Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Imminent Nuit Blanche

Nuit Blanche is one of the best cultural events in Toronto. From 6:59 pm until sunrise, the city is transformed by artists in this celebration of contemporary art. Over the past few years, my favourite art projects have included Jon Sasaki's mascots in Promise It Will Always Be This Way at Lamport Stadium in 2008. Sasaki's work, like his recent installation Pine at the Art Gallery of Ontario, continues to intrigue me.

In the meantime, here are two videos I created last year capturing two installations in Parkdale:

The Night Watch by Kristi Malakoff of Nelson, Canada

Fire and Flux by Toronto artist Christine Irving and Site3

Here's my blog post from last year. Visit the Scotiabank Nuit Blanche Toronto site to check out the artists and plan your night.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

TIFF 2011, Part 5: TIFF Bell Lightbox

It's the final day of the Toronto International Film Festival. One of my favourite times of year, I spent days dashing around the city on my bicycle, visiting the box office, waiting in lines, drinking coffee, tweeting, and screening films by iconic directors and avant-garde filmmakers in programs like Future Projections. It's always about the movies. But it's also about Toronto and it's spaces.

Here's a short video of the action in the atrium of the KPMB designed TIFF Bell Lightbox during TIFF11:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

TIFF 2011, Part 4: Ben Rivers and His Experimental Cinema

London-based filmmaker Ben Rivers has two films at the Toronto International Film Festival this year. TIFF's excellent Wavelengths programmer AndrĂ©a Picard curated the two experimental films.

Slow Action (2010) is a selection in the festival's Future Projections programme, which presents moving-image projects throughout Toronto. (Here's my post about another project in the Future Projections programme.)

In Slow Action, Rivers visits four locations around the world: Lanzarote, Gunkanjima, Tuvalu and Somerset. Shooting on 16 mm film using an anamorphic lens, he transforms real places into imagined communities imbued with mystery. An accompanying soundtrack pipes through headphones, telling the evolution story of each community. While the locations are different, they share a strange, somewhat otherworldly feel.

Slow Action is on view at Gallery TPW from September 8 - October 1, 2011. The gallery setting -- with its beanbag chairs, headphones and 16 mm projector -- is an immersive, meditative space. The short video embedded above has some edited footage from the Tuvalu part of the film. The sound is from the 16 mm film projector and not the audio from the headphones.

Still image from Sack Barrow (2011) by Ben Rivers

Sack Barrow (2011) is a selection in Wavelengths, TIFF's avant-garde programme,which screened at the Art Gallery of Ontario's Jackman Hall cinema. The film is a portrait of a London-suburb plating factory. Rivers captures the factory's gritty surfaces blending nostalgia and unflinching reality. With footage of pin-up girls, the film is playful with moments of humour.  

Rivers' two films at TIFF are immersive experiences challenging constructs of story, time and place. The films are engrossing, playful portraits that resonate with mystery and strangeness. The places are real yet unfamiliar and, ultimately, transformed in the films.

Monday, September 12, 2011

TIFF 2011, Part 3: Francis Ford Coppola

Francis Ford Coppola was at the Toronto International Film Festival for the World Premier of his film Twixt.

I interviewed Coppola several years ago in Toronto. He was a generous interview, and when the cameras stopped rolling, he graciously asked me some questions about my life and passions in what was a highlight of my career as a journalist. Alas, dear reader, that is a story for another time.

Here's Coppola introducing his film Twixt at the Princess of Wales Theatre:

Friday, September 9, 2011

TIFF 2011, Part 2: Future Projections

The Future Projections programme at the Toronto International Film Festival is a collection of moving-image projects throughout the city.

Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board by collaborative artists Nicholas and Sheila Pye is a four-screen HD video projection. The title refers to the levitation game played at children's slumber parties. Indeed each tableau is infused with the supernatural. In one, artist Sheila Pye's ghostlike bride twists in space. In another, artist Nicholas Pye looks sadly past a tiny bird which is trying to reach him but is tied to a rock. Exquisitely photographed, the exhibition blends the characteristics of still photographs and moving images.

The Pyes' work is presented in collaboration with Birch Lbralato in Toronto. It's free to the public and runs between September 8 - October 15, 2011.

Friday, September 2, 2011

TIFF 2011, Part 1

Let the TIFF fun begin! Whether you purchase your package online, over the phone or in person, the festival experience for fans involves plenty of line ups no matter what.

This year, the Toronto International Film Festival's box office is in Metro Centre (225 King Street West) on the concourse level. Here's a view of the action around the Box Office at approximately 8:00 am.