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One-on-one with Ryan Ward about "Daughter of the Sun"

Ryan Ward, hailing from Winnipeg, Manitoba—often overshadowed by its frigid climate and underappreciated film industry—defies expectations with his latest work, "Daughter of the Sun." A filmmaker whose roots infuse his art with a raw authenticity and poetic introspection, Ward's journey from acclaimed actor to award-winning director reflects a commitment to storytelling that challenges conventions and delves deep into the human experience.

Could you share the inspiration behind "Daughter of the Sun" and its significance in your cinematic journey?

Ryan Ward (RW): "Daughter of the Sun" is deeply personal to me. It draws from my upbringing with a father afflicted by Tourette Syndrome, who eventually drifted away from our family. The character Sonny in the film reflects my father's struggles with anger and isolation, while Hildie embodies my own journey of understanding and acceptance. It's a magic realist tale set against the backdrop of the 1970s, a period that resonates with the emotional textures of my father's youth and my own experiences growing up.

What were the primary challenges you faced during the production of "Daughter of the Sun"?

RW: Crafting a narrative that authentically portrays the complexities of disabilities while steering clear of stereotypes was paramount. Additionally, capturing the essence of the 1970s through analog filmmaking techniques posed creative challenges, but it was crucial for evoking the era's emotional and visual aesthetic.

What aspect of the film are you particularly proud of?

RW: I'm proud of how "Daughter of the Sun" embraces anachronism and subjective storytelling. It challenges contemporary cinematic trends by delving deep into characters' inner worlds through poetic narration, immersive cinematography, and a deliberate pace that invites viewers to engage emotionally and intellectually.

How did your upbringing and acting career influence your approach to filmmaking?

RW: My background in acting, particularly in immersive roles like Ash from "Evil Dead: The Musical," instilled in me a deep empathy for characters and their journeys. This perspective informs my directorial choices, emphasizing emotional authenticity and human connection.

What new projects are you exploring for the future?

RW: I'm currently immersed in "The Aquanaut and the Shipwreck," a new feature that continues to explore themes of resilience and personal transformation amidst unconventional settings. It's an exciting departure from my previous work, blending adventure and introspection.

How do you view the role of film festivals in your career?

RW: Film festivals provide invaluable platforms for showcasing unconventional narratives and sparking meaningful dialogues. The recognition and audience engagement garnered from festivals like Fantasia International Film Festival, where "Daughter of the Sun" won Best Canadian Film, are instrumental in propelling my work forward.

In what direction do you see the future of cinema evolving?

RW: I believe cinema's future lies in embracing diverse voices and narratives that challenge societal norms. As filmmakers, we have a responsibility to push boundaries, elevate underrepresented perspectives, and cultivate empathy through storytelling.

Which filmmakers do you admire and why?

RW: Directors like Joel Potrykus, Vincent Gallo, Gasper Noé, and Guy Maddin have influenced my artistic sensibilities with their daring approaches to narrative and visual storytelling. Their works inspire me to continually innovate and explore new artistic frontiers.

Are there recent films that have left a profound impact on you?

RW: Films like "Badlands," "Midnight Cowboy," and "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" resonate deeply with me for their emotional depth and stylistic audacity. These classics continue to influence my approach to storytelling and cinematic expression.


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