The Legend of Sing Hey
A Hard Femme Films Production
Dir. Becca Redden (2017)
Featuring: Janice Jo Lee, El Jones, Alysha Brilla, Kai Cheng Thom, Redd, Jamaal Jackson Rogers, King Kimbit, Rafay Ansari, Andre Fenton, Zainab Mahdi, Shawn Johnston, Malek Yalaoui, Lydia Mainville
We are making a film! It’s a documentary-musical and we can’t wait for you to be a part of it, and to affirm our stories as artists, as a community, on the big screen! -Janice and Becca
Centuries ago, on a rural fishing island in South Korea, a little voice began to grow. As generations passed, the voice grew stronger and was passed down, but was not released. Through years of diaspora, environmental changes, and the emergence of the various oppressions that we know today, the voice was kept inside waiting to be unleashed onto the world at the right moment. This voice’s name was Sing Hey.
As the voice continued down the bloodline, passed from holder to holder, was born into the throat and the namesake of Janice Sing Hey Lee. Janice Lee is a musician, songwriter, community activist, and joyful spirit living in Kitchener, Ontario. Far from the ocean that her family fished on, she raises her sister by herself and dedicates her life to art and social change. Within her skin, she holds the legend of Sing Hey.
This story follows Lee, her sister, and her friends from Ontario to the East Coast playing shows, sharing music, and rediscovering what home means by leaving it. Peppering the narrative is the voice of fictional Sing Hey, the prophecy trying to be released through a number music and poetry numbers, living a powerful, alternate life of kicking down oppressors through screaming emotions.
As they talk to other activists/artists, explore identity, and travel back home, Sung Hae begins to bleed into Janice’s life in this intertwining of truth and the fictional expression of what we always wanted to say to the world but wouldn’t dare.
The Legend of Sing Hey is a story that connects family, identity and community with history and ancestral roots through performance, music, and celebration of spirit.
Why are we making this film?
- To find out if we are the children of prophecies, the legends we have been waiting for. To give homage to the ancestors who have waited for us to change the world.
- To center stories of marginalized artists. Taking back space for artists of colour and queer/trans artists. Femmes to the front!
- To celebrate our communities. From KW to Halifax, the local yokels are holding it down. Come see.
- And because this work is really fun. We love music, we love film, it’s a DOCUMUSICAL.
When and how
We are still in production! Although the first half of our filming took place over the month of August on Janice’s East Coast Tour, we still need to film music videos (wanna be an extra?) and interviews, draw animations and edit edit! Filming will continue into December, with post-production beginning in February. We aim to have the film complete by Spring 2017 to premiere at Rainbow Reels Queer and Trans Film Festival in Waterloo.
Why we need you
To create hype!
In the industry, films are funded by producers or studios to help make projects a reality. As we are emerging artists, we lack the connections for that sort of contract. However, we are not short of community connections. Our hearts are in the local scene and we are more concerned with personal impact than box office hits. Since this film is all about ideas of community, relationships and home, we want our community members to own a piece of this film.
We are being ambitious! Our total film budget is under $20 000. We have half a dozen grants in the works, alongside initial small grants from WPIRG and LSPIRG which helped us cover costs during the first leg of shooting. From the community, we are seeking to raise $2000, which is 10% of our budget. This will go towards booking spaces for the last scenes and paying local artists for their interview time.
We appreciate whatever you can donate or whatever you can do to spread the word of this project!
Cast & Crew
Janice Jo Lee – Co-Producer, Composer, Subject
Janice Jo Lee is a musician-poet-theatre artist from Kitchener. With her guitar, trumpet, looping pedal and powerful vocals, Lee enlivens audiences with sing-along anthems and bluesy folk songs. On stage she is disarmingly hilarious, off-the-cuff and fearlessly honest. She has composed and released three studio albums, has written and directed a full-length musical, and has toured across Canada.
Janice plays herself in this endearing documusical. The audience follows her on tour as she talks about her opinions on life, family, community, and oppression and rediscovers meaning in those things on this journey
She also plays Sung Hae, her alter-ego, who is a mythologized feminine power who helps explore Janice’s identity breaking through to release her true power. Sung Hae is a hard-hitting, in-your-face character who feels so passionately it could swallow worlds.
Becca Redden is an emerging filmmaker with a lens pointed to social and environmental justice. Redden received the People’s Choice Award for her short “Crowned?” at the Rainbow Reels Queer Film Festival, in Waterloo Canada. She is currently in post-production for “Project Uprooted”, a feature documentary presenting views on activism and social justice from youth under 19 across Canada, and facilitates youth filmmaking workshops to continue that mission. Becca is (most of the time) the lens of “The Legend of Sing Hey”, her presence known in the not-subtle background jokes and sing-a-longs.
Katherine Lee – Sound intern, Show intern, subject
Katherine Lee is a grade 11 student at KCI in Kitchener. She is the long time intern and full time sister of Janice Jo Lee. The East coast tour was also her vacation, so Katherine’s role in the film involves her thoughts and feelings on family, community, identity, and also aquariums, swimming, and vacation hotspots.