Rozalind MacPhail is performing the St. John’s premiere of her ECMA-winning piece From The River To The Ocean in the Suncor Hall at Memorial University on May 12th at 7:00pm, admission is free.  

MacPhail, a local musician and filmmaker,  has just returned from New Brunswick where her audio-visual piece From The River To The Ocean was named Electronic Music Recording of The Year at the East Coast Music Awards.

From The River To The Ocean is an album written to accompany a collection of silent short films. At the premiere this Friday, MacPhail will be playing the musical component live as the films screen.

MacPhail began work on From The River To The Ocean while she was completing an artist residency offered by the Cucalorous Film Festival in Wilmington, North Carolina. The project is about place and each combination of song and video aims to evoke Wilmington from a distinct perspective.

“That place is just thriving with collaborative energy…I was meeting all of these really inspiring filmmakers and I loved the place. I wanted to capture all those memories, I knew it was a really special time and I wanted to express that through music and through film,” MacPhail said.

She decided to ask some of the filmmakers she met during the residency to contribute their own short films about Wilmington to the project. As a result, a diverse mix of filmmaking styles come together in From The River To The Ocean.

“Some of the filmmakers are from Wilmington, a lot of them are from abroad and of course there’s me from Newfoundland. So there’s a real sense of everybody having …their own story to tell about their experience of Wilmington,” MacPhail said.

MacPhail made two short films for the album while she was in Wilmington, each exploring a different genre;  “Leave A Note” is a semi-autobiographical account of MacPhail’s last day in Wilmington, and “Now Accepting Food Stamps” (BELOW) is an impressionistic piece that addresses the poverty and racism she witnessed in the town.

“Our current climate and what I’m hearing from friends that I’m in close connection with down south makes it feel like the appropriate time to be sharing ‘Now Accepting Food Stamps’,”MacPhail said.

MacPhail made both films on a super 8 camera and hand-processed the film. The hand-processing causes black flecks to dance across the images, making contemporary footage feel like it’s from an earlier era. The effect is fitting for a project about memory and what it means to capture a moment in time.

“When people experience [From The River To The Ocean] in a live setting it inspires them to go home and think about the marks they can leave for others in their own lives and how much it connects all of us. I really encourage people to explore how they’re capturing their memories “ MacPhail said.

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