Based in Winnipeg and well-known within as well as outside of Canada, Esterhazy has directed over a dozen films and television programs. Fairytales aren't new territory for her, though, having made the short films, The Snow Queen, a retelling of the Hans Christian Andersen story, and The Red Hood, a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood (also by the Brothers Grimm), and setting them both in the Canadian Prairies. She made her feature film directorial debut with historical drama Black Field which premiered at the Vancouver International Film Festival in 2009.
Red Czarina is the production company for H & G, founded in 2012 by Esterhazy, Rebecca Sandulak, Ashley Hirt, and Rebecca Gibson, who co-wrote H & G with Esterhazy. Watch a video feature on the production of H & G.
In a recent interview, we discussed her new film, working outside of film industry centers in Canada, and how she creates a tone on her film set.
DE: I think that I am fascinated by fairytales because I loved them so much as a child yet I find them so frustrating as an adult. The portrayal of girls and women in traditional fairytales is so negative and yet the lure of the stories remains strong for so many of us. I enjoy taking the elements of traditional fairytales and reworking them.
Why did you think that H & G was an important story to tell?
DE: The original fairytale of Hansel and Gretel deals with serious issues: child poverty, child neglect, and child murder. Unfortunately, these are issues that are still important concerns for modern society. These are topics worth exploring.