When the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture (KIAC) in Dawson City put out a call for a members’ exhibit with the theme of “The Age of Selfies,” local filmmaker Lulu Keating decided to submit a work about her recent hip replacement.
“Anger was part of my recovery from hip replacement,” said the former Nova Scotian. “We all go through anger, but as a society we don’t allow anyone to show it.”
By making a video about such an intensely personal subject, said Keating, she was able to turn what she felt was a negative into a positive.
Keating is not shy about putting her life on the screen for all to see. Her 1999 film The Moody Brood, an animated documentary that won numerous awards and wide acclaim, traces the lives of her and her 10 siblings from the 1940s to present day.
“I didn’t think anyone would be interested, but it ended up being the most critically acclaimed and awarded film,” she said. The take-away lesson here, said Keating, is that the personal is universal.
Since her early teens, Keating knew she wanted to be in the arts. During art school, she happened to take a media and film course, loved it, and has been making films ever since.
“I felt I had lots to say and insights to share,” she said.
After studying Media and Communications at Vancouver School of Art, and Motion Picture Studies at Ryerson University, Keating spent several years working through the Atlantic Filmmakers Cooperative during the eighties.
In 1985, she incorporated Red Snapper Films Ltd. (www.redsnapperfilms.ca) to produce her first film, a documentary about Canadian singing legend Rita MacNeil in Japan. In 1989, she made her first feature, The Midday Sun, shot in Zimbabwe; and in 2013, Keating made her second feature film, Lucille’s Ball.
All told, Keating has made approximately one film a year in her 30-year career span. Her work is predominantly independent dramas and documentaries, and she has also produced for the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), for CBC and for History Television.
Keating is currently travelling the world with her film Snake Hips Lulu, a refinement, she said, of the video she had submitted to the members’ exhibit at KIAC. After having just returned from Istanbul, Turkey, she is on her way to the International Images Film Festival for Women in Harare, Zimbabwe, and will later be going to the Sydney Underground Film Festival in Sydney, Australia; the Women over 50 Film Festival in London, England; the Charlottetown Film Festival in P.E.I.; and the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival in St. John’s Newfoundland.
“Going to a festival is a learning experience and profoundly informative,” said Keating. “It’s stimulating and feeds into artwork.”
Keating also teaches workshops at festivals, encouraging participants to use iPads, phones, still photos—anything to make it simple and get started with little to no budget.
While in Africa, Keating will be doing research for her first novel, Klondike Kalahari, a story that takes place in both South Africa and the Yukon. She has also just completed an animated short and is currently developing a feature documentary.