Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/9/2011 (3071 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Canadian cinema tends to fly in the face of mainstream — that is to say, American — cinema.
In the case of the WNDX film fest, now in its sixth year, the ante is upped with a body of film work that isn't just uniquely Canadian, it's just plain unique. This is cinema with its freak flag flying, experimental, odd and fluttering in the face of conventional narrative and conventional images.
The appetite for such film is growing, according to festival co-ordinator Jaimz Asmundson.
"Over the last few years, there's been an ongoing increase in attendance outside the circle of the artistically inclined who initially wanted to come check it out," Asmundsen says. "People just aren't being challenged, and they're excited to have their perceptions challenged of what is film and what is art."
On the four-day WNDX program:
— People This 2012 S-is Hype (Cinematheque, at 7 p.m.)
The first half of the opening-night program is "prairie cinema" but consider that designation fast and loose since the kickoff film is The Nutrient Express, a short by last year's WNDX guest of honour, San Francisco-based experimental film pioneer George Kuchar, who died only a few weeks ago. It's a strange, playful, food-fixated travelogue of Winnipeg wherein Kuchar videos himself making coffee in his hotel suite, or eating cake with Guy Maddin at a local Exchange District restaurant.
"It's become a bit of eulogy," Asmundson says of the film. "It's a really funny film and it's great to have George's sense of humour at the festival."
The second half of the program represents the rest of Canada, including the Quebec film that gives the program its title.
— Itwé Collective (Cinematheque, Friday, at 7 p.m.)
Winnipeg filmmakers Caroline Monnet, Sébastien Aubin and Kevin Lee Burton form this collective of experimental filmmakers examining aboriginal themes in their work. The seven shorts in the program include Monnet's celebrated 2009 work IKWÉ, a contemporary meditation on an ancient relationship.
— New Prairie & Canadian Cinema: Controlled Breach (Cinematheque, at 9 p.m.)
More samplings of Canadian experimentation include the superb, moving animated short Spirit of the Bluebird. Cree artist Jesse Gouchey went to the scene of a crime — the murder of a Calgary woman named Gloria Black Plume — and uses a fence and garage as a canvas on which he paints a huge animated tableau depicting a bluebird in flight. The program also features The Yodeling Farmer, a half-animated/half-live-action portrait of Manitoba yodelling champ Stew Clayton by Mike Maryniuk and John Scoles. By themselves, these two films demonstrate the technical virtuosity of the better experimental films.
— Guy Maddin Artist Talk (Platform Gallery, Saturday, 3 p.m.)
With the closing of Maddin's month-long, multi-film Hauntings I installation at the Platform, Maddin explains it all for you. Maybe.
— Joyce Wieland: Program 1 (Cinematheque, Saturday, at 5 p.m.)
Wieland, an experimental filmmaker once married to Canfilm avant-garde's grand old man, Michael Snow, has a body of work extending over three decades and if some of it is dated (Rat Life and Diet in North America is an exemplar of '60s radicalism, complete with a truly obnoxious jazz soundtrack), much of it endures. The second half of Wieland's film work screens Sunday at 3 p.m.
— International Experimental: Winning the Human Race (Cinematheque, Saturday, at 7 p.m.)
Opening up the experimental realm to the rest of the world, this program includes 28.IV.81 (Descending Figures), a dual projection film capturing the bizarre spectacle of the torture and execution of Jesus Christ as depicted in Orlando's Holy Land Experience Theme Park.
— Cyborg Cinema (Saturday, 9 p.m.)
WNDX hits the street with an event at the intersection of Portage Avenue and Notre Dame where Iraqi artist Wafaa Bilal and Winnipeg's Andrew Milne demonstrate a biological approach to their respective art. Bilal has a camera attached to the back of his head which he uses to transmit images, one per minute, to a website. Milne uses an electroencephalography machine (EEG) to capture his neural activity and transmit it to a video projection.
— The One Take Super 8 Event (Sunday, 7 p.m. at the Gas Station Theatre)
Call this a creative competition, screening works competitors created on a single reel of unedited Super 8 film. Admission is $10.
Today to Sunday
Single tickets $8, WNDX Pass $20
In a way, Randall King was born into the entertainment beat.