Billed as a four-day forum for documentary films, Gimme Some Truth feels more like a well-rounded film festival in its 2013 incarnation. The subject matter covered in the annual reality-based film phantasmagoria is as diverse as any major film festival, encompassing musicals, deeply personal drama, video games, wrestling, kid movies and local interest. There's even a midnight movie program designated for edgier material.
This latter component signals the fest has come under new management from programmer Jaimz Asmundson, the Winnipeg Film Group programming director who brought a transgressive sensibility to his WNDX film festival.
"I guess I tried to go by the model that was set, but to put a bit of my own flavour to it," Asmundson says, citing filmmaker Jonathan Caouette's dazzling films Tarnation and Walk Away, Renee as films that personally resonate. Both films centre on Caouette's relationship with his schizophrenic mother.
"My mom was bipolar and that's influenced my work," Asmundson says. "So I'm interested in how he was able to tackle such a difficult subject. I'm especially excited to see him show his films and talk about not only about the making of them. It's amazing how the films are put together, encompassing so many different genres, yet it's documentary at its core."
Other films that qualify as "documentary to the core" include:
Metal: A Headbanger's Journey
Thursday, March 14, at 7 p.m.
The opening-night screening is a disarming look at heavy metal by filmmakers (and avowed metalheads) Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen, who will introduce their film. Dunn is an anthropologist and brings that analytic attitude to the subject of heavy-metal music.
McFadyen and Dunn will also screen the film's sequel, Global Metal (a look at how metal translates in other cultures including Brazil, Japan and India), at 9 p.m. Saturday, March 16, and lead a master class on music documentary that morning at 10 a.m.
"I really don't think those films are just for metalheads," says Asmundson. "They're just fascinating."
Indie Game: The Movie
Friday, March 15, at 4 p.m.
One of the best docs from local talent in recent memory, this film by James Swirsky and Lisanne Pajot takes a look at a few dogged designers who work outside the multibillion-dollar mainstream video-game market to create their own quirky lo-fi games for a marketplace that might just make them overnight millionaires. Swirsky and Pajot will introduce their film.
Tarnation, Friday, March 15, at 7 p.m.
This 2004 film upped the ante of the personal documentary, with filmmaker Jonathan Caouette turning the camera on himself and his highly dysfunctional family, a project that began when Caouette's schizophrenic mother overdosed on her lithium medication. Caouette will participate in a master class on Sunday, March 17, at 10 a.m. in the form of a conversation with local filmmaker Noam Gonick, as well as present the sequel to Tarnation, Walk Away Renee, about his cross-country mission to move his mother from a mental facility to his own city, Saturday, March 16, at 7 p.m.
GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, Friday, March 15 at 9 p.m.
GLOW, an all-female response to the World Wrestling Federation in the mid-'80s, was a sensation that disappeared as quickly as it appeared. Programmer Kier-La Janisse introduces this 2012 doc that takes an inside look at the women's wrestling phenomenon as it manifested itself in tawdry '80s style.
Chickenhawk: Men Who Love Boys, Saturday, March 16 at 11 p.m.
Upon its release in 1994, this doc about the admitted pedophiles of NAMBLA (The North American Man-Boy Love Association) was rendered a cinematic hot potato on its subject matter alone. It will be introduced by its director Adi Sideman and former Cinematheque programmer Janisse, who brings the film to the festival. (Note: Both this and GLOW qualify as the fest's midnight movie program, despite their non-midnight time slots.)
We're Not Kidding (Docs for Kids), Sunday, March 17 at 2 p.m.
A selection of short documentary films for kids, including one work about a boy who collects vacuum cleaners and another documenting an interview exchange between a boy with Asperger's Syndrome and his mom. Skate punks might want to check out The Devil's Toy, Claude Jutra's 15-minute short about rebellious skateboarders from (gasp!) 1966.
Dollar Store Dreams: The Films of Mike Maryniuk, Sunday Mar 17 at 7 p.m.
Because local filmmaker Mike Maryniuk was the former programmer of Gimme Some Truth, a program of his eccentric films has never been deemed appropriate for the fest -- until now. Cinematheque programmer Dave Barber helped put together this program of Maryniuk's films, including Cattle Call (his partly animated collaboration with Matthew Rankin) and his latest, Packing Up the Wagon: The Last Days of Wagon Wheel Lunch, a collaboration with John Scoles about the legendary downtown restaurant as it prepared to close forever.