Another Mullen sister in the director’s chair
Moviemaking seems to run in the Mullen blood.
With her sister April already an established Canadian director (Dead Before Dawn, GravyTrain), now it’s Melanie Mullen’s turn behind the camera. The former Niagara resident is among three finalists for a short film to be included in live performances of Daniel Lanois’ new instrumental album, Flesh and Machine.
Online voting continues at www.fleshandmachine.com until 10 p.m. Tuesday (Nov. 4). The winning short film will be screened at the TIFF Lightbox Theatre in Toronto Wednesday, Nov. 5, for an onstage conversation with Lanois.
“He has a very interesting perspective on life, very interesting perspective on music and art,” says Mullen, who met Lanois ten years ago at a concert. “A dentist in Niagara Falls told me, when I was really young, to surround yourself with people that you want to be like. Surround yourself with people that inspire you.”
Lanois personally recruited Mullen the project. She joins a list of directors like Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter), Mary Harron (American Psycho) and Jim McKay (Breaking Bad) who have contributed short films. Lanois, the Hamilton-born producer behind popular albums by U2, Bob Dylan and Peter Gabriel, released his ambient new album Oct. 28.
When choosing which track to accompany her film, Mullen was drawn to the soothing Aquatic. The resulting clip draws upon her love and fascination with water – a byproduct of growing up in Niagara Falls (Mullen ran as the Niagara Falls Green Party candidate in the 2007 provincial election, finishing third).
“People have very different relationships to water around the world,” she says. “For some folks it’s expected and for others it’s a big luxury.”
The polished five minute clip, shot in one day a month ago, is Mullen’s first crack at directing. Sister April started her career with the 2007 comedy Rock, Paper, Scissors: The Way of the Tosser. Her next effort, the thriller 88, will be released next year.
A strong advocate of the arts while living in Niagara Falls, Mullen – now working as a yoga instructor in Toronto and Los Angeles – says the Lanois film kickstarted her artistic side again. After associate producing the film Backcountry, which premiered at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, she’s writing a feature film she hopes to start working on next year.
“When Dan Lanois was sitting at our family’s old kitchen table in our family home in Niagara Falls, telling us stories of Bono and Bob Dylan, I was inspired by friendship,” she says. “Then, for Dan to see the artist in me that was able to direct this short film…it is a great gift.”