Winnipeg: A City In Search of Itself Curated by Dave Barber

Winnipeg: A City In Search of Itself Curated by Dave Barber
Saturday, February 5, 2011 at 2:00 PM
Winnipeg Cinematheque

The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with the following participants- filmmakers Paula Kelly, Stéphane Oystryk, Kevin Nikkel, John Paskievich, and Matt Rankin (through Skype in Montreal) as well as Terri Fuglem, associate professor in the University of Manitoba Department of Architecture. Film professor Howard Curle will moderate.

A number of local filmmakers have created portraits of Winnipeg as a community seen through its multicultural life, history, and urban life – these portraits are both critical and reflective. It is a proud city and yet hard on itself on the same time. In conjunction with the Mediated Cities Symposium, we present a screening of works about Winnipeg followed by a discussion which reflects on the city and its perception of itself. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion about Winnipeg and its view of the environment.

Negativipeg – Matthew Rankin
Ted Baryluk’s Grocery – John Paskievich
Intersections: Selkirk & McGregor – Kevin Nikkel
Waiting For the Parade – Paula Kelly
FM Youth – Stéphane Oystryk


From Uptown Magazine February 3, 2010

What’s old is new again
Cinematheque program explores Winnipeg’s civic malaise

The constant cycle of the old giving way to the new: that’s one theme of Winnipegger John Paskievich’s short film Ted Baryluk’s Grocery. The final, evocative images show the titular grocery store, located at the corner of Euclid Avenue and Austin Street, after its permanent closing — the windows gone dark.

On the other hand, a low-rent housing project now stands on the former site — which could be considered symbolic, Paskievich says, of Winnipeg’s “status quo of misery maintained.

“This is not a progressive city,” continues the 62-year-old, who chronicled the same neighbourhood in his book of photographs, The North End.

“I used to consider Winnipeg epic: everything that happened, where our nation-building was concerned, happened here. Winnipeg was the Canadian city.

“But not any more.”

Just where Winnipeg can go from here is the subject of Winnipeg: A City in Search of Itself, a new program screening at Cinematheque this Saturday afternoon. The event conjoins with the Mediated Cities Symposium at the University of Manitoba.

A panel discussion will follow the screening with the featured filmmakers — Paskievich, fellow Winnipeggers Paula Kelly, Stephane Oystyrk and Kevin Nikkel, and the relocated Matthew Rankin (via Skype from Montreal; his own featured short, Negativipeg, screened at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival).

Perhaps another symbol for Winnipeg can be found in “total St. B kid” Ostyrk’s FM Youth, a semi-autobiographical short that follows several St. Boniface teens as they wander aimlessly, drink, and bitch in a mash-up of French and English.

“It was based on a personal summer with friends,” Oystyrk says.

The question the youths are asking is: what’s our culture?

“The ‘Frenglish’ thing isn’t confusion but a function of growing up as a tiny linguistic minority. The authorities were so protective of French in school that using English is how you rebelled.”

Hence the film can be seen as a microcosm of Winnipeg’s own lack of direction.

“I don’t feel a strong sense of planning for the future,” Oystyrk says in agreement. Taking the comparison further, he also notes how there’s “so much going on culturally in St. B, but it never gets out of its shell.”

As for Paskievich, he says his 1982 short has proven “quite prescient” for what’s happened in that part of town.

It’s like what the film’s own subject observes: the neighbourhood has become ever rougher.

The oldest of the featured filmmakers, Paskievich says Winnipeg has always been a tale of two cities, i.e., north and south.

“But the split is more visible than ever. The north end has become more visibly Aboriginal and how the people live there — the poverty, the neglect, the violence — is intolerable.

“Our politicians, our city council — they’re just too squeamish to address the problems that need addressing,” he says.

It’s almost eerie to hear Baryluk observe in Paskievich’s film that city hall isn’t located that far from his neighbourhood.

“You’d think they’d be interested in this area a little bit,” he says. “Nobody sees the good things in (the) neighbourhood.”

– Kenton Smith


~ by cineflyer on January 31, 2011.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: