Stage vs. Screen: A Chat with Filmmaker and Theatre Director Jacqueline Hynes

Credit: Victoria Wells
The film versus theatre debate is as old as film. Some people are diehard theatre goers. Some are film fanatics. Others like Jacqueline Hynes kick that versus to the curb with a fervour for both creative disciplines.

The film versus theatre debate is as old as film. Some people are diehard theatre goers. Some are film fanatics. Others like Jacqueline Hynes kick that versus to the curb with a fervour for both creative disciplines.

Fresh from a summer run as production manager for Perchance Theatre and directing August Strindberg’s The Stronger for St. John’s Shorts in September, Hynes just clued up work coordinating last month’s St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival [Interactive] Film Industry Forum while producing Riley Harnett’s Foreign Affair (2016) as part of NIFCO’s First Time Filmmaker Program.

“Theatre is my first love,” says Hynes. “The great thing about theatre is the time you get to work with actors when rehearsing a show, in a room, all seeking some truth together. For me, the act of creation, my art and my expressions, is caught up with how I live and feel, so theatre makes me feel more in touch with myself, with life and humanity and all that jazz.”

Despite her first love, Hynes is also an avid filmmaker who fell for the medium when she was cast in a NIFCO film in her early twenties.

“I remember being quite taken by what was happening behind the scenes, all the moving parts, the camaraderie among the crew, the lighting and camera set-ups,” recalls Hynes.

Hynes took her fascination for film and rose up through NIFCO’s program ranks with her first film One Of Us Cannot Be Right (2008), followed by her Picture Start film Cardboard Junction (2010) and her producing credit on Andrea Dunne’s Picture Start film Malignant (2016). Oh, and let’s not forget Hynes won the 2012 RBC Michelle Jackson Emerging Filmmaker Award for The Passenger (2013), an ambitious and startling short about a woman who navigates her troubled past and confronts a younger woman eerily connected to her before she can start anew.

“I love photography,” says Hynes. “I love the human face, how much story there is in a glance, how you can create a world, visually and aurally, like you’re playing god. The control freak in me loves that process. You orchestrate, you direct, you build, you shape, you create impressions and you control it all. It’s wild.”

Behind her creative energy, Hynes also deals with some hard realities and an internal tug-of-war between the part of her that loves Newfoundland and wants to stay and the other part that wonders what life on the opposite side of the Cabot Straight might be like.

“I have to balance mental health and addictions issues in a city where people like to party a lot and winter is the dominant season,” says Hynes. “I did leave once to travel but I came back and stayed because there are a lot of smart, kind, and talented people who I keep getting to work with. People here want to create. I feel connected to and responsible for what happens in the community here. I want to be a part of it.”

Let’s hope she stays.

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