Director, Peter Lynch, 2009
Her first rock concert at age 12 was an experimental set about painting held at the Art Gallery of Ontario: how discovering the Rheostatics offbeat approach influenced this quirky singer/songwriter to colour outside the lines.
Archive for the ‘Laura Barrett’ Category
Director, Peter Lynch, 2009
PETER LYNCH is the director of Cyberman and Project Grizzly, one of the most successful Canadian documentaries of all time — and one referenced on The Simpsons. His varied background in arts, multimedia, new media and music videos made him a natural fit for City Sonic. His third film for the series was Laura Barrett with Martin Tielli at the Art Gallery of Ontario.
LL: Give us your “elevator ride” pitch: the concept for your film in three sentences or less.
PL: Laura Barrett tells the story of being 14 years old and going to the Art Gallery of Ontario to see the Rheostatics perform a show inspired by the Group of 7. It takes place in the labyrinthine new Gehry building and reunites her with Martin and they perform an emotional song from back in that day.
LL: What did you learn about Laura and Martin that surprised you?
PL: Laura is very curious. She can talk about anything, from science to Ribfest. And she has the ability to put a spell on people with her kalimba. For example, initially the security was pre-disposed to standoffishness but as soon as she started playing it was like the pied piper leading everyone to us. Everything became possible. As for Martin, he was so generous and open as an artist it was a real pleasure.
LL What was the greatest challenge in shooting at this location?
PL: I wanted to give a sense of scale to Laura’s imagination, to bring her memories from her 14-year-old self into now. Also to contextualize the Group of 7 without becoming cliché. Laura’s music has a kind of wafting, ethereal quality to it and it made me think of cathedrals so we started with the stairway and our DOP ran with that.
LL: The performance between Laura and Martin is breathtaking and beautiful. How did that come about?
PL: Martin hadn’t played that song in a long time but Laura had it in mind. We had a tight timeline for shooting so while I thought about doing an interview with them it didn’t seem right. So we just sat them down and I said, “You do what you do and we’ll do what we do” and didn’t get too fussy about how we shot them. It was very organic. Laura worked her instrument in instinctively, probably because the song is so deep in her soul. Martin was fearless. I still get emotional when I watch it.
It was Canada’s famous “Group of Seven” that inspired Martin Tielli and the Rheostatics to make music, and it was that music that inspired Laura Barrett to become and artist. Check out production pics from when Laura and Martin visited the AGO. Check them out here.
The Art Gallery of Ontario spent more than $275 million on its recent design transformation. And the Group of 7 paintings are some of the most famous and valuable in the building. So how do you convince the AGO to let a motley crew of doc makers and music misfits romp around in there for an afternoon? You ask politely. (And then you pay them politely.) With limited time with both the location and the artists, director Peter Lynch and his crew did a little transforming of their own, turning the wide open spaces of the AGO into an impromptu stage for music magic.
Singer, songwriter and kalimba player Laura Barett is one of the youngest City Sonic artists, in terms of both actual age and career experience (although you may know well her as a member of the Hidden Cameras and Henri Fabergé & the Adorables). But from our first conversation, while she was hunkered down in the Yukon this past winter, it was clear that she has deep musical roots and the genuine storytelling prowess to bring us into her world of self-proclaimed “neurotic sci-folk.” One of her favourite Toronto bands is the Rheostatics — the first rock group she ever witnessed perform live. We were thrilled to be able to connect her with Rheos guitarist Martin Tielli at the Art Gallery of Ontario.