Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 3/3/2016 (837 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
When it was founded 20 years ago, before being subtitled as an "International Film Festival for Kids of All Ages," Freeze Frame was a modest affair. Now it qualifies as the biggest film festival in Manitoba and the second longest-running.
This year’s edition cuts a wide swath of subjects and themes with films from all over the world. The fest establishes its global reach with its opening night film, Bekas (Sunday, March 6 at 7 p.m. at the Centre culturel franco-manitobain), about two young Kurdish orphans fleeing Saddam Hussein’s Iraq with the vague intention of getting to America. The film’s director, Karzan Kader, based the film on his own childhood experiences.
"This extraordinary film makes you experience what it feels like to be a child in a civil war," says Freeze Frame’s artistic director Pascal Boutroy. The first screening of Bekas will be a fundraiser for two Manitoba organizations that help refugees: IRCOM House and L’Accueil Francophone.
Hördur (Friday, March 11, at 11 a.m. and Saturday, March 12, at 11 a.m. at CCFM) tells the story of a rebellious Turkish teen living in Germany who finds her purpose when she bonds with the Icelandic horse of the title while doing community service. In German with English subtitles. Turkish director Ekrem Ergün will be in attendance at the final free screening on Sunday, March 13, at 3 p.m. at CCFM.
The Tough Guys (Thursday, March 10, at 1 p.m. and Saturday, March 12, at 2:30 p.m.) is a Norwegian comedy, with English subtitles, about a good-hearted boy who makes himself the target of bullies in a strategy designed to distract them from the other kids.
Labyrinthus (Monday, March 7, at 1 p.m.; Tuesday, March 8, at 1 p.m.; and Sunday March 13, at 1 p.m. at CCFM) is a fantasy adventure in which a gamer discovers the kids in his neighbourhood are being uploaded into the sinister computer game he’s been playing.
Aurélie Laflamme - les pieds sur terre (Sunday, March 6, at 2:30 p.m.; Monday, March 7, at 10 a.m.; and Tuesday, March 8, at 10 a.m. at CCFM) examines the final year of high school for Aurélie, who still doesn’t have a handle on what she wants to do. The film is based on the popular series of novels by Quebec author India Desjardins. She will be in attendance at the first screening on Sunday.
— Randall King
Beloved folk-rock songstress Amelia Curran will be rolling through town Sunday, March 6, to play a show at the Good Will Social Club.
Curran, who originally hails from St. John’s, N.L., has seven full-length albums under her belt since she began her professional career in 2000. She has been nominated for both Junos and East Coast Music Awards for her last three efforts, including a 2015 Juno nod in the Roots and Traditional Album of the Year category for her newest release, They Promised You Mercy.
Curran is known for her lyricism (with her news release going so far as to call it "knife-sharp") and she is often compared to songwriting heavy-hitters such as Leonard Cohen thanks to her ability to craft tunes that are emotional, intelligent and connect with all aspects of the human spirit.
They Promised You Mercy explores more of the rock side of her folk-rock designation, introducing a denser, more textured sound that includes horn, organ and, occasionally, some gritty guitar. It’s a few paces away from the more stripped-down feel of albums past, but suits Curran’s voice and style just as well.
Curran was last in town for the inaugural run of Interstellar Rodeo, a music festival hosted by her label, Six Shooter Records, held in Winnipeg last August.
Tickets for the show are $20.50 and are available through Ticketmaster.
— Erin Lebar
Winnipeg (and, to an extent, Saskatoon) is the setting for science-fiction writer Robert J. Sawyer’s latest novel Quantum Night — his 23rd — and he doesn’t shy away from asking tough questions about evil, psychopaths and the lack of conscience in many humans.
Sawyer’s at McNally Robinson Booksellers Thurday, March 3, at 7 p.m. as part of a 13-city Canadian tour in support of his latest, a novel that took three years to write – an uncharacteristically long time for a guy that typically pumps out a book a year. Quantum Night was derailed when the author received news his younger was dying of lung cancer. "It took the wind out of my sails – I didn’t feel like writing," says the author from his home in Mississauga. "If there’s an advantage, it’s that I spent 2013 doing research on this book, and it really shows in the texture and nuance that’s on the page."
In Quantum Night protagonist Jim Marchuk – a Winnipeg-based experimental psychologist – has perfected a technique for detecting psychopaths. Together with ex-girlfriend/quantum physicist Kayla Huron, they set about trying to change human nature as a wave of violence and hate sweeps across the globe.
"When I started off I had the same misconception most people do – that if you want to talk psychopaths we’re talking Adolf Hitler and Paul Bernardo in real life, and Hannibal Lecter and Dexter in fiction," Sawyer says.
In Quantum Night the psychopaths walk among us in a more nuanced, subtle capacity. "Psychopathy is a much broader condition —just as evil and manipulative, but not necessarily as blood-soaked as popular culture had hitherto made us feel," he explains. "Psychopathy might lurk behind the mask of sanity. It could be your banker, your brother-in-law... or surgeons, for instance, who get money and prestige and whose job lets them slit people open like trout and rummage around their innards."
Sawyer spent a total of four months in Winnipeg, and cites the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the Maclean’s article on Winnipeg being Canada’s most racist city, the plight of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls (an important plot thread in Quantum Night) and the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine rivers as being key to setting the story here.
He’s a stickler for details, and stresses getting facts right — including Winnipeg’s many details. "Science fiction should not be dismissed as escapism," he explains. "It is a profound vehicle for talking about social and political issues. Everything that I can do to ground the story in reality helps make it harder for people to be dismissive of it."
— Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson
For most young musicians and vocalists, events like the Winnipeg Music Festival are rites of passage. They provide an opportunity to put the skills honed during a long winter of practices and rehearsals into one big moment before the judges.
For a few, the festival is a stepping stone to even greater things in the music world. For fans, it’s a chance to hear the future of Winnipeg’s music scene. In 2015, Thunder Bay’s Gregory Lewis won the Aikins trophy in grand style by performing with two different instruments, violin and piano. A week later mezzo-soprano University of Manitoba vocal student Jillian Bonner surprised herself by winning the Rose Bowl trophy, and later that spring would go on to perform with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.
The festival kicks off on Saturday, March 5, at 1:30 p.m at Churchill Park United Church (25 Beresford Ave.), where vocalists 16 and under will vie for the W.H. Anderson Memorial Trophy and vocalists 18 and under compete for the Alma Wynne Memorial Trophy.
Adjudicated performances continue the rest of the month at venues all around the city, with highlights including the Aikins Memorial Trophy (the festival’s top instrumental performance) taking place at the Winnipeg Art Gallery on Saturday, March 12, and the Rose Bowl event (top vocal performance) Saturday, March 19, at Westminster United Church (745 Westminster Ave.). A final gala, which will include some of the best performers during the festival, is Sunday, March 20, also at Westminster United Church.
— Alan Small
Love to own an original local piece of art but think it’s out of your price range? At The Forks Market this weekend, Red River College graphic design students will create works of art before spectators’ eyes; the pieces will then be auctioned off to the highest bidder. Proceeds will be split between Winnipeg Harvest and the Red River College graphic design students’ graduation fund.
Tickets are $10 at the door on Friday, March 4, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday, March 5, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., The Forks Centre Court.
Comedian Jon Ljungburg will auction off the work on Saturday, which will also feature a wine-and-cheese reception where buyers can mingle with the artists. Ticket price includes a glass of wine.