Thursday, November 10, 2022, 7:30 pm

Moments of Perception: Random Canadian Moments

Curator Jim Shedden In Person


567 5th Street

Oakland, CA 94607

Pictured above: Low Tide (2019) by Eva Kolcze

Program presented in Association with Canyon Cinema and Shapeshifters Cinema
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Admission: $10 General/discounts available for Cinematheque Members, Shapeshifters Members and Friends of Canyon Cinema
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COVID-19 SAFETY REQUIREMENTS: Proof of Vaccination required for all attendees. Masks must be worn at all times while indoors.

This program is presented in celebration of Moments of Perception: Experimental Film in Canada (2021), Barbara Sternberg and Jim Shedden, eds. with essays by Michael Zryd and Stephen Broomer, published by Goose Lane Editions.

RELATED SCREENING: Curator Jim Shedden will also appear at Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) on November 9, 2022 to present a completely different program of film including works by Keewatin Dewdney, David Rimmer, Michael Snow and Joyce Wieland. Full details here.

In Moments of Perception, we note the fluidity of the term “experimental,” the concept of “Canada” and the notion of nation in general. “Film” and “video” have proven to be fluid terms as well, as digital has rendered analog forms of cinema almost obsolete. And yet we decided to subtitle our book Experimental Film in Canada, a shorthand for a cinema that is more poetic than narrative, aesthetically challenging, frequently difficult and concerned with the medium, even as that has more to do with files than films these days. And “Canada?” As a nation, we are many things, a work-in-progress with shifting boundaries and an evolving understanding of our history, geography and politics. The land we occupy is Indigenous and most of us are settlers. Much of our land is unceded. This is only becoming accepted as we speak. 

The filmmakers in our book can be defined as Canadian, broadly speaking. The films we discuss were not always made in Canada. For this program, I have deliberately chosen work that was not only made in Canada, but represents different places in Canada, sometimes personal and sometimes grander. What becomes apparent is how vast and variable the country is, how sparsely populated it is, and how difficult it is to get anything like a coherent sense of the country and the people who live there. These films, then, are little stabs at Canada. (Jim Shedden)

SCREENING: Terminal City (1982) by Chris Gallagher; 16mm, color, sound, 10 minutes, print from the Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre; 16mm Postcard (2005) by Amanda Dawn Christie; b&w, sound,  3 minutes, print from the Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre; Cattle Call (2008) by Mike Maryniuk & Matthew Rankin; digital video, color, sound, 4 minutes, exhibition film from Mike Maryniuk; Sight (2018) by TJ Cuthand; digital video; color, sound, 4 minutes, exhibition file from Vtape; Spanky to the Pier and Back (2008) by Guy Maddin; digital video, b&w, sound, 4 minutes, exhibition files from the Winnipeg Film Group; Low Tide (2019) by Eva Kolcze; digital video, color, sound, 4 minutes, exhibition file from the maker; Conservatory (2013) by Stephen Broomer; 16mm color, sound, 4 minutes, print from Canyon Cinema; Taylor Creek (2017) by Dan Browne; 16mm, color, silent, 4 minutes, print from the Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre; My Pandemonia (2020) by Peter Lynch; digital video, color, sound, 10 minutes, print from the maker; action: study (1987) by Richard Kerr; 16mm screened as digital video, color, sound, 5 minutes, print from the Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre; Light Study (2013) by Josephine Massarella; digital video, color, sound, 13 minutes, exhibition file from Canyon Cinema; Landfall (1983) by Rick Hancox; 16mm, color sound, 11 minutes, print from Canyon Cinema. TRT: 73 minutes

Terminal City (1982) by Chris Gallagher
Terminal City records the demolition of the Devonshire Hotel in Vancouver. Through extreme slow motion (200 frames per second) and symmetrical diagonal framing, Gallagher underscores the passage from order to chaos within the event. The sparseness of this centering and the patience required of the viewer heightens the literally explosive climaxes of the film, and transforms the everyday violence of the events into moments of convulsive beauty. (Jim Shedden and Michael Zryd: The Independent Eye)

16mm Postcard (2005) by Amanda Dawn Christie
A diaristic film in which the artist comes to terms with her new life in Vancouver, 16mm Postcard is a bittersweet letter back home to the Atlantic Filmmakers Cooperative in Halifax. Like in any letter, it becomes painfully obvious that one can never fully communicate their feelings and experiences, and the result is a series of random tidbits that implores the viewer to read between the lines. (Amanda Dawn Christie)

Cattle Call (2008) by Mike Maryniuk & Matthew Rankin
Cattle Call is a high-speed animated documentary about the art of livestock auctioneering. Structured around the mesmerizing talents of 2007 Man-Sask Auctioneer Champion Tim Dowler, and using a variety of classic and avant-garde animation techniques (including stop-motion, cut-outs, open-exposures, hole-punching and rubbing letraset directly on the celluloid) filmmakers Maryniuk and Rankin have tried to create images as dazzlingly abstract, absurd and adrenalizing as the incredible language of auctioneering itself. It is our hope that the film will induce near-bovine levels of dumbfoundedness in all those who gaze upon it. (Mike Maryniuk & Matthew Rankin)

Sight (2018) by TJ Cuthand
Shot on super 8 and making use of cameraless animation techniques, Cuthand juxtaposes her personal experience with migraine triggered vision impairment and mental illness with the story of a relative’s self-induced blindness. (Jim Shedden)

Spanky to the Pier and Back (2008) by Guy Maddin
Spanky the pug dog takes a walk to the pier and back in Gimli, Manitoba. (Guy Maddin)

Low Tide (2019) by Eva Kolcze
The Toronto Islands are subject to flooding and erosion. The ebbs and flows of Lake Ontario/Lake Iroquois have created the islands and will one day take them away. The shoreline is natural and artificial, built up with concrete sidewalk ruins but always just an ever-shifting sandbar. (Eva Kolcze)

Conservatory (2013) by Stephen Broomer
Stamens and pistils are lit in rapid succession behind the dome of the Palm House at Allan Gardens in Toronto. The plants trade colour, making alien scenes in the conservatory. Solid forms, too near to the eye, become muddied and indistinct, in constant passage, but the dome and the grid are fixed. (Stephen Broomer)

Taylor Creek (2017) by Dan Browne
Notes towards a compost based vision. (Dan Browne)

My Pandemonia (2020) by Peter Lynch
This film idea started as I was reviewing what at first appeared to be random shots of my daily life on my iPhone. Patterns and major disruptions started to emerge, which tell a story of the cataclysmic changes I experienced during COVID 19. This journey draws on memories, objects, detritus architecture, urban anthropology, nature, geology, landscape, pop culture, life and death and holds them up to different sources of illumination. It creates a structural reading of my inner psyche and the external city. We are mostly alone in our private lives now. What is my relationship to this story? What do we mean when we say “everything has changed?” This film attempts to capture the feeling of these disruptions from a personal perspective. How will this world end and the next one begin? (Peter Lynch) 

action: study (1987) by Richard Kerr
Shot in 1987 in high contrast 16mm, action: study marks the genesis of Kerr’s forays into a process he now refers to as “digital sketching.” action: study depicts Kerr’s daughter playing on the shores of Georgian Bay, but could easily be mistaken as a work of abstract animation. Kerr combines innovative hand-held techniques with the ultra-sensitivity of the film stock to create a startling wash of jagged, erratic, and constantly dynamic compositions of black and white. Indeed, at times reality seems to melt in front of us. (Richard Kerr)

Light Study (2013) by Josephine Massarella
Light Study is a poetic examination of the wetlands, forests, and ecosystems of the Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere. Filmed entirely in single frames over a three year period, it explores the unique landscape of the Bruce Trail in 16mm with techniques such as flicker, pixilation and time-lapse photography. Here, nature presides over an ephemeral human element, its primordial essence both medium and agent of light's eternal change. Soundtrack composed by Graham Stewart, member of the experimental music collective Viosac. (Josephine Massarella)

Landfall (1983) by Rick Hancox
Landfall was shot on Prince Edward Island, near the family home on the Northumberland Strait. The original footage, shot in 1974, was a kind of interactive camera "dance" with the environment. Poetry became important when the footage was later superimposed onto its own mirror-image, to help direct the viewer away from the luring yet limited world of image-identification/orientation. "I Thought There Were Limits," by Quebec poet D.G. Jones, was used to encourage the viewer to reject Newtonian notions of space and time and to conceptualize the film's interplay between absence, desire and presence. Eventually, the limitation of text as spoken signifier is exposed through dynamic visual techniques reminiscent of concrete poetry. (Rick Hancox)