Issue: April 2012 - Experimental Film

The Year in Movies: action movies which took a stab at artistry

With superhero movies in full control of audiences’ brains and wallets these days, it can be hard for a testosterone-fueled, no-nonsense, fist-in-the-face action flick to make an impact. Unless you’ve got the words “fast” and/or “furious” in the title, people don’t care as much about brawny dudes wielding heavy artillery or beating each other up anymore. As a result, studios and directors are starting to experiment a little more with the concepts, style, and creative talent behind their action projects. Here were four action movies that tried to do a little something different this year. They weren’t necessarily successful...

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The films of Don Shebib

When discussing influential Canadian cinema, Donald Shebib’s name is usually part of the conversation. After producing several award-winning documentaries, he eventually made the transition to feature films. Shebib’s most well-known work is undeniably Goin’ Down the Road, which made him a common name and garnered him much critical acclaim. The Canadian Film Encyclopedia describes Shebib as a “chronicler of individual alienation and collective Canadian angst.” This statement holds true as one goes through his impressive filmography; it is clear that he is preoccupied with notions of identity and exploration in his works. Although Shebib’s films are not usually similar in...

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Going Short: a look at the Short Cuts Canada slate at TIFF 13

TIFF is a big, glitzy, fevered frenzy of films each year with a massive programme of films that exceeds any major festival in this city, and rivals that of any major festival in the world. Every year TIFF programmes a stellar Canadian lineup of films, but they also present Short Cuts Canada, a series of programmes of short films made by Canadian filmmakers. Given the incredible amount of hype surrounding the major films at the festival, Short Cuts Canada is frequently pushed to the side, only attended by those with a serious passion for Canadian film. This is a...

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The frogs, the princes, and the filmmakers: talking transformative theatre with Ryan Mullins and Omar Majeed

Ryan Mullins and Omar Majeed are two young filmmakers who work at the prolific, politically & socially-minded Montreal documentary company EyeSteelFilm. The company is well represented at Hot Docs this year, with  China Heavyweight , by Yung Chang (Up the Yangtze) as well as Ryan and Omar’s film, The Frog Princes. The incredibly touching film follows a theatre troupe made up of developmentally disabled adults as they mount a production of “The Frog and the Princess.” I asked Ryan and Omar how they first got involved with the project: “The troupe is part of this organization called the Centre for Arts and Development, they’re based out of Concordia University,” Ryan tells me. “The director of that program, Lenore Vosberg, had a connection with our producer here at EyeSteelFilm, Mila Aung-Thwin, and through him got in touch with Omar and myself, and asked us if we wouldn’t mind coming out to see what they’re all about. It was a local story and it wasn’t asking much of us to just drive out to see what they were doing. We did, and we thought it was really interesting, we went a few more times and were hooked after that.” Omar chimes in to say, “It’s a small program, and they’re always kind of struggling to keep it going, so I think they were hoping that some kind of exposure would highlight...

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He Said Boom: talking Fifth Column, feminism and film with Kevin Hegge

I’ve been a fan of Fifth Column‘s  music since a friend introduced me to their song “All Women Are Bitches” many years ago, while I was a student. What self-respecting young feminist wouldn’t be curious about an all-girl punk band with a song title like that? When I found out that they were from Toronto, I was even more intrigued. But there’s more to Fifth Column than just being a ‘girl band’, as Kevin Hegge told me while we chatted about his documentary She Said Boom: The Story of Fifth Column , which is premiered at Hot Docs April...

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5 Questions: Larissa Fan, Experimental Filmmaker

Larissa Fan never thought she’d be a filmmaker, much less one whose focus is the often-challenging (for both audiences and filmmakers) experimental genre. “I always liked art, and did still photography in high school, but being an artist never seemed like a viable option.” Says Fan. “After university I went to OCADU to study graphic design, thinking it would be a practical way to do something creative but still earn a living, but didn’t like the program and after taking a summer course in film, wound up taking film and video instead.” Once that cinematic fire was lit, it...

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Read This: Stereoscopic Cinema and the Origins of 3-D Film 1838 -1952

3-D film is all the rage these days, not least because the Hollywood superstructure decided to invest heavily in the production and distribution of this technology. “This is it!” they say, “3-D is here to stay this time!” “You’re gonna love it!” But as Ray Zone thoroughly demonstrates in Stereoscopic Cinema and the Origins of 3-D Film 1838-1952 inventors, technologists, filmmakers, and production studios have been chasing that stereoscopic dragon for a long, long time. For over 25 years, Ray Zone has been perhaps the world’s most passionate advocate for 3-D as an art form. He’s made numerous 3-D...

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