The Room at the RPL Film Theatre

•March 6, 2012 • Leave a Comment

The cult film festival at the RPL Theatre culminated in a crazed spoon throwing performance of The Room (USA, Tommy Wiseau, 99 min) introduced by Dr. Ernest Mathijs. Thanks to Christina Stojanova and The U of Regina Film Department for inviting Dr. Mathijis.

 

 

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Rip a Remix Manifesto at Cinema Politica Saskatoon

•February 22, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Upcoming Screening by Cinema Politica Saskatoon

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Rip: A Remix Manifesto
Tuesday, February 21st,
Screening – 7 P.M.
PAVED Arts – 424 20th Street Saskatoon

Panel Discussion:   Priscilla Settee (Traditional Indigenous Knowledge vs. biopiracy)
David Lariviere (copyright vs. copyleft in the visual arts)
Others TBA

In RiP: A remix manifesto, Web activist and filmmaker Brett Gaylor explores issues of copyright in the information age, mashing up the media landscape of the 20th century and shattering the wall between users and producers. The film’s central protagonist is Girl Talk, a mash-up musician topping the charts with his sample-based songs. But is Girl Talk a paragon of people power or the Pied Piper of piracy? Creative Commons founder, Lawrence Lessig, Brazil’s Minister of Culture Gilberto Gil and pop culture critic Cory Doctorow are also along for the ride. A participatory media experiment, from day one, Brett shares his raw footage at opensourcecinema.org, for anyone to remix. This movie-as-mash-up method allows these remixes to become an integral part of the film.

from http://www.pavedarts.ca/2012/rip-a-remix-manifesto-screening/

“Cinema Politica Saskatoon is the formalizing of a 10-year political education project which has included dozens of film screenings and which has taken on a number of forms over those years.  During the winter months Cinema Politica will be collaborating with local campus-based organization, Mobilization for Global Justice to screen films and during the summer months with Turning the Tide bookstore to continue the tradition of Car-less Drive-in screenings in the parking lot of the bookstore where community members are invited to bring a lawn chair and watch documentaries under the stars.  Part of the goal of Cinema Politica Saskatoon is to not only screen documentaries to the public as passive participants but to recruit and train new political film enthusiasts and train them in the basics of organizing screenings themselves. We hope that this model will see the proliferation of screenings in our community and the education of community members beyond the usual circles of regular attendees of these types of screenings. We look forward to a long and mutually-beneficial relationship with this important network of grassroots film collectives.”

Future Screenings:

Tuesday Mar 13 7:00 pm
H2Oil
Walsh, Shannon / CA / 2009 / 72 min

From http://www.cinemapolitica.org/saskatoon … visit them for upcoming screenings.

Embrace by Amalie Atkins

•January 26, 2012 • 1 Comment

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EMBRACE
Amalie Atkins
December 9th – 16th, 2011

This past December, a very special, subtle and intimate performance/film work was presented in Saskatoon. Amalie Atkins’ Embrace was a site specific video installation on 20th Street in the core neighbourhood of westside Saskatoon. Atkins is a Saskatchewan based filmmaker and photography based artist who works with very gentle portrayals of a kind of prairie magic realism soaked in fairytale and handcrafted elegance. Embrace is a short film loop of a pair of Canadian-Austrian twin sisters in the 70’s who partake in a simple yet symbolic ritual of sisterly devotion. At a certain point during the piece, Atkins and her own sister (Tanjalee Kuhl) performed an analogous ritual on the street near the window projection, providing a companion piece to the cinematic event. The twinning of real world action and cinematic action is intensified by the age of the participants (one generation passing a gesture to another) as well as the vividness of their costumes and the purposeful intensity of their motions.

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The window projection at 210 20th Street West is a gesture for the community, as 20th street gentrifies and the impact of the arts is inevitably felt more and more in that particular neighbourhood. The parking lot across the street, where film goers were plied with hot chocolate and encouraged to make the space into a provisonal drive in, was also the site of the infamous Barry hotel. The Barry was a dive bar and down on its luck hotel with a population at the margins of society. 20th street’s reputation as seedy strip jutting off of downtown Saskatoon is slowly giving way to numerous arts organizations including the headquarters of the Saskatoon Symphony, La Troupe du Jour, AKA Gallery and PAVED Arts (the commissioning organization for this particular work). Perhaps Atkins work alludes to this changing history or perhaps not, the subtle spectacle that she creates is one of a kind of homestead like familiarity with kin, a world of gentle but meaningful gestures and flare of aesthetic intensity that sits perfectly at the intersection of film, art, design and community.

Fragile Harvest

•December 5, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Poster (C)2011 Saskatchewan Filmpool : credit: Tricia Martin


CineflyerSask presents the text from the program for Fragile Harvest, a screening curated by Gerald Saul.
For more information on the Film Farm visit their website – Independent Imaging Retreat

Since 1994, Ontario filmmaker Phil Hoffman has been hosting filmmaker retreats at his farm near the town of Mount Forest where each year a dozen or so artists and filmmakers converge to drink in the cool well water, share communal meals, and run a few hundred feet through their cameras. Films created during this week tend towards the highly personal, as these participants throw off their urban armor and run wildly down a gravel road of self discovery. I knew of the these films before I knew of the Independent Imaging Retreat itself. In my viewing of hundreds of experimental films during my MFA research, I began to see patterns and themes arise. I was very excited about these fresh personal stories and their hand-made approach, but the source of influence was not yet clear. All I knew was that a new aesthetic was taking shape and having a significant impact on the national avant garde movement.

One may easily suggest that there is something about going to a farm, away from the noise of the city, away from the continuous interaction with computers and phones and schedules, that brings out stories in people. Perhaps the open air is a vacuum, drawing your words and thoughts from us, forcing us to share them with the world. Perhaps this is true, at least for big city dwellers, but from someone who has spent sufficient hours standing amid blowing fields of grain, wandering past decrepit wooden farm structures, and climbing over inconveniently placed barbed wire fences, my intuition makes me doubt this analogy.

I would suggest that it is not solely Phil Hoffman’s farm which inspires the nature of work created there, but it is Phil himself who is the key. I attended the “imaging retreat” (or “film farm” as we all called it) in 2002. Margaret and William (age 10 months) came with me as my perpetual muses, but home is always left behind when one reaches the Hoffman farm. It is certainly quiet and peaceful, but that can be said for any of a million other hunks of land in this country. More significantly, it is welcoming. This is almost entirely to the credit of Phil and his hand-picked team of workshop leaders, like life coaches who can load Bolexes. Each participant is treated as an invited guest, never like a paying consumer. In turn, every one of them seems inclined to reciprocate by embracing all of the hosts and attending filmmakers with warmth and respect.

Central to the film farm is the barn which houses darkrooms to develop film, open spaces to hang film to dry, screening areas, and relaxation spots to talk, think, or read. No modern complex could be as versatile or accommodating. The so-called enemies of filmmaking; dust, wind, light leaks, and noise, are all acceptable commodities in this environment. To fight the flaws is to fight again nature itself. To accept nature as an external force helps to open the door to express your inner nature (while being a vegan and utilizing meditation crystals remains strictly optional).

After a week of getting your hands dirty, you emerge with the raw materials of a film. This is more than just images on emulsion, it is ideas and inspirations. The direct process of creating, contemplating, exhibiting, and critiquing, is crucial to the film retreat. You find yourself able to respond to comments, rework the project multiple times, and shape it into something you can truly be proud of.

The films created at the film farm deny the necessity of the film industry infrastructure by allowing a single filmmaker to personally control a maximum number of technical processes. Since the early nineties when the retreats began, the 16mm form has been in rapid decline. Laboratories have been reducing the number of services available; optical sound tracks, reversal processing, work printing, negative cutting, and answer printing are all considered too specialized for most labs to even consider offering anymore. Making at least some of these techniques part of the filmmaker’s tool belt not only ensures some continuation of the art form, it also empowers those filmmakers, making them more confident to continue working with this, or any other media form. But there remains a precarious balance for pure film artists. As much as they desire to separate themselves from industry, they remain tethered to it through certain manufactured items. Most notably, Kodak has become the only supplier on this continent for black and white film stock. They continuously change and remove stocks from their inventory as they become less profitable to market. When this supply- line is severed, so too will the ability for filmmakers to practice this art. Furthermore, it has been over five years since the last
16mm projector came off the assembly line, and in the past year, the very last film cameras have been built with none of the key companies intending to return to that market. The art of celluloid filmmaking survives at the whim of tinkerers who may or may not be able to keep the existing equipment functioning.

Creating under this shadow, it is no wonder that the filmmakers become philosophical and introspective when using it. With every roll shot, one finds him or herself asking “is this the last time I do this?”. The comparison between “film-farm” filmmakers and “farm-farm” farmers begs to be made. Not only is sustainability an issue, but the process also has parallels. Images need to be carefully cultivated, gathered, processed, and delivered to the hungry consumer. The final product never reflects how much personal investment was put into it; the time and sweat and pain. Farmers and filmmakers, each working in their fields, isolated, driven by single-minded passion certainly must live in hope that what they are doing is good and necessary and that recognition will eventually come. The belief that the outcome has value must outweigh the futility that comes with being aware of the inevitable demise of this way of working.

The films I selected for this screening are some of the more recent works to emerge from the farm, most of which are by filmmakers I was previously unfamiliar. They each feel like they are walking a delicate line, the elements and the content both fragile, as the filmmaker struggles with mortality on some level. The cycle of the seasons is always apparent, illuminating both the nature of film as art as well as life itself. Within each, either spoke or unspoken, you can sense the Hoffman’s subtle hand urging the filmmaker to be brave, to reach deep within themselves, to work beyond the pain and harvest moments of truth.


Goodbye – 3.5 min., by Daniel McIntyre
(2011)  
McIntyre has created a montage of images, some positive and others negative, which waft over us like the a perfume, surrounding you without touching you. The blending between positive and negative, from people to animals, from water to air, all act to evoke a semi-waking, dreamlike state; the pleasure of the inexplicable. The title seems to suggest an ending or departure as perhaps the viewer is led into a dream from which there is no waking.


Lot 22, Concession 5 – 4 min., by
Penny McCann (2009)
As we listen to an old man’s voice talking about growing up on a farm, we see a crack in time and watch the story like an echo, never quite as distinct as we’d hoped. The farm and the tales are both fragmented, crackling in and out of view, incomplete. Imagination fills in details but in the end we realize that each of us has experienced a different story, as fleeting as the wind.

Courtesy James Gillespie and CFMDC.

Towards Everyday Lightning – silent, 9
min., by James Gillespie (2003)  
The world within this film is like lightning, beautiful but fleeting, existing for longer in your eye and your mind than it does in reality. Gillespie uses extensive solarization (shifts from positive to negative, randomly created through light being introduced in the middle of film development) to suggest a life as a series of memories ravaged by a storm. In silence, the storm creates a tumultuous atmosphere in ironic contrast to the lethargic faceless farm labourer featured on screen.

Amamnese Scott Berry. Courtesy CFMDC.

Anamnesis – 3 min., by Scott Miller
Berry (2009)  
The camera seem agitated as it struggles to discover meaning below the layers of paper, some being wasp nests, others being photographs collaged onto a human face. Colour and moments of clarity don’t satisfy us as the images, and the history held within them, seems too shrouded in secrecy to ever decode. Amid all the images, the man is blinded by history and paralyzed into inaction.

This film is the metaphoric harvesting of Phil Hoffman, turning inspiration into seeds, growing them into courage for the filmmakers he touches. The film poses many questions about the nature of memory. Should we share our stories, releasing them into the world, or hold them close to our hearts? What will do more good, what will do more  harm? In a world overshadowed by memory, how can we let go?

Courtesy Barbara Sternberg

Once – 5 min., by Barbara Sternberg
(2007)  
“Once” conjures up a sensation of seeing the world for the first time, awakening in a forest and knowing only the flashes of light, trees like a veil against the sky. Sternberg posits that life is brief but important, that every moment of it is of value if we believe it to be. She begs us to open our eyes and to really see.

Courtesy Phil Hoffman


Destroying Angel – 32 min., by Phil

Hoffman and Wayne Salazar (1998)
“Destroying Angle” is a collaboration between Hoffman and Salazar and is not, strictly speaking, made at the film farm. It represents the methods and approaches that Hoffman takes in creating a film and the legacy he has established. The structure is loose, moving fluidly between black and white and colour, sync sound and voice over, abstract and representation, metaphor and informational and most importantly between the filmmaker as maker and as subject. It is a film about dualities. There are two primary stories, that of Salazar’s struggles with AIDS and his coming to terms with his father, and the story of Hoffman’s wife Marion McMahon and her tragic death from cancer in 1996. The film was shot over an extended period of time, partially at the farm, partially off of it. It is about memory, how photographic images evoke feelings but often tell a different story. When Salazar’s photos of his father and his dog contradict his memory of them, we realize that we cannot trust the plastic arts, that all of what we are watching is subjective. For every right there is a wrong, for every failure there is a success and this is not represented in either memory nor in photography.

Gerald Saul is a Regina based filmmaker, a
long time member of the Saskatchewan
Filmpool, and a professor of film and video
production in the Department of Media
Production and Studies at the University of
Regina. (www.GeraldSaul.com)

Acknowledgements:
The Saskatchewan Filmpool Co-operative
Tricia Martin (promotion and poster design)
Gordon Pepper
Berny Hi
Kristine Dowler
Ian Campbell
CFMDC
Larissa Fan
Phil Hoffman

This Time Last Winter Screening Regina

•December 4, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Ian Brodland, Ann Verrall, Sarah Abbott, Danna Henderson, Erroll Kinistino.

Saskatchewan Premiere Screening & Public Discussion:  Thursday, November 24, 2011 Royal Saskatchewan Museum, Regina.

This Time Last Winter, Directed by Ann Verrall, Co-written/ Produced by Sarah Abbott, 25 minutes, Canada, 2010 Red One Camera / High Definition, colour, Dolby E & stereo

For more information see www.sarahabbott.ca

Courtesy Prairie Dog Magazine

A nearly packed house greeted the premiere screening of This Time Last Winter November 24 at the RSM in Regina. The film is a short family drama documenting the intense emotions and circumstances around an incident of domestic abuse within a young relationship between an aboriginal woman (Dana Henderson) and a white man (Ian Brodland). The story seeks to find a balance within the teetering emotions  of protagonists and family after the act of violence tears their preconceptions apart. Scenes depicting the warm memories of the couple’s relationship before pulls the audience through the anguish felt by both parties. Henderson’s performance especially—functions with a powerful mix of sadness and anger that truly documents the feelings her character is going through. It also provides a welcome fixative to typical stories of revenge and victimhood that populate similarly themed products of popular culture. Indeed during the question and answer period, Erroll Kinistino (who plays the father) asked director Ann Verrall why she didn’t make the act of violence more extreme to guide the audience’s opinion of the young man. She responded that she didn’t want to make the boyfriend character out to be an irredeemable monster, only a man that makes a mistake and can own up to his inability to control his anger. In the film Verrall and Abbott craft a sympathetic narrative that tries to hold on to all sides of the issues at play and yet never forget what they are dealing with. Near the end of the film, both protagonists and their familes go through a healing circle process that brings up memories from the past that help each character to understand how personal history comes to play an important roles in shaping individual lives.

This screening also included a panel discussion that drew community outreach workers, University of Regina facilty and the public togther to discuss the issues around domestic violence.


The evening celebrated the completion of This Time Last Winter and provided an opportunity for community discussion on violence in young relationships.  Anyone can experience relationship violence, but youth are particularly vulnerable.  They can have misconceptions about acceptable behaviour in relationships, find it difficult to identify signs of dysfunction and codependency, and fail to recognize emotional abuse.  The result can be a perpetual cycle of psychological struggle and unhealthy living.

Panelists
The fantastic line-up of panelists for the discussion was Dr. Mary Hampton, Professor in the Department of Psychology at Luther College, University of Regina; Dustin Stuefloten, member of Youth Educating About Health (Y.E.A.H.) a program developed through Planned Parenthood Regina; Dr. Carrie Bourassa, Associate Professor in the Department of Science at First Nations University of Canada; Danna Henderson, actor and award-winning star of This Time Last Winter; and Dory Oochoo, a participant in the “I Am A Kind Man” anti-violence program run through Qu’Appelle Haven Safe Shelter Inc..  Lois Isnana, Child Care Counselor at the Qu’Appelle Haven Safe Shelter in Fort Qu’Appelle, will moderate the panel.

Courtesy www.sarahabbott.ca

 

Saskatchewan Filmpool Members Premiere 2011 Part I

•October 30, 2011 • 1 Comment

On October 14th in Regina, the province’s oldest film coop presented the work of members to a sizable crowd of film lovers. The works ranged from experimental video shot on tiny 1 ccd cameras to narrative shorts that pushed the boundaries of cinematography using the RED camera. Here are some highlights:

Witchcraft, 4:30, dir: Jason Britski.
Britski’s Witchcraft functions in two cinematic spaces; one positive and living and the other negative and deceased. The film’s use of found xray films of a skeletal medical subject are at one time alive and dead. Alive due to the physical activity of the subject captured on film but dead as the technology peels away the layers of skin to reveal the classic symbol of death beneath. Likewise, the family home movies that Britski has incorporated into this film are seen as both photo positive and photo negatives. The positive echoing perhaps a happier time, a typical 1960’s innocence, while the exact same scene’s in negative are ghostly apparitions where smiling babies are turned into glimmering black demons.

Infested, 11:00, dir: Trevor Corrigan.
Infested is the story of a couple trying to find a new place to live. The apartment the two women visit is a run down heritage building where everything seems animated by decay and a darkness that lives inside. Trevor Corrigan expands and contracts the spaces in the building using clever green screen work and compositing so that rooms zoom out of control and people become dwarfed by the strange spaces. The entire film is also processed in a way that makes it look as if it was projected on layers of tissue paper, where light greens and beiges and dusty pinks conspire to form an uncomfortable, violent and irritaing world. The film experience is like the title suggests: an infestation.

Circumstantial Evidence (Part 2), 5:20, Dir: Kent Tate. 

Kent Tate is working on a body of work dealing with the human impact on natural environments. Circumstantial Evidence consists of both the stereotypically beautiful landscapes of the west and the manmade alterations to the land in the form of cities, industry and agriculture. Tate builds more than just travelogues, arranging his clips into powerful narratives of change that takes the viewer out of the egocentrism and navel gazing of modernity.

Filmpool Members Screening Part II
Friday DECEMBER 2nd, 2011
Doors 7:30pm – At the Artesian 
Regina, SK.


Here is the entire program courtesy of http://www.filmpool.ca:

PREMIERE ONE – October 14, 2011 – Films & Filmmakers listed in screening order:

How to Kill a Vampire
Director: Jessica Riess
Producer: Kelly-Anne Riess
1 minute

Darkness Calls
Director: Brendan Olenick
25 minutes

CLASSROOM 417
Director + Producer: Adrian Halter
11:18

Witchcraft
Director: Jason Britski
4:30

Circumstantial Evidence (Part 2)
Directed + Produced by Kent Tate
5:20

———– first half: 47 minutes

WARM ICED TEA
Director + Producer: Ian Campbell
2.45

Requiem for the Western Majority
Director: Daniel Eugene
3.25

Chelsea
Written + Directed: Rob Hillstead
Produced by Echolands Creative Group: Bernie Hernando & Hugh Patterson
13:30

Art on Fire Showcase
Director: Rob White
Producer: Alex Aresenault & Rob White
11:44

Infested
Directed by: Trevor Corrigan
Producer: Joi McConnell
11 minutes

———– second half: 42 minutes

Q and A to follow with Artist in attendance.

Cineflyer Sask Begins!

•October 16, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Cineflyer Sask Begins!
Oct. 16, 2011

It is my pleasure to announce the creation of Cineflyer Sask, to be edited by new media artist Ian Campbell!

Cineflyer Sask will cover film and motion picture related arts across Saskatchewan.  Based in Regina, Ian Campbell is a multimedia artist whose work is deeply rooted in a desire to reveal an organic, personal tension in the omnipresent technology of contemporary life. He works primarily with custom electronics, video, drawing and installation art.

As always, Cineflyer is meant to be a collaborative effort and anyone interested in writing for Cineflyer Sask should email Ian or myself at cineflyer@gmail.com!

-Aaron Zeghers