More early notes from the archive…

Film Contexts

Arts Partners in Creative Development ‘is a strategic investment partnership to assist BC arts and cultural organizations in creating and developing new works, or to further develop existing works, with the intent of producing, presenting or exhibiting them at the highest standard. Partners include the Canada Council for the Arts, the Province of British Columbia, the City of Vancouver, the Vancouver Foundation, the 2010 Legacies Now Society and the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games’. Here are 2 film based projects that have been funded:

*ContainR* has further life for 2010 Cultural Olympiad and I’m wondering if its success in 2009 informed the body-in-motion theme of CODE? Lead Organization: Cineworks Independent Filmmakers Society Project Title: containR Amount Awarded: $50,000 Town/City: Vancouver Project Scope: Canada, International Partners: Springboard, Bravo!FACT, Banff New Media Institute, eatART, VANOC/Cultural Olympiad Discipline(s): Media Arts Start Date: 5/1/2009 End Date: 5/30/2010

Key Artists: Nicole Mion – Artistic Director and Curator (Vancouver) Evann Siebens – Artistic Director and Curator (Vancouver)

Project Description: Cineworks will commission a series of short films to be screened in reconfigured, recycled shipping containers as part of the 2010 Cultural Olympiad and for broadcast on Bravo!FACT. The short films will feature Canadian media artists visually addressing the themes of winter sports, performance, dance and the physicality of the body whether it be an Olympic athlete, a dancer or a person with a disability.

Funded: Summer 2009

Not really film, but *Althea Thauberger’s* work is cinematic. Carrall Street project funded by Arts Partners in Creative Development, a branch of Cultural Olympiad: Lead Organization: I.E. Artspeak Gallery Society Project Title: Carrall Street Amount Awarded: $57,000 Town/City: Vancouver Project Scope: Lower Mainland Artist Reach: Lower Mainland Discipline(s): Visual Arts Start Date: 01/01/2008 End Date: 30/09/2008

Key Artists: Althea Thauberger – Visual Artist (Vancouver/Berlin)

Project Description: Artspeak will commission Canadian visual artist Althea Thauberger to create a site specific work in collaboration with community members in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside neighbourhood. Carrall Street is a unique, process-oriented project that will culminate in a performance, forum and publication. Thauberger will probe the vital questions and distinctive stories that are important to people who live in this neighbourhood and consider how creativity can enhance, enable, or complicate the way a person or group finds their place in a community. Stories explored in the script may include personal histories gathered from, and enacted by, local residents. A wide cross section of community members including artists, addicts, homeless people, social workers, politicians and developers will participate in the process. With the street as a stage, the interweaving and spontaneous interactions between organized performers, audience and random passersby will form an integral part of the final performance.

Funded: Summer 2007

Rework this section to reflect discussions with Kika Thorne at VIVO, Randy Lee Cutler and Ron Burnett at Emily Carr. Also visiting the Vancouver archives to view Expo and Olympic documents, plus Expo-related Centennial films. There are filmmakers in the city now who are looking at this. Stan Douglas, Klatsassin, Mapping and Marking. List of artists below in comments boxes.

2-5 April Projecting Change Film Festival. Of particular note:

Saturday April 4, 10:00am BROKEN DOWN 60 minutes / 2008 / Canada Director: Harold C. Joe Speaker: Harold C. Joe, Judy Graves and David Chudnovsky Sock drive for the homeless – Bring a pair of new socks and receive free breakfast!

BROKEN DOWN is a gritty, compassionate film that follows BC aboriginal filmmaker, Harold C. Joe, as he explores homelessness in Vancouver’s downtown eastside and the Cowichan Valley. Harold spends four days living on the streets in order to reveal some of the reasons why individuals become homeless and how drugs and alcohol keep them that way.

SPEAKER: Director Harold C. Joe, Homelessness Advocate Judy Graves and local MLA David Chudnovsky will lead a panel discussion on current conditions and solutions to Vancouver’s downtown eastside. Engaging and thought provoking this is an event NOT TO BE MISSED.

Saturday April 4, 12:00pm MARCH POINT 53 minutes / 2008 / USA Director(s): Annie Silverstein, Tracy Rector, Cody Cayou, Nick Clark, Travis Tom

MARCH POINT follows Cody, Nick and Travis, three teens from the Swinomish Indian Tribe, want to make a gangster movie, but instead they are encouraged to use video cameras to investigate the impact of two oil refineries on their tribal community. March Point follows their journey as they come to understand themselves, the environment and the threat their people face. Ambivalent environmental ambassadors at the onset, the boys grapple with their assignment through humor, sarcasm and a candid self-knowledge. “This was a beautiful film. It somehow managed to be about growing up, native american issues, environmental issues, the process of making a film, and the transformative power of art – seamlessly.” – Robert N.

Anti-Poverty Committee Olympics film night on 20 Feb. Excerpts from Five Ring Circus; screening of Olympiad, by Cowboy SmithX about the way in which resistant aboriginal voices argue they have been silenced by the Four Host Nations.

Film festivals for the Cultural Olympiad include: Rendez-vous du cinema quebecois et francophone school matinees programme; There’s a Hockey Film Festival coming up at the Vancity theatre; Films about sport are being screened at the Whistler Winter Festival, on an outdoor screen made of ice.

ContainR was a shipping container installation outside Vancouver Public Library, which showed films about movement, sport and dance – ranging from archive footage to contemporary dance-for-camera. It’s now being installed at the Midforms festival.

Five Ring Circus

Thanks to Rachel Walls, a PhD student at Nottingham, for bringing Five Ring Circus to my attention.

27 January: Free screening of Five Ring Circus at UBC Student Union cinema, part of its Cinema Politica strand (next week a documentary on ‘that totally amazing feminist Riot Grrrl movement of the 1980s and ’90s’, said by an enthusiastic whipper snapper who made me feel old. Intone in a granny voice: ‘I remember Dickless, L7 and Kreviss like it were only yesterday’). That context, however, pretty much says what I needed to know about the event. Director Conrad Schmidt was there to answer (obliquely) questions about the film. Didn’t have too much to say about his own position vis a vis anti-Olympics activisim or about how he’s framing the film in terms of copyleft. As I was struck by the similarities between the Expo 86 protests (squaters occupying empty buildings; protests against Downtown Eastside gentrification, landgrab issues, environmental issues) and what Schmidt was documenting + the protests against the commodification of land/identity/poverty I wondered why the filmmaking team weren’t doing more to use he film as an activist tool through innovative distribution routes. Also interesting that Schmidt noted that he’d like to do more on First Nations views on 2010, which seemed to me a significant gap in the documentary’s narrative. The cinema was fairly full (c 100?) so it’s good to see this level of student interest, although based on appearances most seemed sympathetic to the film.

The screening was from a DVD copy. DVD menu used a low-angle shot of the inukshuk in the foreground, with mountains and cargo ships in the background. inukshuk almost in silhouette, filling space top to bottom and half horizontal space. Menu button to play film is a photograph of a Greek temple. Opening sequence largely w/out narration, montage of news footage and footage from film crew of various public events and press conferences. Scenes of kids singing Oh Canada! Plays on nationalist imagery + archaeological discourse that underpins games. 2 core themes are environment and homelessness and the broken promises of the VANOC committee, city hall and the province of BC. From my particular perspective what was interesting was the exclusive focus on the ‘natural’ environment of Eagleridge Bluffs and the pushing through of the highway. Interesting background to some Eagleridge Bluffs issues from a German website (remember the WAC paper on German ‘indians’). The industrial and labour history of this area is framed entirely in terms of environmental degradation rather than in terms of its material role in the development of the province and the various complex relationships developed between First Nations communities and the myriad immigrant communities over the 19th and 20th centuries. With regards to the Downtown Eastside issues, same old gentrification story with old hotels being closed and people thrown out on to the street. Young activists agitating, but never clear as to how ‘representative’ they are of residents. Is their activism middle-class appropriation of others’ poverty? Does that matter? Why? What’s the relationship between the Downtown Eastside Residents’ Assn and the Anti-Poverty Coalition. Is it a productive relationship? Aren’t there arguments to be made about retaining this significant built environment in planning terms? This part of Vancouver and its various residents have a long, illustrious and infamous history in the development of Canada. Are there options for conserving this urban landscape without gentrification? What are the contemporary options for continuing to house its long-term residents while bringing housing stock up to health-and-safety standards? How might we remember these stories?

While the narrative was activist, as documentary it fits a conventional format – mix of expert interviews, voice over, archive and actuality footage. Shot on low-end dv and edited conventionally. No obvious jump cuts, dissolves, wipes, etc. Even pace, but manages to build some suspense through its coverage of City Council meetings.

Aim to interview Schmidt.

tx on Sunday, 8 Feb, Fearless TV on Shaw Community Channel 4 @ 10pm. Shorter edit, and then followed by a short edit of the big Clayoquot Sound protest of 1993.

Here’s the opener:

Super8 from Vancouver is Awesome website:

Vancouver Late 1960’s early 70’s from Deer Head on Vimeo]

DOXA festival, end of May 2009, but nothing Vancouver-related. A few films to go to, though.

But very pleased to have been welcomed by Cineworks and cheyanne thurion. Excellent Cinematic Cartographies workshop led by filmmaker-academic Roger Beebe, University of Florida. Friday, 1 May was an orientation seminar/screening. Meesoo Lee: Pop Song 1; Roger’s films, Save, Strip Mall Trilogy; Bill Brown, Hub City; Lisa Marr, Vancouver Special, Jorge Furtado, Island of Flowers. Met Vancouver filmmakers: Randy Lee Cutler, Che Campbell, Mark Penner, Hari and Chris. They spent the weekend shooting and editing short pieces for the screening on 5 May, co-curated by cheyanne and roger. Last night we saw Wishlist (filmmaker and date?), which was an interesting composite that visualised people’s wishes for Carrall Street in the DTES, with their v.o. interviews; Nelson Henrick, Legend; Jacqueline Goss’s There There Square, which explored the performative acts of map-making that we all engage in and how we might visualise those on the map; Bill Brown’s, Confederation Park (1999), a sweet, slightly Ross McElwee-ish essay about Canada by the Texan filmmaker. After intermission we settled in to watch the workshop films. Mark used his existing footage from NY to construct an interesting map of the city in the week that the credit crunched. Some of the expected NY footage (big advertising boards with endless M & Ms) nicely underscored by v.o. while the layering of Natural History museum exhibits worked well with musings about alternative economic forms. Che’s film riffed on Lisa Marr’s Vancouver Special to present a hard-hitting critique of the real estate market as driven by drug money and the alienation of Vancouver residents from this market – even professionals can no longer afford the VanSpec. Relied heavily on TV/film theme tunes to drive point about commodification and branding, but I liked the use of text and mathematics. Hari’s work was a short meditation on hospitality and Vancouver as unceded Coast Salish territory. An effective juxtaposition of poetic address with politics, which presented a welcome alternative view of ‘the city’. Chris managed to shoot, develop, digitize and edit his screenwork, which referenced Roger’s Strip Mall Trilogy. Taking Richmond as his focus, Chris looked at numbers and text in that new city. Randy’s work aimed to explore her research focus on digestion and sustainability in the arts through a video practice. Drawing on Benjamin and Derrida, the work intervened in the debate around systems of production and consumption – where Derrida meets Arjun Appadurai. Mapped the digestive system onto a map of Strathcona and then told a story that juxtaposed slow food with big food production and distribution. All the works were really interesting beginnings – Vancouver as outward looking, rather than the beautiful (yet closed?) systems of Stan Douglas, Jeff Wall and the various Vancouver artists who use film and photography to have a conversation about landscape and the city.


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