WNDX: One Take Super 8

WNDX Festival of Film and Video Art
One Take Super 8 Screening!
Sunday, Oct. 2, 7PM
@ The Gas Station Theatre

One Take Super 8 DVD Cover

Once again, WNDX presents their utterly amazing finale that leaves local filmmakers gnawing at their fingernails for weeks in unbearable nervousness and anticipation: The One Take Super 8 Screening!

This year 25 filmmakers completed the nerve-wracking task of conceiving, shooting and soundtracking a film shot entirely on Super 8 and edited in camera. And all of these 25 filmmakers (and an expected sell-out audience at the Gas Station Theatre) will see their films for the very first time, for better or for worse, at the screening on Sunday, October 2nd.

For years now, the One Take Super 8 has been headed by Alex Rogalski, also the Short Cuts Canada Programmer for the Toronto International Film Festival. Presented by WNDX and with the aid of many of the hardworking Winnipeg Film Group staff, the “non-competitive” filmmaking challenge has spawned some amazing results. So it is with great excitement that WNDX is also releasing a One Take Super 8 “Best Of…” DVD at this year’s screening! Watch some of the cream of the previous year’s crops below, and read an article about this year’s One Take Super 8 written by Uptown Magazine’s Kenton Smith.

Also, listen to Cineflyer Radio’s Ryan Simmons as he follows Darcy Fehr on his mission to create a One Take film for this year’s festival. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN!

-Aaron Zeghers

From Uptown Magazine
Sept. 28, 2011

One take at possible greatness – or disaster
The thrill of the unexpected has made the One Take Super 8 Event a hugely popular cinematic happening for six years strong

“I may have something spectacular, or nothing at all.”

Those words, from Winnipeg visual artist and sometimes filmmaker Robert Pasternak, express the essence of the now-annual One Take Super 8 Event, which enjoys its sixth edition this Sunday as part of WNDX: Winnipeg’s Festival of Film & Video Art. (Also available this year is a special edition DVD, containing a diverse selection of past OTS8 films.)

Here’s how it works: participants given a single cartridge of Super 8mm film amounting to 200 seconds (three minutes and change), and a completely free creative hand. It’s as simple as, “Here’s your film — now go shoot what you want.”

“We take 30 entrants each year, but we always have a waiting list,” says Mike Maryniuk, production programs manager at Winnipeg Film Group, which from the beginning has partnered with WNDX to make the event a reality. “It usually fills up in about a week.”

The curious thing, Maryniuk adds, is that where participants have been concerned, some only seem to make films for this particular occasion; there’s just something about it that attracts people.

And it was popular right from the start. “We actually had to cut down the number of slots from 35,” says Maryniuk, who’s been a recurring participant himself. “That was so the final screening of the results didn’t run forever.”

When Pasternak, whose cinematic-like flipbooks were featured as part of this spring’s Plastic Paper festival, is asked what he’s got up his sleeve for 2011, his response is a crafty chuckle. “I wanted to go outside the box,” he says. So, this time out — his third in six years — he decided to make a “camera-less” film.

In the case of local filmmakers such as Maryniuk, Heidi Phillips or Clint Enns, this might involve the creative use of found footage; in Pasternak’s case, however, he wanted to hand in the very same cartridge, exposed film within.

“What I did was expose the it in a darkroom,” he explains. “I didn’t actually photograph anything.

“It’s a very experimental approach, very abstract. I can’t be certain it worked, either.”

And there’s the catch: participating filmmakers only see their results when everyone else does, projected on a big screen at the Gas Station Arts Centre. Just about the entire local indie filmmaking community comes out to see what everyone else coughed up.

“I’ve seen totally black films in the past,” says Pasternak, who adds that both camera and/or operator malfunctions can render films total wash-outs. “I’ll be biting my nails, for sure.

“But it’s part of the experience — we won’t know what we’ve got ‘til they’re up there.”

It helps, then, to be prepared. And while some OTS8 participants (like Pasternak himself, he confesses) procrastinate or even wing it, the likes of Kevin Bacon — organizer of the Winnipeg Horror Cinema event — show up on the day with a plan.

“Well…the lights I used were like $30 lights you buy at Canadian Tire,” Bacon admits of this year’s project, which makes it “the roughest” he’s probably done. And as an unfailing participant since the OTS8’s inception, he’s a certifiable veteran.

Nonetheless, he’s pleased with the direction the film took: shot in a single day, it turned from a “super dark” horror film to more of a horror comedy. “And it’s better that way.”

The gist? “It’s about someone who literally has to give someone the finger.” With that, we’ll all have to wait until Sunday.

(Perhaps Bacon’s most memorable entry was based on Velvet Underground song The Gift, about a guy who mails himself in a box to his long-distance girlfriend — who accidentally kills him when she opens up the package with a boxcutter.)

“I treat these as experiments,” says Pasternak, whose 2006 entry Totemical Stop-Motion Drawing was animated by exposing one frame a time; the film is viewable at Pasternak’s blog, robertpasternak.blogspot.com. “The nice thing is, they don’t cost much to do.

“And the screenings are always a collective journey of discovery. I love how the audience encounters the film for the first time alongside the creator.”

-Kenton Smith

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~ by cineflyer on September 29, 2011.

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