|BEYOND THE SCREEN
7pm ANAF / Friday / $10
Dave Carrol & Ryan Scafuro
USA 2013 / 93 min
Bending Steel is a deeply moving and inspiring documentary from filmmakers Dave Carroll and Ryan Scafuro, exploring the life of 43 year-old Chris Schoeck, a Queens, NY native training to become a professional oldetime strongman. The story follows Chris' journey from his early days training in his small basement storage unit to his very first performance on the big stage at New York's historic Coney Island. Alongside his trainer Chris Rider, he meets living legends and heroes within the strongman community. As these characters come alive, a long forgotten time is revisited. The men perform feats that defy limitations of human strength and pain: twisting horseshoes and nails with their bare hands, breaking chains with their hair, and bending coins with their teeth. Chris is learning from the greats. His training is progressing at a remarkable pace... he is determined to become a professional strongman.
But as the filmmakers follow Chris through his successes and failures, more is uncovered about this endearing yet introverted character. It soon becomes clear that Chris is not only searching for recognition and acceptance within this community, something he hopes will fill a growing void in his life. He is also facing crippling fears and insecurities, many of which are revealed for the first time as the cameras roll. A remarkable innocence is uncovered.
The film bears witness to a tenacious man struggling to come out of his shell - to shed both physical and social limitations that have held him back his entire life - limitations that now threaten his dream of success. What unfolds is a touching story of one man's epic struggle for acceptance and fulfillment, two things which have always seemed just out of his reach.
Guest Speaker: “6 Pack” Lapadat Local strongman Ryan “6 Pack” Lapadat will speak to the audience after the film Bending Steel. Lapadat is a World Champion, holds three Guinness World Records and is a real local hero here is Guelph, inspiring others to push their limits and succeed.
“6 Pack” Lapadat's Bio: Over the past few years, 6 Pack's story about being a boy who wanted to grow up and become a real life Superhero has grabbed the imagination of the Canadian public. Reading comic books as a child, a young 6 Pack promised his mother to one day grow up to help people with his super strength like the characters he read about. Infatuated with strength training, 6 Pack become a National Champion in weightlifting and quickly stood out from the pack with his signature “Superhero muscles” drawn onto his lifting suit.
When Tragedy struck in his life, he decided to transform from a National Champion in sports to a National hero and symbol of hope. Fulfilling his promise to become a real life Superhero by using his strength to help people, 6 Pack began shocking the public/ media with incredible feats such as flipping over cars, pulling airplanes, and lifting up bleachers full of people. Guinness World Records in strength were broken, and thousands of dollars were raised for sick kids.
To learn more about the man and his feats visit 6packlapadat.com
“6 Pack” in action: www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tJN12mfR-4
Looking back, it was unknown to me at the time when all this began. I didn't just wake up one morning and dedicate two and a half years of my life to follow someone else's. It just happened. As we filmed it became all encompassing. It was compelling and real and it got out of control and then back in control. I was connected to the story because in some way it was my story, just not my life. When I stumbled upon Chris he was at a breaking point and realized that somewhere along the way he had taken a wrong turn. He was not where he wanted to be and wasn't growing as a person. We didn't realize it then, but soon after our chance encounter he set in motion the mechanism to do something about it.
Allowing us to document his journey gave him a reason to take a deep look at who he was and why he was there. Along the way we were introduced to a remarkable community of larger than life figures. At first their passion for bending steel was lost on us. bending steel was lost on us. We understood the history and tradition but the will to endure pain and hardship in order to overcome the molecular composition of steel was unimaginable. As time passed we began to witness the fruit of their labor. It wasn't just the steel that they were reshaping, it was themselves. - Dave Carroll, New York City, December 10th, 2012.
7pm UofG (ALEX100) / Friday / PWYC
Presented by OPIRG
This groundbreaking documentary about the carbon credit system asks the fundamental questions “What happens when we manipulate markets to solve the climate crisis? Who stands to gain and who stands to suffer?” Incinerators burning garbage in India. Biogas extracted from palm oil in Honduras. Eucalyptus forests harvested for charcoal in Brazil. What do these projects have in common? They are all receiving carbon credits for offsetting pollution created somewhere else. But what impact are these offsets having? Are they actually reducing emissions? And what about the people and the communities where these projects have been set up? The Carbon Rush travels across four continents and brings us up close to projects working through the United Nations, Kyoto Protocol designed Clean Development Mechanism.
Director Amy Miller will speak after the film and lead a workshop the next morning at Ed Video.
WORKSHOP: 10am Ed Video / Saturday / FREE
Power to the People: Video Activism
Carbon Rush director Amy Miller will de-mystify the process of creating videos for use in environmental and social justice activism. She will explore how to design simple but effective media to reach out to new audiences and inspire them to join your fight for a better world!
DIRECTOR: AMY MILLER
Amy Miller is a media maker and social justice organizer based in Montréal. She is currently in post production for her new documentary ?No land no food no life' a hard hitting film on the economy, agricultural land grabs and the changes to farmers lives around the world. She recently finished directing and producing the documentary ?The Carbon Rush' a global exposé on how carbon offset projects impact local peoples. She directed and produced the featurette documentary "Myths for Profit: Canada's Role In Industries of War and Peace" which was screened thoroughly across Canada and at festivals including the Milano Film Festival, RIDM and won the Peoples Choice award at the Bay Street Film Festival. 'Outside of EUrope', on the exclusionary nature of immigration and border policies continues to be screened around the world. She persists to focus on developing critical documentaries for transformative social change and helping out grassroots campaigns for justice.
DEAD OR ALIVE (Mort ou Vif)
4PM Ed Video / Saturday / PWYC
Canada 2012 / 60 min
As members of a profession with a certain amount of job security, morticians skillfully blend science, art and social work. But as far as jobs go, it's woefully misunderstood. Dead or Alive is a lively and entertaining look at a diverse group of professionals working in Quebec's flourishing funeral industry. There's Patrick, the stylish entrepreneur and owner of a franchise-modelled empire of funeral homes; Jean-Claude, the retired police officer now funeral director who's the consummate pallbearer; and Érika, a hip, young undertaker who relates her work to changing the oil in her motorcycle—new fluids in, old ones out. From refuelling the hearse to dusting urns, explaining casket options to preparing corpses, all aspects of the business are openly, humorously and sensitively shared. Underlined by a fantastic score by Tricot Machine (performing their folksy soundtrack as a Fellini-esque quintet while wandering through funereal settings), seldom has staring at death been so enjoyable and enlightening.
7PM Ed Video / Saturday / $10
USA 2013 / 80 min
Furever is a quirky, educational, feature-length documentary that explores the dimensions of grief people experience over the loss of a pet. It examines the sociological evolution of pets in the U.S. today, particularly their position in a family unit, and how this evolution is affecting those in the veterinary profession and death care industry. With interviews from grieving pet owners, veterinarians, psychologists, sociologists, religious scholars, neuroscientists, and the many professionals who preserve a pet's body for their devastated clientele, or re-purpose a pet's cremains in unique ways (taxidermy, cloning, mummification, freeze-drying, and many more), Furever confronts contemporary trends, perspectives, and relevant cultural assumptions regarding attachment, religion, ritual, grief, and death, and studies the bonds that form between humans and animals, both psychological and physiological.
Sixty-two percent of Americans have a pet, and they spent a total of $52.9 billion on their pets last year. Many judge pet parents who choose to memorialize their dead pets as unbalanced, yet religious or cultural rituals for deceased people often seem unusual to outsiders. How "real" is grief for a dead pet and who decides what kind of grief is acceptable, or appropriate? Rather than pathetic or morbid, these pet parents embody America's muddled attitudes toward death and dying, touching on our collective fear of aging, and how that fear is shaped by the shifting influences of religion, technology, family, and money.
GOOGLE AND THE WORLD BRAIN
1PM Bookshelf Cinema / Saturday / $10
USA 2013 / 89 min
In 1937 the science fiction writer HG Wells predicted the creation of a “World Brain”, which would contain all the world's knowledge and be accessible to all of mankind. This all-knowing entity would replace nation states and governments. Prophetically, HG Wells anticipated that the quantity of information that it would possess, would allow it to monitor every human being on the planet. Today this World Brain is being brought into existence on the Internet. Wikipedia, Facebook, Baidu in China and other search engines around the world are all trying to build their own world brains - but none had a plan as bold, far-reaching and transformative as Google did with it's Google Books project.
In 2002, Google began scanning the world's books. They signed deals with major university and national libraries. Their goal was not just to create a giant global library, but to use all that knowledge for a higher and more secretive purpose: to help them develop a new form of Artificial Intelligence. Google scanned ten million books, but there was one big problem: over half those books, six million of them, were in copyright.
The Google Books Website was to become both the world's biggest book store and a commercialised library, giving Google a monopoly over the majority of books published in the twentieth century. Can a ragbag army of authors helped by the occasional librarian defeated one of the world's most powerful corporations? Google and the World Brain weaves the central story of Google Books into the broader fabric of the Internet, with its issues of data-mining and privacy, downloading and copyright, freedom and surveillance.
For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to make a film about libraries. They are my favourite places to be. Serene, beautiful repositories of the best thoughts that men and women have ever had. Free to use. Far from the din of modern capitalism, libraries are the epitomy of the public institution. There is simply nothing bad about a library. It is my paradise.
For three years, I thought long and hard about how to make a film about the Internet. The Net is a unique phenomenon, unprecedented in history. It has brought us many marvellous things - instant access to all kinds of information, culture and communities. But I have also been struck by how the Internet also takes things from us, without asking - and for a long time, nobody has seemed to notice that. I wanted to make a film that alerted an audience to perils, as well as the paradise of the Internet. But how? The Internet is difficult to visualise - its stories revolve around emails, blogs and servers. Many of the newspaper articles that criticise it are sensationalist and written in the future tense or the subjunctive, i.e. they imagine a danger that might arise one day in the future.
Documentaries need concrete stories, with personal testimonies, as well as explanation and polemic from theorists and commentators. The ten-year story of Google Books offered me a narrative that acts as a spine for the film as well as a strong vocabulary of visual images. In terms of the narrative, there is a terrific arc. Google started out scanning amidst huge enthusiasm for the idea of creating a universal digital library. Gradually problems emerged - about copyright, national cultures and surveillance. Then there is a handful of heroes, authors and academics in America, Germany, France, China and Japan, who dared to take on the giant Google, the world's most successful corporation ever! It is like David v Goliath. In a kind of ending, an American judge ruled that Google's scanning project was illegal in March 2011, although the creation of a universal digital library continues, largely in the hands of the libraries themselves.
As for images, I chose to fill this film with magnificent tracking and crane shots of the world's most beautiful libraries. Beyond that, there are hi-tech scanning factories, book depositories and book pulping centres, the precincts of ancient universities and the Tokyo Police Department. The film is inspired by the camerawork in "Bladerunner" and "Rampart". I have been looking for saturated out-of-focus artificial lights in the background, slowly moving where possible. I filmed on a Sony F3 to achieve a narrow cinematic depth of field. In this way, I wanted to make the film glow with a sense of the future, by turns hi-tech and makeshift, just like the scanning machines.
My key visual motif is the slow passage of that strip of white light that we know from scanners. Google Books offered me a narrative spine for the film, but it is not the only story I wanted to tell. I used it as a 'washing line' on which to hang other tales of uploading vast amounts of knowledge onto the net - Gutenberg Project, Wikipedia, Baidu's Library, and Brewster Kahle's Internet Archive, as well as way to discuss the big themes of the Net, privacy, surveillance, monopoly and so on. Finally, I have been drawn to this subject by the combination of the ancient - the library - and the new - the Internet. There is a rare combination in this film of yesterday and tomorrow. A library is a repository of the past. The Internet is the technology of the future. Two worlds collide in this story which evokes the dramatic dawn of a new technological era for mankind, but one which might have its price.
Huffington Post Review
Politics and Tech Review
The Hollywood Reporter Review
FILMS FOR KIDS: HOW WE NAVIGATE OUR WORLD
10:30AM Guelph Public Library, 2nd Floor / Saturday / FREE
Various artists 60 min
Recommended for ages 5-12
A series of short films exploring this year's theme 'How We Navigate Our World'. The lineup includes: 5 dollars, Christopher Changes His Name, The Fox and the Chickadee, Goal, The Sparky Book, Rose and Violet.
Sunday, November 10th, 1pm at GYMC. $10.
There will be lecture style discussion with Oscar winning animator Stephen Barnes.
HUE: A MATTER OF COLOUR
4pm Ed Video / Sunday / PWYC
Canada 2013 / 85 min
Hue, by renowned director and cinematographer Vic Sarin, is a personal investigation into the history and often tragic effects of colourism—the phenomenon whereby people within the same ethnic group discriminate against one another based on differences in skin tone. Sarin travels to countries in Asia, South America, the Caribbean and Africa to discuss this complex cross-cultural social issue with individuals whose lives it affects, including a Filipina entrepreneur whose business has flourished within the billion-dollar skin-whitening industry.
Hue leads viewers on a surprising journey to the heart of an insidious social issue that is anything but black and white. How black is black enough? How black is too black? What can you gain from being a light-skinned Indian, and what can you lose from being a dark-skinned one? Vic Sarin's documentary shines a light on skin colour—not race in itself—as a factor in shame and bigotry. The director takes us around the globe, examining national and ethnic attitudes. Among others, we meet two light-skinned black women, both of whom share their experiences of turmoil; a black Brazilian who fights his own personal struggle against marginalization; a Filipino woman who has built a business providing skin bleaching to her countrywomen; and Tanzanian albinos who face mortal threats due to superstition about their light pigmentation. Race, politics and personality interact in these peoples' histories; we hear about how skin tone has influenced them as parents, as spouses, as citizens.
There's a lot of pain here, but also healing—some have achieved it, the rest are trying. Sarin starts from a personal position: as an East Indian transplanted first to Australia and then to Canada, he's experienced years of insecurity about his colour. The film is an act of catharsis—for himself, for his subjects and, hopefully, for many in the audience.
Paul Émile d'Entremont
Canada 2012 / 85 min
1PM Ed Video / Saturday / PWYC
Last Chance tells the stories of 5 asylum seekers who flee their native countries to escape homophobic violence. They face hurdles integrating into Canada, fear deportation and anxiously await a decision that will change their lives forever. Last Chance is about five lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people seeking the right of asylum in Canada in order to escape persecution or homophobic violence in their homelands.
Their names are Trudi, Carlos, Jennifer, Zaki, and Alvaro. They're from countries as varied as Jamaica, Colombia, Lebanon, Egypt, and Nicaragua. But what they have in common is that they've all fled homophobic violence in their homelands. They have faced either rejection from their families, arrest, imprisonment, rape, torture, or death threats. And they're all seeking asylum in Canada. Halifax-based CBC journalist Paul Émile d'Entremont's documentary Last Chance follows their journeys and exposes the ordeals that they endure as asylum seekers.
They dream of the freedom of being themselves in Canada, but first they must prove that they are in fact what they say they are. Although Canada was one of the first countries to accept asylum seekers on the basis of sexual orientation or identity, the film takes a close look at how Canada integrates refugees.
About the Director
Montreal filmmaker Paul Émile d'Entremont was directing another movie in Jordan some years ago when he came up with the idea to make his brand-new, award-winning documentary film Last Chance, which chronicles the struggles of five queer refugees from around the world – from some of the most rabidly anti-gay countries on the planet – seeking asylum in Canada. “I felt compelled to make this movie because I am a gay man and was wondering what my next documentary should be and that would be important to me,” says d'Entremont.
“My sexuality and being gay define everything that I am, so while making this other film in Jordan, my DoP [director of photography] asked our driver if there were any gay people in Jordan and the cab driver replied, ?No, there aren't any.' That reply was a trigger. I thought it would be interesting to make a film about gay Arabs. So I started hanging out with HELEM [in Montreal] and that led me to making this movie about gay refugees.”
As for Canada's refugee system, what is d'Entremont's prognosis? Is Canada still the planet's great big hope, or are we closing our borders? “I'm no expert but I certainly have consulted a lot of experts and I agree with what I hear, that we have a one of the best systems in the world for refugee protection,” says d'Entremont, pointing out there are flaws in the system. “It is also under tremendous pressure and threat. We really don't' know how the [new reforms] voted on in June will pan out. They have not really taken effect. So the jury is still out.”
7PM GYMC / Sunday / $10
USA 2013 / 82 min
"'Maidentrip' is a stirring and emotional testimony to the power of dreams, an inspiring example of how far determination, imagination and belief can take someone. The brave and witty Dekker serves as a reminder that life is a journey that must be engaged completely to be fully appreciated."
At just 14 years old, Laura Dekker sets out on a two-year voyage to become the youngest person ever to sail around the world alone. While the Dutch teen's announcement spurs a highly publicized custody battle with the Child Welfare Office, filmmaker Jillian Schlesinger focuses on the real heart of the story, a fiercely independent girl and her audacious dream. Schlesinger films Laura at her many exotic ports of call, but it's the young captain herself who shoots all the footage at sea in journal-like conversations with the camera. Far from scrutiny and land, she's visibly free and speaks so confidently and honestly about her desires, fears and vulnerability, you forget you're watching a teenager.
It's clear this old soul is captaining not only her beloved boat Guppy, but also her future, of which she's already in full command. Thoroughly unique, Maidentrip breathes new life into the coming-of-age story.
Guelph's Cinematic Past Walking Tour
Saturday, October 18th and Saturday, November 2nd
Starting at 2pm. Each tour runs 30-45 minutes.
Meeting outside 34 Carden Street
A $5 donation is recommended.
Learn about the amazing nickelodeons, cinemas and vibrant personalities that have
brought film to Guelph from 1908, through the silent era, sound, colour and animation.
Guelph's Cinematic History App:
The Magic of Guelph's Cinematic Past
Oct. 11 to Jan. 5
Opening reception: 7-9pm Oct. 17
Explore the Civic Museum's collection of artifacts documenting Guelph's cinematic past.
Hidden Histories: Guelph Cinema
Ed Video/November 2-22
Opening Reception: Nov. 2, 2:30-4pm.
Follow the time line of Guelph's cinematic past up to today with ephemera, posters and
MY PRAIRIE HOME
7PM Silence / Saturday / $10
7PM McKinnon / Saturday/ $10
Presented by CFRU
Canada 2013 / 77 min
Transgender musician and performer Rae Spoon is crossing endless fields of wheat and a famously big sky in Chelsea McMullan's documentary-musical, My Prairie Home. All along the way—in a Greyhound bus, the Tyrell Dinosaur Museum in Drumheller, a bar in Regina, a performance in Winnipeg—McMullan's camera is a constant companion.
As the flat, straight Prairie highway unfolds, McMullan guides us on the long and winding road of Spoon's life. This playful, meditative and at times melancholic tale of Spoon's queer and musical coming of age unfolds in interviews and in songs, in live performance and in fanciful music sequences. Spoon takes us through their childhood growing up in an ultra-religious family, discovering their sexuality, their gender identity, and the crucial and inspiring leaps towards building a life of their own, as a musician and as a trans person. As Spoon says, gazing out a Greyhound window, “You can't be where you're going yet, and you can't be where you left. You're in this in-between space.”
With a voice as big as the prairie sky, transgender musician and author Rae Spoon has a story like no other. My Prairie Home, Rae Spoon's latest album, explores the meaning of home when it is no longer a place one can return to. As a young person, Rae used music both as an escape and as a place to build a world they could live in safely. Songs about death, coming out as queer during high school, and surviving abuse are all sung by a voice that can break a heart and fill it with hope at the same time. Having started out as a country artist and later adding experimental and electronic elements into their music, Rae Spoon has released seven solo albums and three collaborative albums over the past ten years.
They have toured extensively in Canada as well as internationally (Europe, the USA and Australia). Rae has been nominated for the Polaris Music Prize, CBC Radio 3 Bucky Awards, and the Galaxy Rising Star Award. Rae's first book, First Spring Grass Fire, was published by Arsenal Pulp Press in September 2012. The book was a finalist for a Lambda Award in the transgender fiction category, as well as short listed for an Expozine Alternative Press Award. Chelsea McMullan, writer and director (images on file) Chelsea McMullan is a Genie-nominated Canadian filmmaker and artist whose films and projects have screened on the international festival circuit and premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and the New York Photography Festival.
Her awardwinning shorts have been featured in Nowness, Dazed Digital, Vice and Vogue Italia magazines. Chelsea is a member of the artist co-operative What Matters Most and was also an artist in residence at Fabrica, where she made the Genie award-nominated documentary Derailments. She was recently awarded the Shaw Media–Hot Docs Development Fund and the Super Channel Documentary Award. My Prairie Home is her third collaboration with the National Film Board of Canada.
About Filming My Prairie Home
The only way to capture the complex story of an artist as unconventional and genredefying as Canadian transgender musician Rae Spoon is to create a film that is equally genre-defying. Following Spoon through the twists and turns of life, as well as their [Spoon prefers the use of the gender-neutral, third-person pronoun] life on the road, My Prairie Home is what director Chelsea McMullan terms a documentary-musical. “Definitely, right from the beginning, I thought of the film as a documentary-musical,” says McMullan. “That was the initial idea: Rae's story needs to be told through their music.
What makes the most sense in terms of visually representing that?” Although the Prairie highway that Spoon traverses on tour is straight and flat, McMullan's epic documentary is anything but. Intimate first-person narration and interviews cruise alongside on-the-road footage, and suddenly and seamlessly we find ourselves in the middle of fantastical musical sequences, showcasing not only the confessional power of Spoon's songcraft but McMullan's wildly imaginative visual verve.
“There are definitely docs that have a musical element in them, maybe even a performance element, but usually they don't try to blend the genres,” says McMullan. “There are films like Dancer in the Dark and Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and I watched them all trying to think about the [visual] language.” For Spoon, this genre-bending was a way of making sense of their own transformations, of both genre and gender. “One of the reasons I write songs is that it helps me process a lot of things. I feel like I've fully processed a lot of that stuff now, by writing songs, and then going back and filming in the actual locations. I was also coming up against being out as trans in the media over 10 years ago. So once this [film] started happening, I became excited about the story I had left behind in order to have any kind of [musical] career at all.”
For McMullan, My Prairie Home hones in on overarching interests that the filmmaker has explored throughout her young career. “If you look at my body of work so far, visually, this film fits in with the direction I'm heading in as a filmmaker. I've always been interested in landscape and atmosphere and how that reflects your psychologi- cal state. This is a further exploration of these ideas, of how we live in spaces and how that forms our identity.”
McMullan and Spoon met each other through McMullan's first short for the NFB, Deadman. “I was looking for some music that had a country feel but that was subversive in some way, and somebody had tipped me off to Rae's music,” recalls McMullan. “And I listened to it and was totally blown away. So I contacted Rae. We met up for coffee when they had a show in Toronto. And I didn't realize it, but Rae was also actually interviewing me, figuring out whether I would work for them as a collaborator.” Everything about My Prairie Home grew out of the interaction between filmmaker and subject that unfolded in the subsequent years since that initial meeting. McMullan was very conscious of the enormity of what she was asking of Spoon, and the trust that necessitated. “To do the film meant that Rae really had to open a Pandora's Box. At that time, they were identifying as ?he,' not ?they.' And I think they were still in the process of figuring out how to talk about their identity. I feel like they've actually, through the film, sorted a lot of those things out for themselves, and how they represent their identity and their past.”
For Spoon, the film sparked an immense artistic expansion. “When I started to think about my history, I realized it was kind of complicated. That's how I started my book: I wrote First Spring Grass Fire for the film. And then it just started to unravel.” All of the songs in the film, with one exception, were written especially for the film. They've just been released as an album, called My Prairie Home (what else?) for which Spoon is now starting to tour. “Through making the film, and through my interactions with people about the film, I realized that gender is one of the scariest things in the world for people,” says McMullan. “People are so scared of gender, and the binary, and keeping it intact. I know my perception of gender has changed in such an extreme way. It's more inter- esting to let the constructs fall away and be who you feel like being, and not try to fit into any category.”
OIL SANDS KARAOKE
9:30PM ANAF / Friday / $10
Canada 2013 / 83 min
Local musician Jenny Omnichord will lead a discussion and Karaoke night after the film.myspace.com/jennyomnichord (images on file) Oil Sands Karaoke is a documentary about five oil patch workers vying to win a karaoke contest in one of the most controversial places on the planet - Northern Alberta's infamous Oil Sands. These five characters know they're at the center of a global controversy and yet they continue to work there under extremely arduous physical conditions for long hours for extended periods without a single day off. Why? Obviously for the high wages. But what could motivate a person in this situation to sing karaoke, let alone take it seriously? A documentary unlike any other, Oil Sands Karaoke will make us laugh, sing along, and perhaps re-examine our biases.
Home to one of the most controversial industries in the world—the Athabasca tar sands —Fort McMurray, Alberta, has seen a record population boom. Thousands of men and women from as far away as PEI and Labrador and as close by as local aboriginal communities, have flocked to the city to work in the oil patch, all attracted by the promise of good jobs and a high salary. The work is hard and the hours are long. The weather is harsh and the social life is sparse, and everyone must cope with the knowledge that many people worldwide—possibly even friends and family—object, sometimes strenuously, to what they do for a living. How do they cope? With karaoke of course! Oil Sands Karaoke profiles five Fort McMurray residents as they prepare to unleash their inner divas at Bailey's, the local pub, in a vocal battle royal
Director Charles Wilkinson
Long before "Oil Sands Karaoke" director Charles Wilkinson was a documentary filmmaker, he was a musician. So getting to make a film about a group of oil sands workers competing in a karaoke contest in Fort McMurray, Alberta — arguably Canada's most controversial town — was something of a lifelong dream come true for him. "I've been a musician since I was, like, five. A professional musician until I was 19 or so. I play all the time. I sing all the time," Wilkinson tells the Huffington Post Canada. "I've been a filmmaker for my whole adult life and I never got to do anything about music before. When we got this idea, Tina [Schliessler], my partner and the producer of the movie said, 'You have to do this because it's made for you.' And it really, really is." As a filmmaker dedicated to pushing past the all of the misinformation and rhetoric surrounding environmental issues and getting to the heart of the matter (his last film, "Peace Out," won a Special Jury Prize at Hot Docs 2012 for its reasoned and thoughtful approach to the natural gas fracturing and oil sands of Peace River, Alberta), Wilkinson's aim was to keep an open mind.
"I'm a product of my environment. I'm a southern Canadian, I have a reasonably good education, and you don't hang out in that environment without it rubbing off on you and the people I hang out with are very critical of oil and gas," he admits. "And so my natural tendency was to be critical. Not necessarily negative, but certainly critical. But with the work that we did on 'Peace Out,' I got a chance to talk to people who really know what they're talking about... We found out in specific what the deal is. It didn't make me feel any better. If anything, it made me feel worse. But it also made me understand that there are human beings involved. We need to talk about this stuff, but we should maybe try to be a bit more polite with each other. And that's what our goal was: to get people talking to each other on this."
As such, the director and his team wanted to find the best human beings possible to show the rest of the world what Fort McMurray is really like at work and at play. The documentary crew became talent scouts of sorts, filming at Bailey's, Fort McMurray's premiere karaoke bar, and looking for locals with good voices and better stories. They soon found the right five people, including a pair haul truck drivers with a talent for tackling Britney Spears tunes and aboriginal entrepreneur Massey Whiteknife, better known on stage as Iceis Rain — a karaoke drag queen.
RENT A FAMILY
9:30PM Ed Video / Saturday
PWYC Kaspar Astrup Schröder Denmark 2012
80 min Subtitles (Japanese) kasparworks.com/
This is the unique and unpredictable story about Mr. Ryuichi Ichinokawa and his unusual way of life. On the surface Ryuichi looks like an ordinary Japanese man. He is 44 years old, married and is the father of two boys. The Ichinokawa family seems on the outside to lead a completely normal family life. Every day Ryuichi goes to work in the customer service department at a toy factory. However, there is a secret side to Ryuichi unknown to most - even his family doesn't know about this. Apart from his job at the toy factory he has another occupation. A job that is anything but ordinary. Ryuichi owns a company called ”Hagemashi Tai”, one of Japan's most peculiar companies.
In English “Hagemashi Tai” means, “I Want To Cheer You Up Ltd.” Ryuichi and his employees are profes- sional stand-ins, part of a growing service sector that rents out fake spouses, best men, relatives, friends, colleagues, boyfriends and girlfriends to spare their clients' blushes at social functions such as weddings, funerals and other family gatherings.
Ichinokawa launched his company four years ago, after abandoning plans to become a qualified coun- selor. Today he employs 32 stand-ins of various ages and both sexes across Japan, with the skills and personality to temporarily and immediately adopt new identities. He runs the company from the kitchen in his house without his family knowing. This is where the clients contact him by cell or e-mail and where he organizes every event and appoints all the stand-ins.
The film will follow Ryuichi and his staff at work and explore how Ryuichi juggles many secrets, takes on new identities and how the company is a symptom of a cultural aversion to giving personal and professional problems a public airing. What makes the clients hire Ryuichi and his staff and most imporatantly why Ryuchi prefers to be a stand-in in strangers' families instead of being present in his own?
Director KASPAR ASTRUP SCHRÖDER
Kaspar Astrup Schröder was born in Denmark in 1979. Kaspar is a self-taught visual artist and designer. He founded his company Kaspar in 2004, sometimes taking the name KSPR or Kasparworks. Though based in Copenhagen, Kaspar often works in Asia. Has exhibited visual work and released music in Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Brussels, New York, Shenzhen and Tokyo.
Kaspar Astrup Schröder's documentary City Surfers (2007) won Best Danish Film and Filmic Award at the D.A.F.F. Festival. The Invention of Dr. Nakamats (2009) was selected for IDFA's Mid-Length Competition. My Playground/Min legeplads (2010), exploring Parkour and Freerunning: selected for the IDFA's Reflecting Images: Panorama and DOC U! competition. In 2012 Kaspar's latest documentary Rent a Family Inc. will embark on its festival and television run.
Film Host: Ornella Renna-Suzuki
Ornella's postgraduate studies in Italy led her to Japan where she lived and worked for twenty years. She moved to Guelph in 2102 with her family and two cats and is now enjoying low-density living.
SPRING & ARNAUD
7:30PM MSAC / Thursday / $10
Marcia Connolly and Katherine Knight
Canada 2013 / 67 min
The artist Spring Harlbut will be in attendance, alongside director Marcia Connolly for our opening night film Spring and Arnaud.
No Trailer but here is a clip with the directors: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0gJzHp_KU0
nice article here:bordercrossingsmag.com/article/trace-elements
Cinematically gorgeous and beautifully crafted, Spring & Arnaud is a breathtakingly tender and intelligent love story about acclaimed Canadian artists Spring Hurlbut and Arnaud Maggs. Spring's art focuses on mortality and the traces we leave behind: ashes, bones, preserved animals, old metal cribs that invoke the spirits of the deceased in her photography, video, sculpture and installations.
Arnaud Maggs, winner of the Scotiabank Photography and Governor General's awards, remains fascinated by systems of identification, of repetition and the miniscule differences and similarities in collections of people, objects and ephemera while recognizing the authority of photography to express these ideas in massive installations. Whether singing “It's only a paper moon” together as dusk falls on the French countryside or talking about the process of making art in their Toronto studios, their undying love for each other as they face the reality of Arnaud's illness literally lights up the screen.
This film is itself a work of art, filled with wonderful images and crisply edited. But it's the human saga of a quirky but richly satisfying personal relationship that will make Spring & Arnaud connect with audiences in a way that cultural documentaries rarely do. Their art works may be serious, but there's a lightness about their relationship that makes them seem like irresistible characters in a TV sitcom.
Arnaud Maggs (1927-2012) An artist of “rigor, crystal clear vision, humour, and humbling sense of awe for the singular moments and the connections between them.”
TALES FROM THE ORGAN TRADE
1PM Ed Video / Sunday / PWYC
Ric Esther Bienstock
Canada 2013 / 82 min
TALES FROM THE ORGAN TRADE is a gritty and unflinching descent into the shadowy world of black-market organ trafficking: the street-level brokers, the rogue surgeons, the impoverished men and women who are willing to sacrifice a slice of their own bodies for a quick payday, and the desperate patients who face the agonizing choice of obeying the law or saving their lives.
Fifty years ago, it was the stuff of science fiction – a dying patient resurrected with a transplanted body part. Today, it is an everyday miracle. Every year, tens of thousands of human organ transplants are performed around the globe. Most transplanted organs come from cadavers or relatives of the patient. But demand for this organ far exceeds the supply. So thousands are bought and sold on a black market that flourishes in dozens of countries where the rule of law is hostage to the dollar sign. International organizations monitoring the situation estimate – conservatively – that black market transplants generate over $500 million a year.
With unprecedented access to all the players, the film explores the legal, moral and ethical issues involved in this complex life and death drama. What would any of us do if put in the position of having to buy or sell an organ? For each party, the stakes could not be higher.
This is not a black and white story of exploitation, but rather, a nuanced and complex story that compels you to explore your own moral and ethical beliefs. This is a world where the villains often save lives and the medical establishment, helpless, too often watches people die. Where the victims often walk away content and the buyers of organs - the recipients - return home with a new lease on life.
The drama unfolds in Philippine slums; in villages, where nearly every man has sold one of his kidneys for the price of a laptop; in neglected shards of the former Soviet Empire, where criminal gangs tease donors with promises of vast sums of cash; and in places like Philadelphia, where a craigslist ad urges an unemployed hustler into an operating room and a twenty thousand-dollar payoff.
At the core of TALES FROM THE ORGAN TRADE is the anatomy of a single black market operation. The recipient is a Canadian man who can't wait for a legal transplant at home. The transplant surgeon is a glib and defiant fugitive Turkish doctor dubbed “Dr. Frankenstein” by the international media. The assisting surgeon is a distinguished Israeli physician who sees no evil in paying for human organs. The prosecutor is a crusading Canadian working for the European Union. The donor is a beer-loving woman from a fledgling Eastern European republic who willingly sold her kidney, saved another human being's life and is now at the center of the world's most notorious organ trafficking case.
From Manila to Istanbul, from Colorado to Kosovo, from Toronto to Tel Aviv, the film brings to the screen a compelling cast whom fate has brought together where the gift of life meets the shadow of death.
TINY: A STORY OF LIVING SMALL
4PM GYMC / Sunday / $10
Merete Mueller & Christopher Smith
USA 2013 / 62 Min
Film trailer: http://vimeo.com/28422870
From 1970 to 2010, the average size of a new house in America has almost doubled. Yet in recent years, many are redefining their American Dream to focus on flexibility, financial freedom, and quality of life over quantity of space. These self-proclaimed “Tiny Housers” live in homes smaller than the average parking space, often built on wheels to bypass building codes and zoning laws. Tiny takes us inside six of these homes stripped to their essentials, exploring the owners' stories and the design innovations that make them work.
After a decade of travel, Christopher Smith approaches his 30th birthday and decides it's time to plant some roots. He impulsively buys a 5-acre plot of land in hopes of fulfilling a lifelong dream of building a home in the mountains of Colorado. With the support of his girlfriend, Merete, he sets out to build a Tiny House from scratch despite having no construction experience.
When Christopher decides to build his own Tiny House, he dives into the tension between settling down and staying adrift, between preserving a parcel of land that he loves and developing it. Merete begins to ask her own questions about settling down, and both walk away with unexpected lessons about the meaning of home, the importance of place, and the personal impact of sticking with a project that became bigger than they'd ever imagined.
Tiny is a coming-of-age story for a generation that is more connected, yet less tieddown than ever, and for a society redefining its priorities in the face of a changing financial and environmental climate. More than anything, Tiny invites its viewers to dream big and imagine living small.
Merete Mueller (Writer, Co-director/Producer)
Merete is a writer and award-winning filmmaker based in Brooklyn, NY. She is especially drawn to stories of people living “close to the bone,” which she defines as people not only living simply, but also honestly and often in vulnerable situations. Merete believes that there is magic in ordinary moments, and it is these moments that create the context in which humanity thrives. Her work as a writer and filmmaker explores the human condition through the lens of small details and fleeting moments.
Christopher Smith (Cinematographer, Co-director/Producer)
Originally from the Washington, DC area, Christopher currently splits his time between New York City and Boulder, Colorado, where he has lived for the past 12 years. He studied Cinematography and Producing at the Sydney Film School in Australia, and previously worked as a graphic designer, cinematographer and editor in Colorado and Los Angeles. Christopher uses his experience in media to call attention to issues of social justice and the environmental degradation of the American West. In 2009, he founded Speak Thunder Films, a production company dedicated to producing creative film and video content for a meaningful impact on our society and environment. Speak Thunder has produced projects for congressional candidates, non-profits and businesses.
9:30PM Silence / Saturday / $10
Canada 2013 / 97 min
Cool site with informative clips related to the instrument:
Ben Grossman and Matt Brubeck will be leading a discussion after the film.
“Sound itself, even in its immateriality, is only form. Reality is what we put in it.”
– Maurice Martenot
Wavemakers pursues the legacy of an electronic musical instrument as fragile as it is magical: the Ondes Martenot. The Martenot is indeed so sensitive, so expressive, that nearly a century after its invention, musicians, artisans and scientists are still trying to unravel the mysteries of this “Stradivarius of the electronic age.”. Among them are the inventor's son, Jean-Louis Martenot, Suzanne Binet-Audet, the "Jimi Hendrix of the Martenot", and Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead. Integrating vérité, never-before-seen archival material and an entrancing soundtrack, this feature documentary explores the origins and workings of the Martenot, and draws us inexorably into its spell. A modernday story set against a historical background, Wavemakers is a journey into the very heart of the mystery of music.
THE MYSTERY OF AN INSTRUMENT
Maurice Martenot dreamed of sound springing from silence. Amid the chaos of the Great War, the young French wireless telegraph operator became enthralled by the unusual interference produced by his radio's vacuum tubes. He envisioned of an instrument that would turn the raw material of electricity into music, while allowing for the complete control of the performer: the Ondes musicales Martenot. Inspired by an ideal of human and live artistic expression, his electronic instrument is of such extraordinary sensitivity that nearly a century after its invention, musicians, artisans and scientists are still trying to unravel its secrets.
With an extremely wide spectrum of timbres able to evoke sounds ranging from the human voice to wind instruments, to the hum of a machine, the Martenot's expressive capabilities are unequalled by any other electronic instrument. But what became of it? Since its introduction at the Paris Opera in 1928, it has been widely used in both classical and popular repertoires. From the first sound films of Abel Gance and Fritz Lang, to Hollywood classics, science-fiction TV series, and recent productions such as There Will Be Blood, the Martenot has also lent a distinctive colour to the music of Olivier Messiaen, Tristan Murail, Édith Piaf and Radiohead. Yet, while it has been part of the collective unconscious of entire generations, it is practically invisible today.
After the accidental death of Maurice Martenot in 1980, the Martenot workshop gradually ceased production, leaving the instrument's future up in the air. Of the 281 Martenots that were built, only about 70 remain, and the instrument is now threatened with extinction. With its modern-day plot set against a historical background, Wavemakers pursues the uncompleted dream of the visionary man that was Maurice Martenot (1898–1980). This feature documentary follows an ensemble of Martenot aficionados, in France and Quebec, who search through studios, basements, science labs, and workshops to unravel the secrets of the instrument. Among them is Jean-Louis Martenot, striving to keep his father's musical and pedagogical legacy alive. Suzanne Binet-Audet, the “Jimi Hendrix of the Martenot,” who meets backstage with Jonny Greenwood. A well-known member of the band Radiohead, Greenwood is a multi-instrumentalist and composer leading a new generation of musicians who are rediscovering the Martenot. Jeanloup Dierstein, an electronic instrument maker in Paris' 17th arrondissement, is working on a new Martenot prototype, and, like its inventor, “dreams of it day and night.” Dierstein allows us to be the timely witnesses of the rebirth of one of the 20th century's major musical innovations.
Director Caroling Martel:
Award-winning filmmaker Caroline Martel's work has been presented to critical acclaim internationally, including at the Toronto International Film Festival and IDFA, on SRC, NHK, and SVT, at the Museum of Modern Art and the Georges Pompidou Centre, as well as at the Flaherty Seminar. Martel has been synthesizing documentary theory and practice for over a decade, with a special interest in archives, invisible histories, and audio/visual technologies and heritage.
“Wavemakers is the result of six years of research and interacting with people involved with the Martenot in Québec, France and Japan. Their sense of curiosity, their attachment to the instrument's artisanal and somewhat uncontrollable aspects, their humour, and their love for a job well done inspired and coloured the long-term process I adopted with my collaborators. It is an honour for me to help preserve this heritage and spread the word about the instrument, and to reveal Martenot and his instrument as one of the missing links in our understanding of the history of 20th-century music. But most of all, I hope that Wavemakers will resonate with and in you. As Maurice Martenot liked to say, “the instrument is first and foremost ourselves…” - Martel.
Where does the ethereal cry of the ondes Martenot come from? From electricity. Invisible matter, a universal force, vibrates through the sky, the earth, the body… human intervention comes in and, suddenly, it becomes a musical voice. This is the encounter that Wavemakers relates —told through the work and instrument of Maurice Martenot, a musician and tinkerer, but above all a passionate educator.
The ondes Martenot seeped into my life as I was completing The Phantom of the Operator (2004). While we were searching for a musical colour to give an overall tone to the film, my colleague, the editor Annie Jean, recalled the existence of an old electronic instrument with the strange name of “ondes Martenot” —which, translated literally, means “Martenot waves.” And so began my quest to find, hear, see, and understand these “waves”.
It was through Montréal ondist Suzanne Binet-Audet that I finally came upon the instrument, and came under its spell. As impressed as I was by the finesse and unbridled genius of Binet-Audet's playing (the “Jimi Hendrix of the Martenot”), I was also occasionally overcome by the quarter-tones and what seemed to be the sometimes “too lyrical” vibrato of the Martenot itself. Its incredibly pure tones had the power to evoke sudden emotion in me, arisen from who knows where. So, having developed a rapport with this instrument that can leave no one indifferent —and whose infinitely diverse range of timbres will never cease to amaze me— I found that I, too, had been bitten by the Martenot bug.
As I toured film festivals around the world with Phantom of the Operator, the ether waves of the Martenot followed me. Inevitably, during Q&As, I was asked about the film's mysterious soundtrack. Rather than trying to explain the complex instrument workings and its obscure history, I quickly came to sense that this was a story best to reveal with the means of cinema. And with the Phantom of the Operator's poster with its phantom waves, was the muse not in fact gazing dreamily toward this next project? While Wavemakers presents the ondes Martenot on the big screen for the first time, the film is not strictly speaking about a musical instrument. As the documentary filmmaker Pierre Perrault said, “I pursue the pursuits of Men, and not the object of their pursuits.” An extension of the senses for those who play it, and an intriguing interface for those trying to rebuild it or examine it under science's microscope, the ondes Martenot is an instrument of revelation; it is, as I hope this film will be, an interface through which we can catch a glimpse of the vibrations of human imagination.
In the back of the documentary filmmaker's mind is often an underlying creative tension: to take a subject to further one's aim to create a film as an expression of one's vision, or to serve the subject itself by making a film, by giving it “a voice” in its own terms? With Wavemakers, I made the choice not to choose. I wanted to portray the Martenot's universe, remaining somehow faithful to it —or, more precisely, keeping true to its spirit. But, while the instrument is still a well-guarded secret from another time, not well known to younger generations, I wanted to depict its legacy in a timely way. Though long associated with rarefied classical and contemporary music, the Martenot is anything but a vintage instrument of musical effects, and I also strove to present its repertoire in its less conventional, more popular, or surprising variations.
For me, modulating the form of a documentary film to its “subject” is the best way to avoid falling into the prevailing ready-to-see documentary moulds. Letting the “subject” come out on its own terms gave way to the tone, the style and the very structure of the film's narrative: musical, flowing, broad in range and with a long breath. More importantly, Wavemakers is an open work whose structure allows viewers to find both immediate and more distant resonances. In the end, the film eludes categorization: not a musical documentary, a historical portrait, an experimental audiovisual essay, pure vérité, nor simply a film about a musical instrument.
“They're approaches, right? They're all approximations. Then there's one that's really close… that's the sound that brings us close to something.”
– Suzanne Binet-Audet
Wavemakers is the result of six years of research and interacting with people involved with the Martenot in Québec, France and Japan. Their sense of curiosity, their attachment to the instrument's artisanal and somewhat uncontrollable aspects, their humour, and their love for a job well done inspired and coloured the long-term process I adopted with my collaborators. It is an honour for me to help preserve this heritage and spread the word about the instrument, and to reveal Martenot and his instrument as one of the missing links in our understanding of the history of 20th-century music. But most of all, I hope that Wavemakers will resonate with and in you. As Maurice Martenot liked to say, “the instrument is first and foremost ourselves…”
Matt Brubeck is a ßcomposer and performer specializing in improvisation on the cello. Classically trained, with a Master's in cello performance from Yale, Matt is at ease in multiple genres and has taken his cello improvisation skills into diverse musical territories. Matt is a Juno Award winner and performs with an array of jazz and improvising artists. Projects include Stretch Orchestra, Ugly Beauties, and Brubeck Braid.
Ben Grossman is a busy musician: improviser, studio musician, composer, noise maker and audio provocateur. He works in many fields, having played on dozens of CDs, soundtracks for film and television,sound design for theatre, installations, work designed for radio transmission, and live performances spanning early medieval music to experimental electronica.
|Power to the People: Video Activism
10am Ed Video / Saturday / FREE
Carbon Rush director Amy Miller will de-mystify the process of creating videos for use in environmental and social justice activism. She will explore how to design simple but effective media to reach out to new audiences and inspire them to join your fight for a better world!
Amy Miller is a media maker and social justice organizer based in Montréal. She is currently in post production for her new documentary ‘No land no food no life’ a hard hitting film on the economy, agricultural land grabs and the changes to farmers lives around the world. She recently finished directing and producing the documentary ‘The Carbon Rush’ a global exposé on how carbon offset projects impact local peoples. She directed and produced the featurette documentary ‘Myths for Profit: Canada’s Role In Industries of War and Peace’ which was screened thoroughly across Canada and at festivals including the Milano Film Festival, RIDM and won the Peoples Choice award at the Bay Street Film Festival. Her first doc ‘Outside of EUrope’, on the exclusionary nature of immigration and border policies continues to be screened around the world. She persists to focus on developing critical documentaries for transformative social change and helping out grassroots campaigns for justice.
||Lifting the Lid on the Animator’s Brain
Finding the life in life around us... and getting it up on screen.
Sunday, November 10, 1pm
With both animated and live-action film clips, plus anecdotes culled from more than two decades in the entertainment industry trenches, Stephen Barnes will share some of the thinking that goes into memorable performances. Covering everything from lip sync to pushing poses, this talk will give everyone a sense of the sort of mind space occupied by top flight actors and animators.
Sunday, November 10 • 10am
Ed Video • FREE
Workshop is 90min • For ages 8-12
Stephen Barnes leads a hands-on workshop using your iPad and your imagination to bring your screen to life! We will email registrants beforehand with details on the appropriate app you will need to load so that you can come prepared to create a short animated clip (or three!) that you take home. Limited number of spaces available, bring an iPad.
Limited space! to enroll email email@example.com
Stephen Barnes is a graduate of Sheridan College's Classical Animation program and currently an instructor at his alma mater, in both the Classical and Computer Animation departments. For over 20 years, Stephen has worked on everything from shorts and corporate videos, to video games at Lucasarts and feature films - including Toy Story 2, A Bug's Life, Monsters, Inc., and the Oscar-winning Geri's Game, for Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, CA. His independent works have been screened theatrically in over 15 countries, winning awards in the Berlin International Film Festival's Kinderfilmfest, CBC's Telefest, and the 8th Chicago International Children's Film Festival, among others.
He has sat on the selection committees for both the Ottawa International Animation Festival (1996) and the Ontario Arts Council Awards to Artists (Film & Video, 1994) and was a member of the Board of Directors of the Toronto Animated Image Society (1991-1995). A grant recipient from both the Canada Council and the Ontario Arts Council, Stephen was an Artist-in-Residence at the Ed Video Media Arts Centre during the introduction of consumer-accessible computer graphics. Stephen is also a published author/illustrator, and is now in the throes of producing his next short animated film, Birdbrain.