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Wild Things: Part 1

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Uploaded on Oct 5, 2009

More than 100 pediatric patients worked for over a year and a half to help make this short film based on Maurice Sendaks classic story Where The Wild Things Are.

The context of our film is of course the childs imagination. How do children deal with the boredom, pain, anxiety and fear that is so often associated with a hospital visit? Time and again patients showed us that despite being confined to a bed, they still traveled on imaginative journeys.

Using Where the Wild Things Are as the port of departure, we explored with children their imaginary travels outside the hospital. Their individual ideas and inspirations were then used to shape the film.

As you would imagine, patient conversations often centered around the things they missed most. At their direction, we brought visual images of their lives outside the hospital into the film. In this way the patients became the directors, and I the DP sent out to capture on film the places they go to in their imaginations while in the hospital beaches, parks, being outdoors, the holidays, the seasons.

Conversely, capturing aspects of the internal hospital life that had become banal took its own significant meaning. The hospital was more than just a place being filmed, it too became a central character in the film.

Darla plays the lead role of Max in the film which was shot over two long days. Sarah Bendix, our Actress-in-Residence, and I both worked to create an environment for Darla to try out various ways to communicate a moment, as well as take creative risks.

Jonathan Stein, our Visual Artist-in-Residence, worked with the patients throughout the year to create the props and set pieces that transform the hospital room for Maxs journey to and from the island. Using 19th Century animal lithographs as inspiration, patients invented scores of unique animal sculptures to serve as the films wild things.

After amassing a large number of creatures Lara Golan, our Musician-in-Residence, helped patients create the sounds of the Wild Things, recording specific sound effects for the creatures as well as music for poignant moments in the film that reflected the inner world of Max and her journey.

One of the greatest joys of making this film was the continual expansion of patient ideas, and the broadening scale and artistry the film took on as a result.

We had many late night discussions about the direction of the film, how to incorporate brilliant patient ideas and all the innumerable elements that needed to be harnessed. On one of those nights Sarah shared something rather profound with me there is the vision that the patients have for the film, and the vision the film has for itself, they will eventually meet. And they did.

Sandeep Sharma, Filmmaker-in-Residence
Childrens Memorial Hospital

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