Public Domain Screening: This Wednesday!

Wed Sept. 21, 2011 at 7:00 PM
@ Winnipeg Cinematheque, 100 Arthur St.

Introduced By Artist Steve Reinke and Christopher Rohde from SAW Video!

Clear your schedules and mark your calendars because this upcoming Wednesday night is the one-night only screening of Public Domain!

Commissioned by Ottawa’s SAW Video, Public Domain is a seven video collection of films that reinterpret and repurpose some of the 1000s of films housed in the Library and Archives Canada. The very prolific filmmaker and writer Steve Reinke will be in attendance to introduce the films, along with SAW Video Programmer Christopher Rohde.

For more on this screening check out Cineflyer’s original post, or see the Uptown preview below!

-Aaron Zeghers

PUBLIC DOMAIN Screening Order:

(dir. Gennaro de Pasquale, 2009, Canada, 12:08 min.)
An experimental video which combines fragments of films of different genres (fiction, documentary, animation) most of which date from the early 20th century. Vortex brings to mind the tumultuous movement of an overflowing waterway.

The Beauty Pageant News
(dir. Sara Angelucci, 2009, Canada, 8:47 min.)
Toronto photo and video artist Sara Angelucci researched through the archives for footage of beauty pageants and assembled this playful melange of “Miss Toronto” and other pageants with dozens of contestants parading in their swimsuits before a panel of judges and thousands of on-lookers. The second part uses a found soundtrack from a popular 1950s American radio program “What makes you tick” to examine attitudes expressed towards women at the time.

Library and Archives Canada Public Domain Reels Documenting Spots of Beauty and Interest in Ontario and Quebec Sometime Ago Remixed Today (VCRS) (19752010)
(dirs. Ryan Stec and Véronique Couillard, 2009, Canada, 3 min.)
Images of the Canadian industrial landscapes melt into one another. Sampled reels include a train ripping a snowy Algoma landscape in half, leaving a fantastic and huge trial of smoke and a cargo ship falling sideways into the Georgian Bay.

(dir. Suzan Vachon, 2009, Canada, 23:32 min.)
A video composed primarily of film archives from the first half of the 20th century, “these images when I screened them were experienced as a powerful fuel for the contemporary imagination.”

Beyond the Pale
(dir. Maureen Bradley, 2009, Canada, 16 min.)
Beyond the Pale examines the life and death of artist Maureen Bradley’s great, great aunt, Kate Tubridy who died in the Lounge Point Insane Asylum near Montreal. Maureen was never aware of her existence until her mother discovered her death certificate at the asylum. Using films and photos from the late 19th and 20th century, Bradley posits a number of fictions that Kate’s life might have taken before living out the final third of her life in the asylum.

Not Torn (Asunder from the Very Start)
(dir. Steven Reinke, 2009, Canada, 9:57 min.)
The archive is a mausoleum that pretends to be a vast garden. Memory is an irridated zoo in which the various animals are mutating extravagantly and dying slowly.

Public Domain Stll

From Uptown, Sept. 15, 2011

Art that belongs to us all

A touring program at Cinematheque hauls historic film out of the National Archives and gives it new life

However creative the use or even transformation of the found footage in question, seven new shorts created with film from the National Library and Archives are an expression of our shared history.

“We had access to (the footage), but any citizen also has equal access to it,” says Steve Reinke, one of seven artists commissioned by Ottawa-based media art centre as part of the Public Domain project, which premiered in 2010 (although an earthquake briefly delayed the initial screening).

“It’s a shared bank of information.”

The project — which has already toured to the Festival International du Film Sur L’Art in Montreal and to Liverpool, England earlier this spring — kicks off the first leg of its new touring incarnation on Sept. 21 at Cinematheque in Winnipeg; the new program coincides with the upcoming publication of Saw’s first book, also titled Public Domain.

“The works are pretty varied, both stylistically and thematically,” says Reinke, who will be on hand to introduce the program; currently an associate professor at Northwestern University, his own work has screened everywhere from the Museum of Modern Art in New York to the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

But, he continues, “I would say most of the works share a concern with the past — a questioning of what it means to be an individual in the path of history, a certain nostalgia for celluloid coupled with it’s seemingly transparent documentary abilities.”

“Some filmmakers approached the footage in a more documentary fashion,” says SAW programmer Christopher Rohde, who will introduce the films along with Reinke. “And then some transformed the footage to the point that the historical context is almost washed away; they were more concerned with the film’s aesthetic values.

“The artists were given a very free hand, and they had no reservations about cutting, tinting and manipulating.”

Some examples of the former would be Sara Angelucci’s The Beauty Pageant News and Maureen Bradley’s Beyond the Pale, both of which specifically examine the historic content of their chosen footage.

Then, by contrast, there’s Reinke’s own Not Torn (Asunder from the Very Start).

“In my piece, I tell stories from my childhood as if I’d confused them with well-known Bible stories,” the filmmaker says, explaining that “very early” home movies from the ‘30s suited his purposes perfectly.

Also featured are works by Gennaro de Pasquale, Suzan Vachon, Ryan Stec and Véronique Couillard.

Of course, Rohde agrees, the very nature of the footage itself means historical and cultural import is inextricably bound up in it. And the project has made public images of our national past — including such awesome sights as the violent launching of a giant ship — that otherwise might not be seen.

“That’s ironic, when you consider it’s from our national archives,” Rohde observes. Nor will Winnipeg eyes be the only ones to lay eyes upon the program, which is also touring to Victoria, Calgary, and London, England.

But, Winnipeg is a perfect first stop. “There’s a pretty enthusiastic audience for this kind of filmmaking in Winnipeg,” Rohde says. “This should be great.”

Public Domain: SAW Video Commission screens Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. at Cinematheque. For more information visit

It’s a screening that has lured a former Brandonite to fly all the way back from England.

Playing Sept. 16 to 18 at Cinematheque, documentary featurette Four Forty Four, a personal account of growing up in 1950s Brandon, will be introduced by its now British-based director Michael Kearns. It was the neighbourhood, not the computer screen, that was at the centre of Kearns’s childhood, and the film presents a Manitoba past that unfolds through both archival photos and present day footage.

The 40-minute doc plays with the six-minute, 2010 short Blossom by Canadian filmmaker Julia Kwan, whose 2005 feature Eve and the Fire Horse won a special jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival.

Kearns is one of three partners who make and restore violins in the firm of Oxford Violins.

-Kenton Smith

~ by cineflyer on September 16, 2011.

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