VFS Entertainment Business Management presents

Hungry Heart (2014)

It is 1926; Amaryllis is trapped by social constraints, a bitter father, and an impending loveless marriage. Attempting to find freedom she runs away and finds John, a local boy who is breaking his own father’s heart by sailing for Italy to study music. Amaryllis and John inspire each other to live the lives that they choose and to feed their hungers for connection.


“Hungry Heart” is based on the novel “The Magic Garden” written in 1927 by American author Gene Stratton-Porter. It was filmed in Vancouver, BC in the summer of 2013.

The story begins in 1926 when Amaryllis Minton and John Forrester each seek solace in the forest and bond through their determination to live lives of their own choosing. They reconnect five years later when each has forged their own career, and found resolution with their respective fathers.

Films made in 1926 were silent, and black and white. Live pianists would play in the cinemas, sitting under the theatre screen, watching the action happen above them.

By 1932 pre-recorded sound had joined images on the film reel to replace text dialogue cards, and colour was being hand-painted onto celluloid film frames. The sometimes-mismatched speeds of the hand-cranked film camera on set, and the hand-cranked cinema projector gave the films a jumpy, uneven effect.

“Hungry Heart” was captured with modern digital technology, but framed in 4:3 aspect ratio to mimic the boxed film frames. In post-production we hand-timed each scene segment to optimize the movement and dialogue, and give a slightly uneven effect.

We de-saturated the colour almost to black and white for the 1926 portion, and for the 1932 portion we brought in hints of green in the foliage, and pink highlights, where hand-tinting would have focused.

The source novel contains dramatic inner turmoil and charming dialogue from the two young lovers. We chose the convention of recorded dialogue rather than text cards to allow for complex conversation about self definition and social politics. We recorded location audio to measure synchronization and performances, however the entire dialogue track was recreated later in studio. The audio mix comprises clean dialogue, film projector, and original music.

Wardrobe, hair and makeup were all designed for eventual colour desaturation. Camera movement is minimal, and framing is traditional in the style of the story’s vintage.

The music was composed quickly; intuitively, to support the emotional flow of the story, and captured in a single session with a live piano and violin.

This short story uses modern technology to mimic the beginnings of filmmaking, and carries forward almost nine decades the relatable theme of young lovers struggling to find their way, and finding each other.


JOHN FORRESTER  Matthew Graham
MR. MINTON  Brad Wattum
TOM  Max Teichman


Producer, Story Marena Dix
Director, Story Editor, Producer Sara McIntyre
Producer Lori Lozinski
Writer Dawn Prato
Executive Producer Robyn Weiner

Director of Photography Sasha Popove
Editor, Colourist Jillian Cabernal
Sound Editor Karla Melendez
Original Music, Composer Andrée-Anne Gingras-Roy

1st Assistant Director Isaiah Sweigard
2nd Assistant Director Mark Anthony Hogan
Camera Operator Andres Castillo
Production Designer; Art Director Mackenzie Williamson
Costume Designer, Costumer Daniela Agosta
Hairstylist, Makeup Artist Clarissa Jorquera

Key Grip Bryce Bokenfohr
Grip Daniela Flor
Script Supervisor Joel Malamu
Sound Mixer, Boom Operator Alastair Leong
Digital Imaging Technician Jorelle Miranda
Production Assistant Lulu Pan

Thanks to

Jocelyn Spencer Mills, Peter Marshall, Angela Dix, Jessica Leigh Clark-Bijon, Hyûma Franköwski, Sara Vickruck, Jacob McIntyre, Greg McIntyre, Emily McIntyre, Darren Borrowman, William F. White: Lisa Jeffries, Goorin Hats: Matt Clayden & Shani Nicole Bates, Sweet Lulu’s Costumes: Alli, Costume Bank: Rene

With Support From

Meet writer Dawn Prato, director Sara McIntyre, and producer Marena Dix, who tell how “The Magic Garden” became a film: