One year ago, the majority of Australians cheered as their votes were used to legalise marriage equality in Australia. To coincide with this first anniversary, director, Sinéad McDevitt, has directed the music video, The Ocean, for Irish musician, Wallis Bird, whose awards include Best Irish Female Artist at the Meteor Ireland Music Awards.
The Ocean is a love letter to the global LGBTQ+ community. A story about lesbian love and the joyful triumph of love over fear, told through contemporary dance. The video stars choreographer and So You Think You Can Dance finalist, Yukino McHugh, and Sydney Dance Company trained artist, Olivia Kingston.
Like Bird, McDevitt is originally from Ireland. For the last decade, her career has interwoven directing, art direction and graphic design.
“My belief is that film has the power to cut through the barriers that divide us and shoot straight to the imagination,” she says of her work. “I love crafting finely-tuned, visually-oomphy stories with heart; short films and commercials that infuse a pared-back design aesthetic into the DNA of the world I’m bringing to life. Whatever the story, I want it to make your eyes pop, insides go yeahhh and fingers tap replay.”
Last year, McDevitt was invited by TED Talks New York to executive produce its first-ever series of original short films for the TED2018 event and won one of eight places in the inaugural Australian Directors’ Guild Commercial and Content Directing Mentorship program, Gender Matters, for emerging female directors, earning a place with FINCH. This video was made as part of that placement.
It was produced by Bryce Lintern at FINCH, with visual effects provided by sister company, Nakatomi.
Wallis Bird commented, “We made The Ocean as a gift, in part, to our younger selves who struggled with our sexuality. Growing up in Ireland, we never saw same-sex love stories depicted on MTV and therefore never had access to powerful narratives that celebrated or represented the love stories that we could really relate to.
“We would love for this film to reach our LGBTQ+ family in the 72 countries where being gay is still illegal so we can try to shine a light on the darkness by giving a voice to the LGBTQ+ voiceless. In doing so, we’re showing that, while we’re divided by social, religious or cultural barriers, we’re all bound by our aspirations towards true love.”
McDevitt added, “When Wallis first mentioned The Ocean – a new devotional song to her partner Tracey – I prodded her on the inspiration behind it. ‘Looking at Tracey is like looking out on an ocean of planetary systems’, she mused. The image wouldn’t budge from my brain. I began to see the film play out in a mini-universe of magical realism; feeling both expansive and intimate. I felt there should be a gravitational pull of sorts, a dance between camera and lovers. Building in strength to a crescendo as their connection matures from fantasy into reality… darkness into light… fear into love.
“My hope is that The Ocean connects with a wide audience, maybe even cutting through opposition to same-sex relationships with the beauty of the lovers’ connection. Mostly, we’d love for our LGBTQ+ family and straight pals around the world to enjoy a celebration of lesbian intimacy onscreen – one that’s directed with a queer female gaze. Perhaps The Ocean can also be used as an antidote to any invisible fear or shame we carry around inside of us. The kind Hannah Gadbsy so brilliantly described in Nanette earlier this year.”
The Ocean made its debut on Wallis Bird’s social channels this December.