Filmmaker Sue Rowe: Showing Wings Of Courage To Showcase A Violent Issue

Filmmaker Sue Rowe
Filmmaker Sue Rowe


By:  Vernon Nickerson

Edited by: Colleen Page

Images by: Filmmaker Sue Rowe


The Art Of Monteque first met Filmmaker Sue Rowe during The 2016 Sundance Film Festival. She was absolutely charming and showed a profound passion for filmmaking, but little did we know at the time just how passionate about social issues she was.  Filmmaker Sue Rowe,  is a dramatic actress with depth and strength. Her exotic classic look has led her to be cast in award winning period and modern day projects. Her passion for acting has led her to create in depth characters by thoroughly studying her role and paying attention to detail to generate a unique character that is full of life. Filmmaker Sue Rowe is truly a well-rounded artist in front of the camera and behind. To understand the process of filmmaking as an actor, she learned to Write, Direct, Produce, and Edit. Her projects have won awards as best short and were well received on the  Film Festivals Circuit. Her  new short film “White Wings” about domestic violence in the 1920s will began the festival route march 2016 and she will be producing her first feature film in 2016 to 2017. The Art of Monteque had a chance to sit with the filmmaker as she got ready to to debut her short film “White Wings” at  The 2016  LDS Festival March 3rd at 5pm. The film was also accepted in the Short Film Corner at 2016 Cannes Film Festival.

The Art of Monteque:  Good afternoon. Thank you for taking the time to discuss your film project and soon-to-be-feature length film, “White Wings”.  What led you to set this story in 1927?

Sue Rowe: 1927 is when the film era had a shift- women began appearing in films and the first talkies were being produced. So, it was a time when women were beginning to follow their dreams.

TAOM: What do you hope is the message to women? To men?

SR:  I hope the message to women and to men is to allow yourself to be strong and live your dreams. Often women don’t realize their dreams, especially when they are stuck in abusive relationships. Such relationships are not just focused on physical abuse. Violence can also be perpetrated by speaking to and treating a person with disrespectful, demeaning, and bullying behaviors and/or language without leaving visible cuts and bruises.  Also the message is “it’s our time to shine.” This message is true for men also.  My hope is that perpetrators of domestic violence will engage in some soul searching to find out why they are abusive, bullying, etc.

TAOM: By the way, the Emily Dickinson quote from her poem, “After great pain, a formal feeling comes”, powerfully anchors your story.

SR:  Thank you. I encountered the line “First – Chill – the Stupor – then the letting go” – inscribed around a bar in Maine. Another line inscribed on the bar that I didn’t use, but that I think anyone who has experienced any kind of abuse can relate to is:
The Feet, mechanical, go round –
A Wooden way

TAOM: Will there be a companion teacher’s guide so that film can be shown to school-age audiences?

SR:  I have not yet produced a guide, however this has been on my mind because there are lots and lots of non-profit organizations out there would could use this to educate the public about domestic violence. I think the material is most suitable for 13-14 year olds and up.

TAOM: As a parent, how do you, will you educate, and inoculate your children about domestic violence?

SR:  Basically, I have kept my 14 and 18 year old daughters updated on why I am making the film. Hopefully, I try to remind them how important it is to follow their dreams. This is especially true for girls in our (American) culture. The girls have consistently been supportive of my doing this project, and I really appreciate them for that support.

TAOM: Kudos for being selected for the LDS Film Festival. Besides showcasing White Wing, what is the LDS denomination doing to raise awareness about domestic violence prevention and intervention?

SR:  I know they have different programs and help groups that they send people to. White Wings uses the power of cinema to inspire and educate so hopefully more people will seek out and benefit from these (domestic violence prevention and intervention) programs.

TAOM: Your sibling happens to be a  domestic violence survivor. What does she think about the film?

SR:  Well the film makes her kind of comfortable because she is still healing even though it is some years past her own journey of finding the courage and strength within herself to leave an abusive relationship.  Reading the feature length script brings up issues for her, nevertheless, she believes that “White Wings” can help other women to find the strength to leave abusive relationships.

TAOM: What does this project and being an artist mean to you?

SR:  Spoiler alert- The core meaning of White Wings is that “birds are meant to fly.” Being an artist, I have the ability to great things with my art. This ability is the source of my creativity, passion and joy. My intention is always to make a tremendous positive difference in the world with my art.

TAOM: How will your Sue Rowe Studios  and Performing Arts Academy address domestic violence with its students?

SR:  At the Academy, we stress the concept of ‘wholeness of self” as the source of everything they do. We use The Artist’s Way book, are you familiar with that?

TAOM: Yes! That’s great stuff……. How do you see yourself evolving as an artist in the next 5 years? The next 10 years?

SR:  Well, I am hoping that I can get into feature films. I want to continue doing projects that have meaning and get messages out to the masses that hopefully inform, educate and always inspire.

TAOM: Thanks again for your time. Much success with “White Wings” and all your projects to come.  Any closing thoughts for our audience?

SR:  I know that the visual arts and film medium is the greatest way to reach people.  (So), never give up on your dreams and don’t let somebody else tell you the life they think you should live. Live, love life and enjoy the journey![TAOM]

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