Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 29/10/2018 (350 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Danielle Sturk is ready to serve up her latest creative work.
Her latest film — El Toro — will make its world premiere at the 2018 Gimme Some Truth Documentary Festival on Sun., Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. at Cinematheque, which is located at 304-100 Arthur St. in Winnipeg’s Exchange District.
According to a news release, the film takes a look "through the lens of memory, nostalgia and love, and invites the audience into the reconstructed world of a family-run diner deep in the entrails of 1960s industrial St. Boniface." Sturk’s family used to run a diner in the St. Boniface Industrial Park area.
Using animation, stop motion and surreal live-action, the story of the DeGagné family is told through the voice of seven siblings, the lens of Gabriel Levesque and Brian Rougeau’s camera and the hand of editor Dany Joyal. It also features the illustrations of Diana Thorneycroft, models by Peter Graham and Janelle Tougas, animation by Sturk and Rhayne Vermette, and visual effects by Stephanein Boulet.
"It’s fair to say the film is light, but it has some dark moments," said Sturk, who lives in St. Boniface.
A labour of love for its creator, Sturk — who wrote, produced and directed El Toro — has been working on the project — which has been described as an animated hybrid documentary — on and off for several years. As part of the film’s narrative, Sturk went through a series of audio interviews with her mother’s siblings and some of their partners to essentially provide a soundtrack to go with the eclectic visual collages that provide the film’s imagery.
"I feel really happy I did the project this way," said Sturk, whose award-winning films have screened widely at numerous festivals festivals such as Rendez-Vous du cinéma québécois, Reframe International Film Festival, Gimli Film Festival and St. John’s Women’s Film Festival.
"It makes the story come alive and rebuilds a place that no longer exists."
Located on Dawson Road, the family diner was run by Sturk’s working-class grandparents. Part of the inspiration for the film was the fact that stories about the famed diner would emanate around the dinner table at family gatherings, which added to the legend.
"There were these mythological stories spinning around and coming from a family with a history of food. I felt this was a way to bring them back and honour their hard work. My grandparents worked so hard to raise eight children, and I knew there was a story to be told," Sturk said.
"Creatively, it’s been very enjoyable, and I was excited to share it. It was a warm, loving, tactile experience, and it’s a celebration. It’s an echo of a time past that still holds a lot of meaning for me. I still have the plates from my diner at my house."
Adding that the project represented one of the first times she had "a singular vision and end game" for a creative project of this nature, Sturk said she enjoyed the process of collaboration.
"I was still at the steering wheel, but there were a lot of people in the vehicle," she said, with a laugh.
This film was made with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Manitoba Arts Council, the Winnipeg Arts Council and ACTRA Manitoba.
Go online at daniellesturk.ca for more information.
Community journalist — The Lance
Simon Fuller is the community journalist for The Lance. Email him at email@example.com Call him at 204-697-7111