CONVENIENTLY nestled in the Artspace building on the corner of Bannatyne and Arthur, Cinematheque is at ground zero of the Winnipeg Fringe Festival, even if it ceased being an official fringe venue a couple of years ago.
But the theatre becomes a fringe venue
again, after a fashion, starting tonight with
the Fringe Actors Film Festival, a showcase
of miscellaneous short films featuring local
actors appearing elsewhere -- in the flesh
-- in various fringe venues.
If it seems as if Cinematheque is simply
cashing in on fringe fever, be assured at
least one of the short films in the
program, Shawna Dempsey and
Lorri Millan's 1997 video
Speck: It's So Illogical, is a
Star Trek-inspired piece that
has its origins in the fringe
festival, according to its writerstar
The work was written for
the annual fringe event in the
mid-'90s called The Women's
Cabaret, says Bajer, who
plays a bipolar Vulcan female
called "Speck" in the film. In
1996, the assigned theme of
the cabaret was "the forgotten
"I thought, 'What if Spock
had a sister, and she was forgotten
and everything she did was
illogical?'" Bajer says.
Bajer had planned to write an entire
fringe show around this invention,
and created the video as its centrepiece
in collaboration with Dempsey, Millan
for the work).
the video was
the only surviving
that scheme, although
Bajer says the video has
screened in some odd places, including farflung
While the film demonstrates Bajer's
considerable stage presence, she stays offstage
at this year's fringe to direct Joseph
Aragon's well-received Bloodless: The Trial
of Burke and Hare at Venue 9.
Far more visible (in every sense of the
word) on the fringe stage is actress Talia
Pura, on view as the legendary vamp in
Mata Hari; Eroticism and Espionage at
Venue 4 and as the sour ghost of a bootlegger
in Prairie Spirits at Venue 8. Pura
scores a fringe trifecta with the debut of
her self-directed short film The Strawberry
Confession, in which she plays a woman
whose daily trip to the confessional (usually
for the most trivial of sins) yields a big surprise
for the sleepy priest (Wayne Nicklas)
obliged to listen.
Pura says she hadn't expected to appear
in Prairie Spirits, the sequel to the 2007
fringe play The Good Daughter, as her character
died in that one.
"I found out I was back and I hadn't expected
it," she says. Fortunately, Pura didn't
have any scheduling problems when Cinematheque
programmer Dave Barber asked
he if she would put The Strawberry Confession
on the film program. Since the story
started out as monologue from a past fringe
production, it only seemed appropriate.
And if Pura risks too much visibility,
well, it wasn't a problem for the actress who
appeared as a nude art school model a few
fringes ago. Pura takes challenges as they
come, whether onstage or onscreen.
"In this community, you do what you have
to do to feed the creative spirit, and you
have to do all sorts of things," she says.
Acting Up a Storm: Fringe Actors Film
Festival, screens at 9 p.m. Wednesday and
Thursday, 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and
at 7 p.m. next Wednesday, July 29.
"ö F*** It!: Regular fringe player Arlea Ashcroft,
who helped create the Headless Woman exhibit in
Market Square (and who, word on the street suggests,
may herself portray the show's headless heroine) stars as
a single woman who redefines phone sex in this provocative
Winnipeg Film Group work from 2000.
"ö The Director's Cut: Frequent fringe contributor Mike
Bell stars as a pompous film director forced to take violent
action against his shallow, pretty-boy leading man in this
2005 comedy by Jason Lapeyre.
"ö Cowards Bend the Knee: Guy Maddin's film stars
Darcy Fehr (on view in Under the Glacier at Venue 1)
as ... Guy Maddin, in an autobiographical tale
distorted through the lens of Maddin's
melodramatic style. The feature screens one
night only on Sunday at 7 p.m,