SXSW 2012: Arts Education The Inspiration Behind 'Hunky Dory'
For director Marc Evans, filming “Hunky Dory” was like coming home. After thrillers, documentaries, and dramas, Evans says his new film is “very much informed by the memory of being a teenager, and how much music meant to me as a teenager.”
It’s also set in 1976, which was one of the hottest summers on record in Wales, where Evans grew up. The year is also significant because of the music at the time. Just before punk, the charts were still ruled by acts like ELO and David Bowie. Evans’ familiarity with the Langley Schools Music Project helped inform his story, about an idealistic drama teacher who helps students understand Shakespeare by setting his play “The Tempest” to the sounds of the day.
“Everybody remembers a teacher like Viv [played by Minnie Driver in the film],” says Evans. “…and your high school experience is indelible.”
Driver, a musician herself, says playing the part of Viv was “magic.” With music all around, “Making this film is a really great example of what my version of living the dream [would be like].”
In the film, Viv faces opposition to her plans from teachers who either can’t understand her motives, or question the place of the arts at all in the student’s education. It’s a challenge that the cast and crew still see today, as arts programs are cut at schools in both America and England.
Actor Aneurin Barnard plays one of the lead teen roles in the film, and says that without the arts, he obviously wouldn’t be in the place where he is today. But regardless, he feels the arts influence countless other professions. “There’s a big percentage of young people who are involved in arts in school, and don’t necessarily go into the arts when they leave--but it opens up their imagination.”