Roger Bill's “Who Will Sing for Me” and Kenneth Harvey's “I Heard the Birch Tree Whisper,” winner of Best Feature Film at the Canadian Film Festival, were shown.
Bill’s film – as he described it, a rough cut or non-finished documentary – was shown at the Beothuk Interpretation Centre at Boyd's Cove as part of its public program.
The documentary centred on the creation of Gerald Squires’ life-sized bronze statue of Shanawdithit – widely believed to have been the last of the Beothuk – from the early stages of creation to final installation at the centre.
“I encountered (this creation) by accident, with Gerry working on this from the beginning,” said Bill. “I was so taken by the power of the experience and the vision he said he had. My curiosity was piqued. I wanted to see how it turned out.”
According to Squires’ daughter, Esther, “(Squires) was consumed by it to the point that he knew he needed to do something – to the point of having a guilty conscience of having to create something to say sorry and recognise these people.
“There was nobody left and he felt so badly, and it really tortured him. So, to have finished (the statue) must've been a great relief for him.”
Kenneth Harvey's screening of “I Heard the Birch Tree Whisper” started as different film, with the painting of a woman's portrait by Gerald.
“This direction changed when he (Gerald) found out he was dying.,” said Harvey. “Sickness often informs anything you are creating. It’s a big part of you.
“This story is more about his life, about dying, creating and losing the ability to create.”
Creating the film was a difficult process.
“We had a lot of teary moments, a lot of hugs and things like that. I miss Gerry too,” said Harvey.
Gail Squires, Gerald's wife, reflects on the sadness of his death.
“It was a slow process. We did not expect Gerry to die. He was too good to die.”
On Squires' creation, “nature spoke to Gerry, and they would speak to him, and that is how he interpreted it, through his paintings,” his wife said.
“He had that extra talent, where if it spoke to us, we are not able to create it,” added his daughter.