Winnipeg Film Group Members Screening
Winnipeg Film Group Members Screening
Sunday, June 12 at 7:00
Gas Station Theatre
445 River Avenue
An evening of new films by Winnipeg filmmakers and an opportunity to connect and network with other local filmmakers!
Devil on Commission by David Evans
Infinite Struggles by Corey King & Danielle King
The Lost Dreams of Narcissus and Echo by Hersh Seth
The Origin of Ocean Rabbit by Alison Davis
Sonata for Christian by Stéphane Oystryk
Roger by Michelle Ward
The Strangers by Darcy Fehr
You Can Wear it Again (or, a Wealth of Bad Ideas) by Jennifer Bisch
Homework by D.A. Young
Diankinetics by Ryan Simmons
Laser Doigt by Damien Ferland
Suffering from the Human Condition by Cory Quinn
A Walking Dream by Zarah Lazslo
From Uptown Magazine June 9, 2011
The fruits of creative freedom
Fourteen Winnipeg Film Group members will premiere new shorts at the Gas Station Arts Centre this weekend
For emerging filmmakers, there can be nothing like fostering an environment of total creative freedom.
“It was like I was a kid who drew his first picture,” says local auteur/actor Darcy Fehr of his first experimental short film, The Strangers. “It was a way of seeing what skill I actually possessed.”
Fehr is also training and community programs coordinator at the Winnipeg Film Group, Winnipeg’s artist-run production, education, exhibition and distribution co-operative. And this Sunday, 14 WFG members will publicly premiere the latest results of the WFG’s facilitated freedom at a screening of new short works at the Gas Station Arts Centre.
Among the featured works will be David Evans’s Devil on Commission; Corey King and Danielle King’s Infinite Struggles; Alison Davis’s The Origin of Ocean Rabbit; Stéphane Oystryk’s Sonata for Christian; Michelle Ward’s Roger; Jennifer Bisch’s You Can Wear it Again (or, a Wealth of Bad Ideas); D.A. Young’s Homework; Damien Ferland’s Laser Doigt (already privately screened earlier this year); Cory Quinn’s Suffering from the Human Condition; and Zarah Lazslo’s A Walking Dream.
Fehr’s film will also be on the slate. Made in just three days, Fehr’s boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl, boy-commits-suicide tale The Strangers grew out of a WFG workshop Fehr took last year with established Winnipeg filmmakers Mike Maryniuk (Cattle Call) and deco dawson (The Fever of the Western Nile).
“We were experimenting with lots of in-camera effects — double, triple, even quadruple exposures,” Fehr says. “We even used black tape to block off areas of the lens, to expose only parts of the frame at a time.”
Inspired by the techniques of celebrated Winnipeg director Guy Maddin (My Winnipeg), Fehr certainly made a lot of mistakes in his first time using the 16mm Bolex Camera. But that resulted in some happy accidents.
“I didn’t know what I was doing, and it worked out well,” Fehr says. He didn’t realize at one point, for instance, that the camera’s shutter was actually opening and closing — adding one more visually striking layer of exposure to the many already recorded.
By contrast, a year’s worth of effort has been concentrated into the 60-second running time of Ryan Simmons’s Diankinetics, a “riff” on the precepts of Scientology.
“There’s months of work packed in,” Simmons says of the film, which was made for media arts centre Video Pool’s 60 Second Hand Job contest in 2010 (it won). “For one minute, there’s an insane amount of stuff in it.
“I like that there may be more there than one person could possibly take in upon first viewing.”
Simmons’s vision dovetailed nicely with his ambitions for growing as a filmmaker. “I used this project as an excuse to learn new tricks, like rotoscope and text animation, rear projection, and features of software projects like Final Cut and Adobe After Effects.
“And I just like its psychedelic feel.”
Rounding out the program is Hersh Seth’s poetic The Lost Dreams Narcissus and Echo, which bears a particularly impressive pedigree: it played at the Short Film Corner at this past spring’s 64th annual Cannes Film Festival in France. Based on the titular Greek myth, the film is Seth’s first funded short.
“The films that have affected me the most are those that expose some psychological truth,” says Seth, who studied psychology and film at the University of Manitoba. “And myth has an ambiguity and poetry, coded in symbol, to do that.”
Seth says his film, with its elements of fantasy, perhaps stands out from the more experimental aesthetic that’s pervasive in the Winnipeg indie film scene. Yet in other ways, his far-travelled short fits perfectly.
“The Winnipeg world of film has such heart and passion running through it,” Seth says. “And now that distribution for short films is so much better than it was a few years ago, the city may finally get the recognition it deserves.”
As a WFG board member, he admits he may be biased. Nonetheless, he’s not afraid to call many local emerging filmmakers “world-class.”
“Sometimes we Winnipeggers don’t like to believe in ourselves,” the soft-spoken Seth declares. “But the international critical acclaim for My Winnipeg, just as an example, proved we have something both unique and universal.”
– Kenton Smith