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Images by Jon Faulknor (Left) and Anna Rutherford (Right)

Rozalind MacPhail Heading to Cucalorus Film Festival for Stint as Artist in Residence

By Lauren Power

“Time and time again, I have discovered that most of my artistically rewarding moments have come from listening to my gut and not letting fear get in my way,”says classically trained flutist and multi-instrumentalist Rozalind MacPhail. “If something doesn’t feel like it’s in the flow, it usually doesn’t work out for me.”

The Toronto-born performer credits those gut feelings for helping her say “yes”to a three-month artist residency through the Cucalorus Film Festival in Wilmington, North Carolina, starting in September. The same gut feelings are what lead her to her current home of St. John’s.

“While I’m in Wilmington, I’ll be performing the US premiere of my film/music project, Head First, as well as collaborating with local filmmakers as I compose music for film,”says MacPhail, who will be the artist-in-residence for the festival’s 20th year anniversary.

The idea of pursuing a spot as Cucalorus Film Festival artistic resident was, what she describes as just a gentle whisper at first.“One of my film mentors, DIY queen of Canadian filmmaking, Ingrid Veninger (The Animal Project) posted about the residency on her Facebook page while I was attending the Banff Centre last year,”says MacPhail.

“I remember thinking to myself, ‘Well, that’s something I would totally love to do but I could never get that much time off!’ All of my insecurities totally held me back from applying. I kept saying to myself that I wasn’t ready for it, couldn’t afford it, could never get the time off work and would never get in.”

For a time, the thought of stepping away from work responsibilities, an apartment, and her life here was enough to keep her from acting. “There was just too much at stake, I was scared to take the risk.”

However, the signs kept coming and, soon, they were hard to ignore. “I started having dreams about North Carolina, a place I fondly remembered from visits during my childhood and I kept hearing about Cucalorus in different creative circles,”says MacPhail. “But it was through a meaningful conversation with close friends that I finally decided to apply despite not knowing how I was going to make it work … The signs were everywhere.”

“As much as I was terrified at the potential prospect of losing everything I’ve worked so hard to create here, it was through letting go of that fear and just going for it anyway that everything started to really come together.”

Having curated two live music / silent film projects so far (Painted Houses and Head First), she is planning to document her experiences in North Carolina, using Super 8 film and some unconventional methods. “I’ve had this wacky idea for the past bunch of years to try hand processing Super 8 film with coffee grinds and vitamin C, which would be a more environmentally friendly way of developing it.

“One thing I know for sure is that it will be a productive time —full of inspiration, exploration and creation. I’m heading out there with no expectations.”

See Rozalind MacPhail & Friends at her “See You Soon” show at The Ship on Thursday, September 4th.

Watch Rozalind’s “Reimagining FLute and Film” TEDx video