FLB: I know you are a musician (harpist?). How does that training help your filmmaking? What music do you listen to and how involved are you in picking the score for your films?
DE: I think that my background as a musician gives me a strong sense of pacing. This has certainly helped me in the editing room. I often edit my own films and I usually cut to music - either temp tracks or original score. And when I write, I usually prepare long playlists for each project - to evoke the mood of the story. So music is an important element to me at every stage of filmmaking.
FLB: When did you first know you wanted to make films? What is your training?
DE: I came to filmmaking later in life - after earning a history degree and after a career as a musician. I did not grow up around filmmaking and so it took me a while to stumble upon this career and to discover that it was what I was meant to do all along. I started my training at a quirky little film co-op called The Winnipeg Film Group. Then, while making my own independent shorts, I went onto more advanced training at the National Screen Institute. And, finally, I trained at Canada's top film school -- the Canadian Film Centre in Toronto.
FLB: We share an interest in dark retellings of classic fairy tales. What do these tales mean to you? You’ve based work on Hansel and Gretel, Red Riding Hood and The Snow Queen (as well as Bluebeard in The Singing Bones). What do these specific tales represent for you? What other tales are important in your life? Who introduced you to these stories?
DE: My mother read fairy tales to me and encouraged me to be an avid reader. So I have her to thank. She has always liked ghost stories, too, so I grew up hearing a lot of fabulous scary tales. But what I love about retelling fables is the power of layered meaning that becomes possible when a story is ancient and well-known. The audience is already familiar with the characters, with the plot, so you have a shorthand for communicating ideas. You can draw attention to important themes in a powerful way. And I love to take a story where the moral is all about a woman's need to conform - to turn that upside down - and make it about empowerment.