June 9, 2020

Telling Personal Stories – Samantha Bryan on “Departed Bonds”

A still from Samantha Bryan's "Departed Bonds" of a family photo frame
A still from “Departed Bonds”

Samantha Bryan graduated from York University’s Film Production program in 2019. In her final year of study, she wrote and directed Departed Bonds, a deeply personal documentary short film about her mother.

Departed Bonds is now available in the YorkFlix library. We interviewed Samantha about her experience creating the film.

Samantha Bryan
Samantha Bryan

What inspired you to make Departed Bonds?
Film has always been an effective way of expressing myself in ways that words can’t, especially with a topic that hits close to home for many people having a dissociated parent, I’ve always felt that filmmaking is sort of like therapy for me. So, while I was going through an incredibly personal time in my life where I felt as if there was no other way to express how I was truly feeling, film was the perfect outlet where I can come to terms with what I was going through and thus inspiring me to tell my story.

What was a creative breakthrough or challenge you overcame?
One of the challenges I had to overcome was being extremely vulnerable in front of peers and strangers while telling my deeply personal story. Many times I thought of just abandoning the project because I wasn’t 100% sure I wanted everyone to know what I was going through. But I am very happy to say that I did not give up on this story because if anyone could watch my film and relate to what I had to go through, then I could let others know that they aren’t alone.
Is there anyone from your film crew that you want to collaborate with again and why?
I worked solely on this documentary with a very close friend of mine, my editor Tirath K. Sandhu. She is extremely talented and gave us the award for Best Editing and I couldn’t be more proud and grateful for her work on this documentary. Not only was she able to create an emotional journey, she pushed me when I was struggling to get deeper into the grips of the story because she knew there was so much we could do. But Tirath was also very sensitive to the subject and to me and always had the best intentions out of the project. I would collaborate with her again and again.
What advice or tips about resources can you give to York student filmmakers to make the most of their university film experience?
I would advise to not be afraid to delve deep and make those gritty stories that hit close to home. I believe that some of the best stories out there are ones that are made by people who have gone through it themselves. Also, I’d advise to get on as many sets as possible and do different roles. You may find that initially you might want to be a producer but then discover that art direction is your passion. Try new roles, get lots of experience and have lots of fun meeting new people.

CLICK HERE to watch Departed Bonds on YorkFlix