Bones.” He buzzes us in. Maybe he had to turn them away. You never know. It's the end of their night; everyone is wiping or sweeping; big bags of popcorn sit tied on the floor. He points. Outside Theatre 4, a huge poster of Ben Stiller in The Heartbreak Kid. Across the hall, Superbad. It's the last fifteen minutes of our film. Sound effects from a film in Theatre 2 rock the walls. It's the end of the world in there.

Biiig screen

I open the door to Theatre 4. My face is huge on the screen. Dr. Sara is saying, “I am an insect, hiding a host of things in my shell.” I step back out into the empty hall, to Gord: “I’m on the biiig screen!” A few minutes later, we hear that wonderful chanting music -- which means they're watching the credits -- and we step into the theatre. Constance introduces us in the dark. There is a moment, and then I ask Gord to take a picture.

Audience in Sebastopol

And here they are, our full house! And they have questions, congratulations and a surprise for me: a special applause for the actress!

Disc after show w bad haircut

On the left is Holly Ghiram, whose first birth was in hospital and the next two, at home. Francine Krause and JerriGrace Lyons purchase the last two dvds - and a cd. Jerri Grace is a Death Midwife who provides education about end of life services, empowering family and friends to care for loved ones at home. Francine Kraus, a gifted artist, has Prima Bella, and was one of the first to create pregnant belly masks as an art form.

I have that feeling that I've known these people since I was little. It happens so often around women who work in that window between the two worlds. We're all soul mates.

MISCELLANEOUS (non official but heartfelt and appreciated) REVIEWS:

Constance watched the film twice and still said: "Stunning performance . . . had me in tears."

"Thank you so much for presenting that powerful movie, empowering....well acted....really am proud of our midwifery community! love, Thomas" (friend of Constance)

"It's a beautiful art film." Deborah LeSeuer

Thank you, Constance!

Here's an article about our film, which you could download if you went to our NEWLY designed website: and click on the icon over Singing the Bones.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007


"powerful new film . . complex, emotional and artistically
challenging . . .a tour de force for Hicks" - John Griffin, Montreal Gazette

What began in the summer of 1999 - from an idea that we could just do it - stretched out through 2001. The shoot, the edit, the music, the edit, the mixing, the edit, the soundscape, the edit, the studio voice-over recording, the edit. Mostly Gord hard at work at that magic, tempermental thing, the G-4 computer.


Two years later, in summer of 2001, eighteen days after our final edit of Singing The Bones, our feature length motion picture was accepted for its world premiere at the Montreal World Film Festival. A world class, 'A' level festival! We made the cut!

Then, a flurry of creating marketing materials, with translations into French, press lists, printing photographs, travel planning. Two weeks in Montreal, we spoke French everyday and somehow edged out the films in competition for a big review from John Griffin, in the major English language paper THE GAZETTE. We shared the page with Sophia Loren, who was the festival's prize guest. John loved our film and gave us what many films never get: an excellent quote from a reputable source. (see above) The CBC also reviewed the piece:

"it's a poem, it'a painting, it's beautiful."
gushed Jeannette Kelly.

Friends Margaret Guzzi (Art Director) and Ben Low (Director of Photography) flew out to attend our world premiere at The Parisien Theatre in thriving, crowded, exciting Montreal! The first screening was excruciating -- would they like it? Would they walk out? I crouched at the back of the theatre post show, but was soon discovered, then crowded round with excited movie goers, fans! People talking about OUR FILM!!! Almost unbelievably -- LOVING our film!


Busy in the market daily trying to attract distributors, our film had what they call 'buzz' and we got offers from two distributors to release BONES theatrically in Canada -- Somewhere between the daily "Cinq à Sept" (the 5PM beer mixers at The Market) -- we discovered we were accepted to the Mill Valley International Film Festival (known as the Little Sundance in the industry) and then the Tahoe International Film Festival. Friends couriered us copies from the Vancouver Sun, where a huge article (with photographs!) was written about Singing The Bones and the issues it raises around women's choice in childbirth.

The world in North America changed on September 11th, and a few short weeks later we arrived at an empty Lake Tahoe, deserted resort town. The festival's big gala evening was cancelled due to lack of participation and only ten people were present for our U.S. premiere. Still all were moved by the presentation; hugged me, thanked us for our work. In Tahoe, we learned we'd been accepted to the Ojai Film Festival just outside Santa Barbara. We wouldn't be able to attend, as the dates conflicted with our Calgary booking and our GALA premiere.

Ishmael Merchant & Caitlin Hicks

Early October, at The Mill Valley Festival, SINGING THE BONES was SOLD OUT for its debut, and the audience, avid film-goers, when asked if there were any questions said, "I think we all just need to take a moment here." Then spirited discussion into the night about the universal aspects to the story, how it resonates in our post-September llth world.

Robin Williams
WH Macy
In this "Hollywood North/Little Sundance" festival, we partied with Sean Penn and William H. Macy and directors Todd Field (In the Bedroom) and Rob Nilsson, (Cannes-winning director of Northern Lights). Rubbed elbows with Ishmael Merchant, Jonathan Winters. Spoke french with Robin Williams - and my french was better than his.
Todd Fieldgord-caitlin-rob-neilson2

The festival review, was again, proof that we had fulfilled our intention:

"In a deeply layered and visually arresting production by Gordon Halloran, employing his camera as almost another character in the drama, the interlocking tales of three women become a single narrative that is not just a woman's story, but an unforgettable window into the human experience." - D Quinones

In Calgary for our first public screening, the weekend before Halloween, we received a standing ovation! Outside, it was snowing.


Thursday, August 30, 2007

OUR GALA PREMIERE on The Sunshine Coast

caitlin and michelina jpeg

On November 7, 2001, The Raven's Cry Theatre in Sechelt hosted the GALA Sunshine Coast Premiere of Singing The Bones. Local restaurants, small businesses, sponsors and friends all contributed to our Stone Soup Gala -- with hors d'oeuvres, accessories, costume, tuxedo & hair design donated for the day. Sim Video in Vancouver donated the projector; and Gord's hockey buddy Owen, has a son who owns Paramount Limousine in Vancouver -- so his white, ten-seat stretch limo carried audience and actors to the theatre in style.

michelina exits limo jpeg

The local cable station trained their cameras on the film's 'stars' as we emerged from the limousine. Adam Richards interviewed the crowd. Volunteers took tickets at the door. A local musician, Bruce Alan Smith, played classical guitar. Everyone dressed to the max.

large group shot jpeg

We were all players in a game we'd seen others do many times.

I watched my favorite parts of the film with the audience; Gord, (director, editor, production designer, screenwriter), waited nervously in his black tuxedo in the lobby. As credits rolled, we stood at the back. The audience howled, hooted, stomped and clapped as credits went by, as the music I RELEASE sung by local musicians Rose Kirchner, Jenica Van Eli, Pamela Messner and Hahle Gerow cranked out at full tilt.

The lobby buzzed with excited conversations as everyone stayed for wine and hors d'oeuvres 'til the wee hours.

edmund and group jpeg

Our film is an emotional journey, and the whole affair was like a wedding: with hugs, tears, kudos, heartfelt conversations with dozens of friends, acquaintances and strangers. They came for the gala, they stayed for the film, THEY LOVED IT (!!!) -- and told their friends! Proof is in the pudding: the next night, I took tickets at the door, looked into the faces of the SELL OUT audience.

You are what your deep, driving desire is.
As your desire is, so is your will
As your will is, so is your deed.
As your deed is, so is your destiny.
- Brihadaranyaka Upanishad