Touching Wild Horses
From the Director

An Interview with Director Eleanore Lindo
Q:  Can you tell us a little about yourself, where were you born and raised?
E: I was born and raised in Toronto.
Q: What made you choose to be a director and when did you make that decision?
E: I studied acting from the age of 13 years old and always knew that was what I wanted to do. I spent summers studying full time and went through high school and university almost constantly performing in plays. I worked professionally as an actress for a few years, mostly in theatre. I did perform in a couple of short films. I taught a couple of acting workshops and directed scenes for the workshops. I got into directing completely by accident. I got a job hosting a TV show and that led to interviewing and writing for documentaries. Soon I was directing documentaries and then music programs for television and finally, I got a chance to direct a couple of half-hour dramas. When I started directing, I was just doing it until I got an acting job. But soon I realized that I wasn't waiting for the acting job any more. I LOVED Directing!! So I quit my job at the television station and went to film school.
Q: Did you attend film school or classes in film making?
E: I did a Masters in Drama at the University of Toronto Graduate Centre for the Study of Drama. I studied acting for many years. I took some directing classes at a wonderful school--International Film Workshops in Rockport, Maine. And then finally I went to film school--I attended the American Film Institute's Center for Advanced Film Studies in Los Angeles. It was an amazing experience and I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to study at such a wonderful institution.
Q: Are you interested in any other divisions of the industry- writing, producing, acting?

I acted in the past, but haven't for a long time. I have developed film projects in the past as a producer and am involved in a couple of new projects. But I only do that to get the project to the stage where I can find a producer to take it over. I am a "Director". I might try my hand at writing. I have written in the past and have a book I want to option the rights to that I might try to adapt for the screen myself.

Q: How did you become involved with the film project Touching Wild Horses?
E: I have known the writer of Touching Wild Horses for many years. I cast him in a half-hour film in 1988, and he has been giving me scripts to read ever since. I loved this script and sent it to the producers who I had worked with on several different projects. They had producers in Germany who were looking for projects featuring children and animals to invest in. So it was good timing.
Q: What elements of Touching Wild Horses made you want to direct this film?
E: I responded to the characters and to the themes. I have always been attracted to psychologically complex stories. And I could FEEL the emotional sub-text. The grief and loss. I liked the fact that the story is about overcoming, healing. And the theme of nature as a spiritually healing force is one I have been attracted to.
Q: As the director of this film, what is your job from start to finish for Touching Wild Horses? (i,e. casting, location scouting, editing-director'etc.)

The job of director starts with working with the writer on the script. Then, working with the production manager and assistant director on the schedule and budget. Then, casting then, finding suitable locations, working with the Production Designer on the sets, working with the Director of Photography on the look and visual style for the film- working with a storyboard artist on shots and visual sequences.

As locations are found and the script is polished, changes continue to be made to the schedule. Finally, it is time to shoot. The director's job is to direct both the actors and the camera. On Touching Wild Horses there were the additional challenges of the locations and the horses. After the shoot, I work with the editor on the cut. On Horses, we edited for a few months. And then there's the sound post production--additional dialogue recording, music, sound effects, and the final sound mix. After the film was finished, I spent a year submitting it to film festivals, trying to get some attention for the film, to make sure it gets seen.

Did you as the director have any imput into what kind of music was used on the film?

E: The editor and I discussed music before the film was shot. When editing, we put what is called "temp" music on the sound track, to indicate the kind of music we think would work. That "temp" music is given to the composer, although I have discovered that the great composers hate working that way. I was extremely lucky on "Touching Wild Horses" to get to work with an amazing composer-Barrington Pheloung. He is from Australia but has lived in London, England, for many years. He was nominated for an Academy Award for the soundtrack for the film "Hillary and Jackie". I had a meeting with him called a "spotting session" where we go through the film and discuss where there should be music and what it should do in the scene. And then I went away while he composed for a month. When I went back to London to see him, he played all of the music he had written for the film. It was so amazingly perfect!! I got to be there for the recording session with his symphony orchestra, which was a real treat. And then sat with him while he mixed the music. It was then edited in to the overall sound mix.
Q: Did you have any say in the casting of the actors? Did they screen test or read for the part for you?
E: I cast all of the actors except Jane Seymour. Often in feature films where there are so many investors, the casting of the stars is done with distributor and financiers approval. So the final decision rests with the producers and financiers and not with the director. I was extremely lucky that Jane was so perfect for the part, as well as being appealing worldwide to the financiers. All of the rest of the cast, except Charles Martin Smith, auditioned for me.
Q: How did Jane Seymour get selected for the role after the originally cast actress Ann Archer bowed out at the last minute? Did you cast Jane yourself, how was she brought to your attention? Did you see the chemistry between Mark and Jane right away, or was it a gradual process?
E: The producers sent the script to Jane and she loved it and wanted to do it. There were not many actresses who where approved by all of the financiers--British, US, German, French and,who were also right for the part. The chemistry between Mark and Jane was obvious from the moment we started shooting.
Q: How closely as the director of the film did you work with the writer on set?
E: Most of my work with the writer is done before we get to set. Murray and I had worked on the script for over a year before we went into production. We worked very closely for the couple of months before we started to shoot. He was on set for quite a bit of the shooting. But I don't think we changed much of the script at that point.
Q: Do you have any favorite scenes from the film that touched you in any special way? What did you take away with you from this film experience?
E: My favourite scene is the scene where Fiona tells Mark her secret and a tear slowly falls down her cheek. "I gave my child away." Jane gave a wonderful performance and it touches me every time I see it.
Q: Was it a challenge as the director to "DIRECT" wild horses?
E: We had a wonderful wrangler--Lee Phillips and his wife Geri. They are both former rodeo champions from Calgary, Alberta. It was challenging to work with the horses. I had to figure out what the horses could do and adapt my plans to that, instead of the other way around. It was lots of fun. They did an amazing job with the foal.
Q: How long did it take you to film the movie, and where and when was the movie filmed?

The film was shot in 23 days at Sandbanks Provincial Park in Ontario. It's about 3 hours drive east of Toronto. We shot in October/November 2001.

Q: What would you like to see this film achieve?
E: The movie has achieved more than I hoped for already. It has won several awards at film festivals around the world. And it has touched so many people who have seen it.
I hope it will get a theatrical release in the US, or at least a good DVD/Video release

Eleanore    Back to home page

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Special thanks to Eleanore Lindo for taking the time to answer our questions and sharing her memories of the filming of Touching Wild Horses.