Me-Lee Hay

Me-Lee Hay

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Heretic is an unusual autobiographical feature length documentary that lifts the lid on the mysterious life of New Zealand artist Christina Conrad (known as Conrad) - painter, poet, sculptor & film-maker - whose life-long struggle with convention reminds us of our own personal dramas and hidden strengths.

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Conrad has been called New Zealand's greatest living artist. She is certainly it's greatest eccentric. She lived as a recluse for twenty years without electricity or running water, where she "kept her paintings in cupboards instead of food". Her work is disarmingly original and not easily pigeon-holed, nor does the term "outsider" sit easily with her, suggesting as it does someone who is untrained.

The soundtrack reflects tones of bittersweetness and dark contemplation using small chamber style strings with overtones of wine glasses, piano and the occasional harp to create a wistful and at times cathartic sonic world as the score follows the artist's journey through life, at times jubilant and at othertimes times deeply sorrowful.

Hay is an Associate Representative of the Australian Music Centre, the Vice President of the Australian Guild of Screen Composers and is a female composer of Chinese-Malaysian decent.

Hay recorded the soundtrack during Covid lockdown, multi tracking violin 1 and 2, two violas and at times two cellos which presented with many challenges in the mix to achieve a cohesiveness that a normal live ensemble would achieve when playing in synchrony. Much credit is given to Emmy award nominee mixer, Evan McHugh for achieving this.

Hay recorded at her personal studio in Katoomba, Blue Mountains where she experimented with multi-tracking using different mic placement, pre-amps and microphones to achieve a lush violin 1 and violin 2 string orchestra section sound with just one player.

“I wrote this soundtrack with clear intention to have the cello as a focal point. Being an intermediate to advanced cello student myself” (Hay passed her C.Mus AMEB level exam during lockdown) “I was keen to really explore how the cello could speak for the film in so many different aspects of Conrad's life's journey.”

Heretic already screened to a full house Covid capacity audience in Sydney's Ritz Cinema in March 2021, and will be on the big screen again in Melbourne on May 26th at Lido Cinema, Hawthorne. It will be followed by a QnA session with the artist and director Conrad along with Hay.

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