Natalie Baird

Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying (2024)

Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying / Que le soleil jamais ne voie briller tes larmes

A film by Natalie Baird and Toby Gillies
Produced by Alicia Smith
National Film Board of Canada production
Set to release in Spring 2024


Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying is a short meditation on love, grief, and imagination. The hand-drawn animated documentary was created through a collaboration between mother, elder and narrator Edith Almadi and filmmakers Natalie Baird and Toby Gillies. This poetic piece celebrates life and the transformative ability of art to elevate and transcend us. Through vivid drawings and Edith’s simple yet magical words, the film explores our enduring bond with loved ones who have passed. In honouring her son’s life within the cosmos, Edith’s artworks embody colours, shapes and metaphors that remind us of the timeless power of love, gravity, and grace until our final breaths.

Still from an interview with Edith in her personal care home (2019)

Directors Statement 

Since 2014, we have led an art program at Misericordia Health Centre, a personal-care home in our neighbourhood. The program is a way to tell stories and connect with residents while nurturing the development of expressive and personal visual styles. This is where we met Edith Almadi. The film has grown out of many years of conversations with Edith, homing in on the parts of her story that we share. The animations are an expression of our combined imaginations, incorporating imagery from our minds, Edith’s words and the drawings we’ve made together.

Our approach has always been to show Edith her drawings as starting points for conversation and stories. Our initial motivation for interviewing Edith was to save memories for ourselves; we find the way she speaks fascinating and poetic. Since her son’s death, her artworks have taken on different meanings. Through her drawings, Edith is able to access memories of her late son and is carried away by imagining a reunion with him. Her words and reflections seamlessly balance life/death, imagination/reality and grief/joy, inviting us to contemplate these ever-present dualities.

As a young adult, Natalie spent time caring for her dad and visiting him at his personal-care home, where he lived with Parkinson’s and dementia until he died. Facilitating art making at Misericordia has allowed us to meaningfully connect with many people in their last stages of life. As directors, this film gives us the opportunity to share this one particular experience of intimacy found through collaborative art making.

Natalie and Toby interviewing Edith at her ground floor window (2020)