WNDX Preview via Uptown Magazine

Winnipeg’s Festival of Film and Video Art

Sept. 29th – Oct. 2

See full program here!

WNDX Deco Dawson Still

Uptown Magazine has done a great job previewing the WNDX Festival in this week’s issue.

The two-part Canadian Shorts program was one of the highlights raised by Uptown writer Kenton Smith, and is certainly a part of WNDX that is not to be missed. Two local filmmakers, Deco Dawson and Darryl Nepinak were interviewed about their new films playing in the Canadian shorts program. The two-part shorts program begins tonight, Sept. 29th, at 7 PM at the Cinematheque, and concludes on Friday night, Sept. 30, at 9 PM, also at the Cinemtheque.

In another article, Smith interviews members of the ITWÉ Collective which WNDX programming committee member Cecilia Araneda calls “the most important grouping of Aboriginal filmmakers in Manitoba today.” The collaborative voice of the ITWÉ Collective is formed by its three members: Caroline Monnet, Sébastien Aubin and Kevin Lee Burton. Their complete works, including a new film series collaboratively directed by the entire group, will be playing on Friday, Sept. 30th at 7 PM at the Winnipeg Cinematheque.

Read these two Uptown articles in full below!

ITWE Collective

From Uptown Magazine
Sept. 28, 2011

The anti-TIFF?
Sixth annual local film and video art fest WNDX has carved its niche by celebrating cinematic innovation

Call it a celebration of leading-edge Prairie cinema.

“A focus on innovation and special attention to Prairie region artists is always the focus,” says Cecilia Araneda, programming committee member of the now-annual WNDX: Winnipeg’s Festival of Film & Video Art. Now in its sixth year, this year’s WNDX runs Sept. 29 to Oct. 2.

In light of his death this month, a major highlight for 2011 is the world premiere of celebrated underground filmmaker George Kuchar’s The Nutrient Express. A headliner in 2010, Kuchar’s “discussions” with Winnipeg wunderkind Guy Maddin from last year are available on YouTube.

According to its mandate, WNDX continues to be “by filmmakers, in support of filmmakers,” focusing on all moving-image art.

“We’ve consciously made WNDX a place which levels the ground a bit,” says Araneda, who is also the executive director of Winnipeg Film Group.

And with its smaller-scale focus on pushing boundaries — not merely of media, form and genre but now, the very means of presentation — WNDX has become a uniquely alternative, Winnipeg-centered celebration of cinematic evolution.

“Perhaps even more than ever, we’ll be able to challenge audience perceptions of what they believe film to be,” Araneda says.

One can trace the rise of the fest in a direct line, straight back to “the new era of openness” the WFG enjoyed in the early 2000s, Araneda continues.

“WNDX was consciously designed to give room for new forms and ideas,” she says, noting that such innovation was absent in the then very influential, Winnipeg-based, National Screen Institute-coordinated FilmExchange festival, which was retired in 2007 and focused on dramas.

Innovation is certainly a driving force behind trans-disciplinary artistic collective ITWÉ, which is presenting a series of its members’ work, and which Araneda calls “the most important grouping of Aboriginal filmmakers in Manitoba today.” Its featured program was shown in New Zealand in July.

Started in 2009, ITWÉ is dedicated to research, creation, production and education in “Aboriginal digital culture,” says member Caroline Monnet, whose 2009 and 2010 shorts IKWE and Warchild played successively at TIFF.

“We use new media in order to revitalize old ways of storytelling,” Monnet says. “We make films that have no trace of specific culture, but can still contribute to the body of indigenous cinema.”

Also a member is Kevin Lee Burton, whose 2008 short Nikamowin (Song) was selected as one of TIFF’s Top 10 Canadian shorts for that year; it has also played the Sundance Film Festival. Rounding out the trio is graphic designer Sebastien Aubin; the three collaborated on Ou tu vas, toi?, a series of short experimental web documentaries created for Quebec’s TV5.

That emphasis on digital media is another definitive aspect of WNDX.

“Film was once the ‘new media,’” Araneda observes. Now, she says, new platforms through which to experience media art are becoming more widely available: Internet, DVD, iPhones, “all things largely unheard of just two decades ago.”

Our little city at Canada’s centre is simultaneously at the heart of a new dimension in cinema.

-Kenton Smith

WNDX Film Festival

From Uptown Magazine
Sept. 28, 2011

WNDX, take two
Two contrasting yet complementary local filmmakers are among the highlights of WNDX 2011’s diversity

Given they were both reared in the same local indie film scene, it’s no surprise the work of Winnipeg filmmakers Deco Dawson and Darryl Nepinak reflects both likeness of mind and the diverse, creative cauldron from which they sprang.

“My film should leave many viewers with a sense of mystery, and many questions,” says Dawson of new short Hydro: Tergus/Viscus, which has its world premiere this week as part of WNDX: Winnipeg’s Festival of Film & Video Art.

Nepinak is far less coy. “My films speak for themselves,” he says of his own short It’s the Norval Morrisseau, Jackson Beardy, Carl Ray, Eddie Cobiness, Daphne Odjig, Joe Sanchez and Alex Janvier Show, which kicks off the festival this evening at Cinematheque.

Other work from across Canada, showcasing both experimentation in form and contrasting perspectives, embodies the fest as a whole — and more specifically, the two-part New Prairie & Canadian Cinema program tonight and Friday.

(Other Manitoba auteurs featured are Clint Enns — now based in Toronto — as well as Nicole Shimonek, Aaron Zeghers, Heidi Phillips, Leslie Supnet, and Mike Maryniuk and John Scoles, whose The Yodeling Farmer recently played the Toronto International Film Festival.)

Hydro: Tergus/Viscus, a documentary on Manitoba Hydro’s new downtown skyscraper, is, on one level, a turn away from the loose-narrative, black-and-white films for which Dawson is known.

“It wasn’t a conscious departure,” Dawson says of his first video project, commissioned by the building’s architects. “The building told me what the film should be.”

With its form following function, one could almost say the film reflects an architect’s sensibility — and, in fusing sleek compositions, camera movement and editing with a driving original score by Patric Caird, it veritably dances about architecture.

And it pushes the boundaries of cinematic representation with how it often “sees” the building: Dawson also used a thermal infrared camera to visualize the interior’s geo-thermal design. The remarkable images are highly abstracted — yet “if you have some architectural understanding of this building’s design, you appreciate it on a whole other level,” Dawson says.

Nepinak, a Seaulteux from the Ojibwe Nation, by his own admission also plays faster and looser to suit his purposes.

“That might come from my background,” he says. “It’s part of my experience to hear white people say, ‘No, you can’t do that.’”

Originally part of the Frontrunners exhibition at Urban Shaman Gallery and Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art this past spring, It’s the…Show, like Nepinak’s other work, tackles Aboriginal stereotypes with considerable humour.

The premise: the famed Indian Group of Seven painters are to appear on a talk show. Instead, Nepinak appears to let us know they haven’t shown up yet; as in his Good Morning Native America, there’s play on the idea of “Indian time.”

“I think it’s funny, anyway,” Nepinak says. Like Dawson’s film, the work acquires additional layers the more you learn about its subjects: Janvier really didn’t like Picasso, as Nepinak inadvertently suggests — but only learned subsequently.

“A film is like a painting,” he adds. “It’s whatever you get from it.”

-Kenton Smith

~ by cineflyer on September 29, 2011.

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