Innovative films coming to a screen near you
Festival promises departure from mainstream movies
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 01/10/2019 (1101 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
For those film fans who crave something different from the latest action blockbuster or predictable rom-com, the 2019 WNDX Festival of Moving Image takes place this week, with a lineup of innovative new work by artists from across the country.
“The festival has been a fantastic support for experimental artists in the city and nationally,” says Cinematheque programmer Dave Barber, the event’s publicist.
“It packs in five days of electrifying experimental cinema with visiting artists, workshops and performances, and eight programs of new innovative shorts.”
“The festival is experimental, first and foremost,” adds Shimby Zegeye-Gebrehiwot, the festival’s workshop, events and programming co-ordinator. “We are less interested in programming based on themes and more into seeing what subjects come up, linking work in ways that is at times disparate.”
WNDX kicks off on Oct. 2 with the Manitoba première of Cranks, a film by Ryan McKenna that uses recordings of the CJOB Action Line call-in radio program — and strange letters written to its host, Peter Warren — to create a portrait of the city of Winnipeg.
Other Manitoba debuts include the found-footage documentary Danny by Aaron Zeghers and Lewis Bennett, and numerous short films, including Mer Bleue by Cecilia Araneda, Métis Femmes Bodies by Chanelle Lajoie, Teeth and Worms by Alison Davis, Shifting Steps by Heidi Phillips and After Birth by the Ephemerals.
A screening of Thirza Cuthand Is: Video + Performance by Saskatchewan’s Thirza Cuthand will take place on Oct. 3, followed by the debut of her new performance, Extractions. Cuthand’s work explores themes of sexuality, identity, mental illness, the environment and Indigeneity, and has been featured at festivals around the world. She was a 2017 Hnatyshyn Foundation REVEAL Indigenous Art Award winner and was featured in the 2019 Whitney Biennial, a long-running survey of influential contemporary art at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City.
The Object and the Body: Short Films by Nazlı Dinçel will screen on Oct. 4. The Turkish-American director has established herself as one of the most radical experimental filmmakers working today. Dinçel will be in attendance to facilitate a workshop on Oct. 5 about the film-manipulation techniques she uses in her practice.
Also on Oct. 5 is an encore performance of Winnipeg intermedia artist Davis Plett’s Études for Keyboard (disclosure: the work was directed by this reporter), which premièred to sold-out audiences at the Cluster New Music + Integrated Arts Festival earlier this year. The multimedia piece experiments heavily with style and form and won the WNDX prize for best Prairie work.
Closing night of the festival features the 14th annual One Take Super 8, where participants are given a single 50-foot roll of super 8 millimetre film and have four weeks to shoot a film in a single take. The event has generated work that has gone on to find success at film festivals across the world.
For people who aren’t familiar with the festival, experimental film or are just not sure where to start, Zegeye-Gebrehiwot has a recommendation: “A good starter screening would be Long Distance Calls,” the co-ordinator says. “It features Video Home System by Sharlene Bamboat.”
The film traces the convergence of pop culture and politics in Pakistan during the ’80s and ’90s and won the WNDX Festival award for best Canadian film.
Though the films at WNDX aren’t your standard popcorn fare, there will be snacks available at the screenings.
“Our Thursday evening and weekend daytime programming will be dry events, while our other events will have a cash bar,” Zegeye-Gebrehiwo says. “There will also be plenty of food!”
The festival takes place at Cinematheque, Platform Gallery and the Rachel Brown Theatre. It opens Oct. 2 and runs until Oct. 6. Tickets and passes range from $10 to $20 and are available at wndx.org.
Frances Koncan (she/her) is a writer, theatre director, and failed musician of mixed Anishinaabe and Slovene descent. Originally from Couchiching First Nation, she is now based in Treaty 1 Territory right here in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Updated on Tuesday, October 1, 2019 8:21 AM CDT: Adds photos