TROUBLING THE STILL WATERS OF DENIAL: Writer/Director Derek Hallquist’s Beautifully Crafted Telling of His Father’s Journey

denial-poster

By: Vernon Nickerson

Still waters run deep is a proverb of Latin origin now commonly taken to mean that a placid exterior hides a passionate or subtle nature.” (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

 

“Denial” Writer and Director Derek Hallquist’s exquisitely composed story of his parent Christine Hallquist’s (nee David Hallquist) life, is the ultimate 21st Century story of speaking truth to power.  The feature film is in part the story of one human being, Christine Hallquist’s (nee David Hallquist), confronting the national energy production industry as CEO of the Vermont Electric Collaborative. It remains to be seen whether an industry that has solely relied upon coal as an inefficient and environmentally toxic means to meet our world’s exponentially growing demand for electricity will ever embrace alternative, less toxic and more efficient sources of electricity.

While the optimist in me hopes that this film will be a wake-up call to climate change deniers. However, the cynical pragmatist in me says that there may just be too much money to be made by continuing to support the current fossil fuel status quo. Perhaps the best way for optimism to win the day is for everyone who reads this review to take someone they love to see this movie. The movie clocks in at a little over 90 minutes and will leave you hoping for one or more sequels. But I digress.

The other part of Denial is the deeper running “water” of David Hallquist’s decision to speak truth to the power of generations of societal transphobia and ignorance by undertaking a male-to-female transition while continuing to lead his familial and professional communities. But even this part of the story has a twist, specifically, there appear to be no dire consequences to David’s big reveal. Perhaps makes sense when one considers that Denial’s protagonist is caucasian and male and in an earned power position as CEO of an established energy company in Vermont. Even Christine’s prostate cancer diagnosis and subsequent testicular surgery and treatment are welcome events in her transition from male to female. Ironically, how Christine and her family deal with a cancer diagnosis– typically a traumatic denial ridden experience for most humans, is the only major issue addressed in the film where there is acceptance, acknowledgment, no anger and a total absence of denial.

It is a rare film that so eloquently illustrates the love, courage power and commitment of diverse communities that I longed for in 1997 when I created the following verse for a poetry slam in Minneapolis Minnesota.

COME IN AND CLOSE THE DOOR

SEGREGATION IS OKAY as long as everyone stays in the same room, INTEGRATION HAPPENS NATURALLY!

COME IN AND CLOSE THE DOOR!

Denial is that film. I strongly suggest that EVERYONE GO SEE IT! “Denial” had it’s premiere at the 2016 Los Angeles Film Festival with a very powerful debut.

For more information and to follow the film go here https://www.facebook.com/denialmovie/

 

2 thoughts on “TROUBLING THE STILL WATERS OF DENIAL: Writer/Director Derek Hallquist’s Beautifully Crafted Telling of His Father’s Journey

  1. Thank you, Vernon.

    Your observation that the “Denial’s protagonist is caucasian and male” is spot on. I do not want to minimize my struggles and those of everyone around me. This was clearly hard for everyone. I am now on the “other side”, and am deeply aware of the incredible bias and bigotry that we live with. I was on a mission to live my own truth. As a white male, I was not aware. It was something that existed somewhere else and I thought it would only be directed towards me when I began living my truth. Don’t get me wrong, I really appreciate the warmth and acceptance that I perceive today. However, I have just become aware of the adult bullying that is part of our dominant white male culture. That bullying can be overt, however it is most often subtle and veiled.

    Now that I have transitioned, it was if I had the curtains drawn on a picture window. I now see a vista that I did not know even existed. It is a vista of incredible beauty that is only paper thin.

    Christine Hallquist

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    • Dear Christine:

      Thank you. I was blown away by your eloquent response to my review. As you continue to take each day as it comes, the vista that now appears paper thin will have deep, rich and vibrant tones. Your eyes, that have been bombarded with so much negative energy, will recover depth of sight. I am excited for you as you continue with your own incredible journey. I want to share with you 2 pieces of wisdom that I always carry with me. Because the first piece was given to me*, I was able to create the second.

      Finally, Brethren

      Whatsoever things are TRUE

      Whatsoever things are HONEST

      Whatsoever things are JUST

      Whatsoever things are PURE

      Whatsoever things are LOVELY

      Whatsoever things are of GOOD REPORT

      If there be any VIRTUE and If there be any PRAISE

      Think on these things

      Those Things

      Which ye have both LEARNED and RECEIVED, and HEARD, and SEEN in me, do:

      AND the GOD OF PEACE SHALL BE WITH YOU.

      *(Philippians 4:8-9, King James Translation)

      ALL I EVER NEEDED WAS THE MUSIC AND THE MIRROR AND THE CHANCE TO DANCE WITH YOU

      Act 1

      Music: A blend of Form and Function with a Definite Purpose:

      TO BE HEARD – TRULY

      Mirror: To see my Reflection in you. That Reflection is different and the same – AT THE SAME TIME

      Dance: Movement. It is my desire to move in the same room with you. Sometimes touching, sometimes apart-

      BUT ALWAYS IN THE SAME ROOM

      (REPEAT AND MOVE ON…)

      Act 2

      Music: Hear my truth

      Mirror: I see your truth, you see my truth

      Dance: Movement because of the truth we see. Movement can always include stillness.

      (REPEAT AND MOVE ON…)

      Act 3

      Music: Hearing

      Mirror: Seeing

      Dance: Feeling and Acting

      (REPEAT AND MOVE ON…)

      Epilogue

      REPEAT ACTS 1 THROUGH 3!

      ©1997 VERNON P. NICKERSON

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