Dwight and Michael Kearns, guarding the apple tree at 444 21st St.,(Alma Kearns)
Michael Kearns lived at Four Forty Four 21st Street in Brandon Manitoba until he was ten years old. He now lives in Oxford England where he works as a violin maker/restorer at Oxford Violins.
He's back in Winnipeg to introduce Four Forty Four at Cinematheque. It's a deeply personal portrait about growing up in Brandon in the 1950's.
SCENE asked Michael to describe how Four Forty Four came to be.
The idea of exploring early memory first came to mind on a trip back to Manitoba to visit family and friends. It came to me one day when I decided to stop and park the car in my old childhood neighbourhood on the west side of Brandon.
As I began to walk around on that warm afternoon, nearly every view offered up a ghost from actions past - the time I slipped and fell under the horse-drawn Manco milk wagon and got taken away to the hospital...the time my friend Tim and I were sitting listlessly on the street curb, wishing the county fair would arrive and my mother coming up behind us and saying, 'Don't wish your lives away!'.
Memories continued to trickle in - some mere wisps, evoked by the sight of a particular lamp post; a sewer grate, a washing line with children's clothes hanging almost still in the sunshine.
My curiosity now aroused, I continued to explore the boundaries of what was inside and out. Gradually over the weeks that followed, I began to get inklings of how such an onslaught of memories might be harnessed into a more coherent expression.
And given that it was to be a film, I was also intrigued by the prospect of seeing such a process right through - not only writing a script which I have some experience with, but also filming, narrating and editing - all untested disciplines. And the fact that the main characters in my fictional stories inevitably get wrapped up in some sort of search for lost experience, the idea of peering into my own formative years seemed to make sense. That after all, in some mysterious way, it is the original well.
Michael Kearns, Director - Four Forty Four
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