Threnody is a really weird looking word. It’s meaning however, is rather poetic. It is a lamenting song for the dead.
It is also the title of David-Matthew Barnes’ new film.
“A lot of people are like, ‘What is it called?’ It definitely looks weird, but I fell in love with a Dorothy Parker poem from the 1920s called Threnody. She compared a song of death to the end of the relationship,” Barnes said.
A fitting title, then, for a film about a young girl, Dana, played by Caroline Barry, who gets wrapped up in a tumultuous relationship.
“It is really about the fragility of young lives and how easy it is to lose yourself and not realize how it happened so quickly. Dana gets isolated from everything she knows and everyone she knows. At the heart of it is a young girl who is forced to find strength within herself,” Barnes’ said.
The film is based on a one-act play Barnes wrote back in 1996.
“I lost many friends to drug abuse when I was a much younger person. You do try to make sense of their deaths and you can’t because it was about choice and consequences,” Barnes said.
That is something that Barry had a little difficulty grasping as she started exploring her character Dana.
“I couldn’t understand Dana. Why would she stay with this person? It really took exploration of people’s main desires and what they value most. My idea with acting is that every character has this overwhelming humanity and you can understand where they’re coming from,” Barry said.
Like Threnody, Barnes’ other films revolve around strong female characters. His first film, Frozen Stars starred Lana Parrilla, now Regina Mills on ABC’s Once Upon a Time.
He also shot a documentary about an all female hip-hop group called Why So Fly. Shortly after production however, Barnes got a call that the band broke up.
Unlike Why So Fly, Threnody is what Barnes refers to as his, “stars aligned project.”
Barnes had been told to turn Threnody into a film for years. It finally became a now or never project when he got a great director of photography and cameraperson. The cast, including Barry and Santiago Charboneau who plays Jake, Dana’s love interest, were amazing finds.
“It’s a fantastic group of people working together and we didn’t really know each other. It’s sort of like we were all starting from scratch. I was really happy with the result, which you can’t always say with film,” Barnes said.
The film is currently being sent to multiple film festivals.
“We’re planning on taking it as far as it can go,” Barnes said.
Keep an eye out for Threnody and Made From Scratch Barnes’ next film coming soon. Both the films are done entirely in Colorado as Barnes and co-founder Nick A. Moreno have recently developed Fairground Cinefilms in Denver.
“I fell in love with Denver. I thought this was a really great place to write and be creative. Other places people are really competitive and people here are so willing to help,” Barnes said.