Emma: Amy, you are fascinated with death. In your press kit for THE EDGE OF DREAMING you speak about how it started with the death of your mother and then continued when you had to face the possibility of your own death, as portrayed in 'Dreaming'. In the process of making these films you have researched death extensively and are now developing a new documentary to be set in a hospice.
What motivates your fascination with death? Are there specific answers that you are looking for, and are these answers about dying or about living?
Amy: Bertold Brecht said we need, as individuals, to learn about dying. Montaigne wrote his essays (and coined the term, essay) as writings grappling with his own death. Our consciousness is enormous, and expands out of time. But it is housed in this frail, time-limited body. How we can we not wrestle with these paradoxes?
Amy: Life becomes more precious to me. I have begun to believe that our greatest attribute as human beings is our capacity for appreciation. The filming is evolving to act as a mirror to people at a very tender point in their lives. They connect powerfully to each other, to their families, to the world around them. I, and my camera, am caught up and held in their connections.Read more
In the UK and Ireland, you can now watch Amy's film THE EDGE OF DREAMING online or download it to your computer.
In the Distrify player below, choose between the streaming rental for £2.99 and the download-to-own for £4.99.Read more
As you may know from watching THE EDGE OF DREAMING, Amy has been involved in a number of science documentaries.
Given she is probably too modest to mention this, I'll break the news here: STEM CELL REVOLUTIONS, a film made by Amy in close collaboration with scientist Clare Blackburn, just won the Vedere La Scienza Fesival in Milan, Italy.
Congratulations to Amy and Clare, and also to Cameron who made the beautiful animations!
Documentary makers often come from journalism: they are socially and politically engaged, and incredibly good at investigation – digging the dirt, winkling out false claims, getting behind spin and unearthing the facts. UK television has built a strong body of work based on this tradition. It fits in with our politics by debate and democratic ideals. It results in guidelines not to show our films to our subjects – that is seen as undermining impartiality.
But for those of us who see documentary as a dialogue with our subjects, as a mirror to reflect their lives or dreams or hopes, impartiality is not the right aim.Read more
HorseMen brings together two passions – horses and landscape and transformation. I guess that’s three passions.
I’ve had to find a new way of filming for this movie – to express the visceral power and sweat and texture of the horse. We’re moving onto 4K to do justice to the mountains of the Cairngorms and the wide waters of the Dee. But the most extraordinary privilege is being allowed to accompany the men and women who are taking their courage in both hands to find out how horses can help, or even demand, they grow into themselves.
Amy Hardie is a documentary director who graduated from the National Film and Television School in 1990 with the BP Expo prize for best student documentary (Kafi’s Story). Her debut feature The Edge of Dreaming was the first Scottish feature documentary selected for competition at IDFA in 2009. It screened in cinema slots on television such as POV, YLE, “La Lucarne’, Arte, VPRO, BBC, and is translated into 12 languages. After a science feature, Stem Cell Revolutions, Amy made the innovative Seven Songs for a Long Life, a documentary in Song, playing international festivals (including SXSW) and touring US.
Seven Songs for a Long Life
Amy's feature documentary which was filmed in the remarkable Strathcarron hospice over five years. It premiered at SXSW film festival in 2016 and was shown on PBS (POV) and BBC and a host of other international festivals and channels.
You can find out more how and where to watch the film, buy the DVD (home or educational versions) on the film's dedicated website.
"This incredibly moving documentary is all the more affecting because of the unsentimental way it’s told." Leslie Felperin The Guardian
"remarkable and hugely dignified" The Herald
Stem Cell Revolutions
Featuring beautiful hand-drawn animations and interviews with leading stem cell scientists, STEM CELL REVOLUTIONS charts the history and scientific evolution of stem cell research – from the earliest experiments that first revealed stem cells in the body, to leading current scientific and clinical developments. You can watch the whole film here.
"an elegant and deeply instructive piece of work, with wide potential for raising awareness of the promise and possibilities of stem cell science" Cell Stem Cell Magazine
The Edge of Dreaming
This is the trailer for Amy's acclaimed documentary film, THE EDGE OF DREAMING. (The DVD is available on Amazon.)
This review is from the Guth Gafa Film Festival in Ireland:
Amy Hardie’s powerful film Edge of Dreaming headlines the 5th Guth Gafa International Documentary Film Festival – it’s a remarkable story about premonition, family and the power and reach of the human mind. Festival director Neasa Ni Chianáin believes Hardie’s film sums up all we fear and admire in our own psyches.
“It’s a profoundly optimistic film, an illustration of the process that we all experience but few understand – the dream.”
“Apart from the fact that the film is beautifully shot and constructed there is a sense that Hardie has delivered to us a means of taming the dream. The edge she speaks of is the line between the conscious and the subconscious; madness and reason; this world and another. It’s a hugely empowering film and perfect to open Guth Gafa.”