Moments of Perception: Experimental Film in Canada
Screening – Discussion – Book Launch
with Jim Shedden (AGO) and Dr. Michael Zryd (York)
March 17th 2022, 7PM
Wenjack Theatre, Trent University
For years, experimental filmmakers in Canada have been exploring national identity through their filmmaking. From Joyce Wieland’s Reason Over Passion, which deconstructs the words of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau – to Gariné Torossian’s Girl From Moush, which explores diaspora and the cultural mosaic that constitute Canadian life, avant-garde artists in Canada have been pushing against the status quo and dissecting and reformulating what it means to be Canadian.
In its attempts to create a collective national identity, Canada has historically relied on the rhetoric of “we are not the United States” (used the tactic of reminding ourselves that we are not the United States). While there are undoubtedly aspects of our national identity that separate us from our neighbours to the south, this tendency to distinguish ourselves based on this idea alone, has caused us to neglect the colonialism and systemic racism within Canada’s history. Further, because many Canadian experimental filmmakers first gained success in the United States and we still rely on American institutions to canonize and preserve Canadian experimental film, this question of national identity remains entangled with American cultural imperialism.
The first history of Canadian experimental filmmaking, Moments of Perception is a landmark book that maps avant-garde film across the country from the 1950s to the present, including it’s contributions and complexities. Featuring a major essay on the history of the movement by Michael Zryd and profiles of key filmmakers by Stephen Broomer and editors Jim Shedden and Barbara Sternberg, Moments of Perception offers a fresh perspective on the ever-evolving history of Canada’s experimental film and moving image media arts.
Canadian Images is Conversation proudly presents Moments of Perception: Experimental Film in Canada book launch and screening March 17, 2022 at 7pm in Wenjack Theatre, Trent University. The screening features the work of 12 filmmakers from across Canada from various backgrounds. Please join us for a discussion with authors Michael Zryd and Jim Shedden on the films, the book, and the complexity of defining “Canadian” while acknowledging that “Canada sits on lands that have been inhabited by Indigenous people for millennia and has legacies of settlement and genocide that persists to this day” (19).
Michael Snow, Standard Time, 1967, 8 min, 16mm
Lindsay McIntyre, all-around junior male, 2012, 7.5 min, 16mm
Barbara Sternberg, Time Being, 2014, 2 min, 16mm
Joyce Wieland, Rat Life and Diet in North America, 1968, 16 min, 16mm
David Rimmer, Migration, 1969, 11 min, 16mm
Midi Onodera, The Bird that Chirped on Bathurst, 1981, 3.5 min, 16mm
Stephen Broomer, Mills, 2016, 3.5 min, 16mm
Gariné Torossian, Girl from Moush, 1993, 6 min, 16mm
Cara Mumford, The Cave, 2020, 4 min, Digital Video
Kelly Egan, Athyrium Filix Femina (For Anna Atkins), 2016, 4 min, Digital Video
Rhayne Vermette, Black Rectangle, 2014, 2 min, Digital Video
Mining (and Manipulating) the Home Movie
Artist Talk 7PM October 16th 2021
Films available 9am October 16th – October 23rd
An often untapped source of historical evidence, home movies (and other types of orphaned film) offer a snapshot of Canadian life not recorded in mainstream histories of our country. While they can help people discover and remember our collective history, some historians and culture theorists have criticized their use as historical evidence, citing that they tend to idealize the past through what was filmed, how it was filmed, and who was filming. Containing personal and found home movies, as well as other types of source material, the films in this program reflect on the complexities of home movies and the realities they depict through the ways they incorporate and manipulate their source material. Emphasizing themes of memory and decay, the films raise questions about how our collective history should be remembered. Who gets to tell our stories? How should those stories be told? How can we begin documenting the past in a way that is reflective of different cultural groups?
Christina Battle, nostalgia (April 2001to present), 2005, 4 min, 16mm
Critiques our idealistic view of the past by distorting images and sound.
Eva Kolcze and Philip Hoffman, By The Time We Got To Expo, 9 min, Digital
Re-visits Expo 67 by manipulating footage from the event with different photochemical processes.
John Kneller, Separation, 2008, 6:30 min, 16mm
Separates the different colours of the film emulsion of home movies, drawing attention to the layered materiality of the film strip.
Amanda Dawn Christie, Mechanical Memory, 2005, 5 min, 16mm
Explores the decay of memory and the filmstrip using super 8mm footage taken by the filmmaker’s father.
Sara Angelucci, Snow, 2000, 5 minutes, digital
Uses the final fragments of home movies to create a series of “endings,” each one being obliterated by the white dots that appear at the end of each filmstrip.
Freda Guttman, Film Muet / Silent Movie, 1994, 9:20 min, digital
Experiments with 8mm home movie footage of the filmmaker to explore how familial roles are represented in the space of the home movie.
Louise Bourque, Imprint, 1997, 14 min, 16mm
Alters home movie footage of the filmmaker’s family home through tinting, bleaching, and other experimental practices.
Lindsay McIntyre, her silent life, 2011, 31 min, digital
Uses filmed images and audio interviews to explore the life of the filmmaker’s Inuk great-grandmother.
The experimental filmmakers whose work is in this program will discuss the idealistic nature of home movies and how their work addresses issues of memory and decay.
The Early Works of Shelley Niro: It Starts With a Whisper and Honey Moccasin
MARKET HALL PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE(140 Charlotte St.)
March 3rd at 7pm (Doors Open at 6:30)
The Canadian Images in Conversation Collective presents “The Early Works of Shelley Niro – ‘It Starts With a Whisper’ and ‘Honey Moccasin.'” Join us for an artist talk with Shelley Niro following the films!
“It Starts With A Whisper” (1993) follows eighteen-year-old Shanna Sabbath who is taken by her three aunts on a mythic journey to Niagara Falls.
“Honey Moccasin” (1998) is set on the fictional Grand Pine Indian Reservation and follows the investigator/storyteller Honey Moccasin, closeted drag queen/powwow clothing thief Zachery John, and the rivalry between two bars on the reservation.
The histories of film and video are not without cultural bias, racilalized norms, or colonialist traditions. In this program, we wish to engage with indigenous forms of knowledge dissemination through the medium of video,
by focusing on the landmark debut feature length film of Mohawk artist Shelley Niro. From Six Nations of the Grand River, Niro’s work emerges from a deep
interest in and commitment the deconstruction of stereotypes and normalized narratives of Indigenous cultures.
Both films will be screened on 16mm film. This is a FREE event!
This screening is made possible by the gracious support of the following departments and organizations at Trent University: the Trent Central Student Association, the Chanie Wenjack School for Indigenous Studies, Cultural Studies, Media Studies, the Frost Centre for Canadian Studies and Indigenous Studies, Cultural Studies Graduate Program, English and Public Texts.