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Documentary and Faux-Documentary at First Look 2016

  • MUBI
FrancofoniaIt seems slightly off-kilter to term a film by Alexander Sokurov, everyone’s favorite Slavophile modernist, a “mash-up.” Yet Francofonia, which opened the Museum of the Moving Image’s fifth annual First Look festival, brings to mind an idiosyncratic synthesis of motifs derived from Godard’s Histoire(s) du cinéma and Volker Schlöndorff’s Diplomacy. With more than a passing resemblance to the ever-popular fiction/non-fiction hybrid film, Sokurov’s rambling meditation on the aesthetic imperatives of authoritarianism was an appropriate choice to open a festival that specializes in experimental hybridism. New work by such disparate filmmakers as Dominic Gagnon, Léa Rinaldi, and Louis Skorecki traverses generic boundaries—even though, for seasoned festival audiences, this sort of genre-bending is now more of a routine occurrence than a transgressive event. First Look’s desire to showcase subversive hybridity was evident in Quebecois filmmaker Dominic Gagnon’s double bill—Pieces and Love
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Possibly in Michigan: The 50th Ann Arbor Film Festival

Photo courtesy of Abby Rose Photography.

This year marked the 50th anniversary of the Ann Arbor Film Festival, which would be a milestone for any cinema-related event in the U.S. But for a festival that has carved out a niche in the area of experimental and avant-garde film and video, Aaff's achievement is especially noteworthy. Even within the rarefied realm of cinephilia, the avant-garde tends to be something on the margins, or even in the best of circumstances (e.g., the Rotterdam, New York, or Toronto film festivals) one part of a much larger whole. So the fact that Ann Arbor and its intrepid citizens have continued to support this strange little festival, and all the bizarre films the festival has thrown their way over the years, speaks very highly of both the town and the festival founders and organizers (many of whom were present for an on-stage birthday ceremony,
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2012 Ann Arbor Film Festival: Official Lineup

It’s the 50th anniversary of the Ann Arbor Film Festival and they’re preparing an all-out blowout on March 27 to April 1 to celebrate! The fest is crammed to the gills with the latest and greatest in experimental and avant-garde film, in addition to a celebration of classic work from Ann Arbors past.

Filmmaker Bruce Baillie was there at the first Aaff — and numerous times since. He’s back this year with a major retrospective of his entire career that spans three separate programs. Baillie, who’ll be in attendance of course, will present a brand-new restored version of his epic pseudo-Western Quick Billy, plus screenings of his classic short movies such as Castro Street, Yellow Horse, Quixote, To Parsifal and more.

There’s also a program dedicated to the films of the late Robert Nelson, including Bleu Shut and Special Warning, as well as sprinklings of underground classics throughout
See full article at Underground Film Journal »

Underground Film Links: November 14, 2010

Going to start off a little differently this week. I was chatting over email this week with Brett Kashmere about the history of Canadian experimental and avant-garde film. Well, more like the lack of much written about that history. So, a few Canadian links! First, the Canadian Encyclopedia has an entry on Film, Experimental. Film Reference also has a brief article covering Canadian experimental film. This is a Pdf link, so you might want to download first: For his Masters in Fine Art degree from York University, Gerald Saul wrote a thesis on the Canadian avant-garde in the ’90s. Actually, Saul’s website in general has some good resources on it. Barbara Sternberg has an old article about the rise of Canadian experimental in the ’70s, reprinted from the 1991 catalog “The Visual Aspect: Recent Canadian Experimental Films.” Mike Hoolboom has reviews and details of his book Inside the Pleasure Dome: Fringe Film in Canada.
See full article at Underground Film Journal »

Ottawa International Animation Festival Wrap-up Part Two

[Our thanks to Kier-La Janisse for the following.]

It's been over a week since Ottawa's closing night festivities, and my head is still reeling with the smorgasbord of animated treats I was privy to for the few short days I was there. Other than the features and some of the retrospectives (which I talked about in my previous Ottawa Animation Festival Wrap-Up Part One), I was able to catch the Canadian Short Film Showcase, one of the International showcases and the first of five short film competitions (sadly missing both the latest Priit Parn and Jonas Odell shorts).

The Canadian program kicked off smartly with Amy Lockhart's The Collagist, inspired by the creative process of her frequent collaborator, cartoonist/artist Marc Bell. With a single shot depicting two hands manipulating objects on a desk into a series of images - blobby potatoes, people, raindrops, mouths, eyes and text - this cut-out animation is a spirited ode to
See full article at Screen Anarchy »

Tiff 2010: Theodore Ushev Presents The Life Of Arthur Lipsett, In Animated Form

Another animated Tiff entry from the National Film Board of Canada here - see also The Trenches - this one coming with a bit of star power in the form of narrator Xavier Dolan, the director of I Killed My Mother. Here's the official synopsis for this quasi-biographical piece of work:

Theodore Ushev's Lipsett Diaries is a descent into the maelstrom of anguish that tormented Arthur Lipsett, a famed Canadian experimental filmmaker who died at 49. Narrated by Xavier Dolan, the animated short uses a series of imagined diary entries transmuted into a clash of images and sounds to evoke the artist's frenzied creations and dizzying descent into depression and madness. Lipsett Diaries is produced by Marc Bertrand at the Nfb's French Animation Studio.

Check the trailer below!
See full article at Screen Anarchy »

Tiff 2010: Bruce McDonald, Xavier Dolan and Denis Villeneuve Headline The Canadian Titles At Tiff 2010!

The Toronto International Film Festival announced their complete slate of Canadian titles today, including the first announced midnight title in Michael Dowse's Fubar II. The Canadian slate this year looks to be a pretty compelling slate of newcomers and familiar names. Check all the news below!

Galas

A Beginners Guide to Endings  Jonathan Sobol, Canada World Premiere

Raucous, charming and very funny, Jonathan Sobol's comedy A Beginners Guide to Endings follows three sons as they deal with their gambler father's somewhat complicated legacy. Featuring the legendary Harvey Keitel, the film also stars Scott Caan, Paolo Costanzo, Wendy Crewson, Tricia Helfer, Jason Jones, and J.K. Simmons.

Previously announced Canadian Galas include: The Bang Bang Club, Steven Silver; Barney's Version, Richard J. Lewis; Casino Jack, George Hickenlooper; Score: A Hockey Musical, Mike McGowan.

Special Presentations

Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie Sturla Gunnarsson, Canada World Premiere

At 75 years old,
See full article at Screen Anarchy »

Today's Short: "Very Nice, Very Nice"

Perhaps the most interesting thing about this short film is that it was conceived as an audio project first. Arthur Lipsett collected a bunch of audio recordings and pieced them together into a narrative (somewhat) as a hobby, and only later added the montage of images to accompany it. The result was this 7-minute avant garde film that was nominated for an Academy Award in 1962. It has since been a favorite to show in classes at film schools all around the world.
See full article at JustPressPlay »

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