The visual journey of a children's book for all ages.
In 2012, I wrote a book for my Dad while he underwent treatment for cancer. My hope was to display the community that supported him through the most difficult time of his life - his very own army of hearts. The book evolved into an illustrated children's book, full of whimsical wonder and magic, which I self-published in June 2016. It is now my hope to expand this project into a different medium and direct a film to accompany the words of the book. The live-action film will weave through private moments of human connection - subtle, secret, special places - that reveal the utmost importance and unending power of love.
This project would not exist without community. It was built on community and it is our hope to see this community stretch further. This project, whether told via book or film, sends a message of hope, humanness and the invisible strings that bind people together.
In writing An Army of Hearts, I was amazed to discover how many people reached out, showed up and opened their hearts. It seemed to create an action in a time of not-knowing; something that could fill a space of fear and stillness with community and love. I have discovered a great power in this unity - this coming together of friends and strangers alike - and am eager to see hearts continue to flicker, near and far.
Whether you are 1 year old or 100 years old, An Army of Hearts serves a multi-generational audience, telling a story that is relatable for any person, regardless of age. It is through this wide community that we highlight universal themes, holding a mirror to hard times and finding light in darkness.
Our community stretches across BC, Canada and beyond! We have received enormous support from local media and find that each time an article or interview is released, our community grows. People continue to reach out and share how this story parallels their own, which has created a dialogue about grief, loss, hope and community that has been extremely powerful.
While we have found it beyond baffling and so humbling to feel the outburst of support from our local community, it has been truly remarkable to see our message stretch further. Pictured above, a group in San Miguel, Mexico standing together to show their support. Just as it can be a simple task to paint a red heart and send a photo across the globe, we hope that our film will be accessible and that it's universal message will reach beyond our insular community and bring brightness and hope to the lives of people we've never met.
Beloved children's book author and illustrator Dallas Clayton had one of his whimsical stories turned into a very moving live action short. We are drawing a great deal of inspiration from how this project of his succeeded in transferring a message that is universal from the pages of a book to a screen. [Image 1 of 4]
A spread in Dallas Clayton's book showcasing whimsy of his illustrations [Image 2 of 4] His profound rhyming stanzas work to guide the film's narrative and act as a universal voice that tells a story of love.
Here we see the cover of Dallas Clayton's book re-imagined in the live-action short film. [Image 3 or 4] The film, directed by Yael Staav, weaves delicately through subtle stories of love and loss, allowing the audience to peer into private moments and see themselves. The feelings captured speak universally, regardless of language or geography.
The emotion of Dallas Clayton's children's book kept in tact, yet also transformed by a different medium on screen. [Image 4 or 4] The director depicts a unique, textured tapestry of love, using beautifully cast actors, natural light and exquisite story. The gentle moments that are frozen on screen seem to embody the most personal journeys and somehow still feel completely relatable.
We are inspired by this video for its gentle, intimate aesthetic and the delicate use of light for seamless transitions. Despite it's abstract fragmented story, the viewer can still attach to the emotional life of the character and understand the depths of relationship without ever meeting the woman's other half. We hope to use performance driven story-telling and string together moments of significance to tell a larger story, just as this video does.
Local musician and all around super talented woman Ashleigh Ball (girl power!) will be custom composing the music for our film. Ashleigh's music is honest and poetic with quirky, bright bursts of ukulele, xylophone and flute, paired perfectly with her soulful songbird voice. She performs with a childlike freedom and whimsical wonder, while her songs leave lasting ripples of lyrics that are impossible to forget. We are thrilled to have Ashleigh in our Army.