a feature film
i heart regina
by 14 local directors
The animation of
Media Arts Conference & more
One Take Super 8 celebrates 10 years
in this issue: yvonne abusow
A fresh new grad of the MPS program at the U of R, Yvonne Abusow is an emerging Saskatchewan filmmaker and writer, currently employed as the Member Services Coordinator and Production Assistant at the Filmpool. Currently enjoying her pursuit of freelance film work, Yvonne has a particular fondness for cinematography, animation and working with 16mm film.
Janine Windolph- Artist, Leader, Healer
10 On.Fire and united in Toronto
is a recent graduate of the MEd program at the University of Regina with two previous degrees in film and video and arts education. This year, she is working on theatre workshops in the community, the mispon film festival, and as a sessional with the ESL Program at the U of R.
is a writer and filmmaker, currently working as the Programming Coordinator at the Filmpool. Currently writing her second feature length screenplay, Tricia also enjoys pursuing creative expression with graphic design and was honored to be commissioned in 2010 as a super 8 filmmaker, as part of the small gauge film festival - 8 Fest in Toronto.
The Long and the Tall of It: “A Review of Ron Mein’s Jerry’s Journals” Gerald Saul
18 The heart behind I Heart Regina
is a professor of film and video production at the University of Regina and a member of the Board of Directors of the Saskatchewan Filmpool.
is the author of the poetry collection To End a Conversation and the bestselling book, the Saskatchewan Book of Everything.
Cover features photograph of Mark Wihak and Vanda Schmockel by Anita Draghici, illustration by Joi McConnell. Illustration & photography pages 10, 13, 18, 22 by Donovan Feuring. Photography page 5, 6 by Alex Rogalski. Photography page 9 by Katherine Skelton. Photography pages 15, 16 by Gordon Pepper. Illustration page 18 by Ronald Mein. Photography page 21 by Trevor Corrigan. Photography page 24, 26 by Brett Bell. Photography page 25, 26 by Aaron Moore. Photography page 25 by Emersen Ziffle. Photography page 27 by Jason Nielsen/Brett Bell. Photography page 27 by Layton Burton. Illustration page 7 by Joi McConnell.
Winter 2011 Splice Magazine 3
a message from the Filmpool Executive
Hello Splice readers, Welcome to Splice magazine and thank you all for taking the time to read our latest edition. Splice has been representing the voice of Saskatchewan independent filmmaking for over thirty years and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the editors, contributors and many volunteers who have supported the magazine over the course of its fantastic history. Splice is one of only a handful of magazines across Canada that supports, celebrates and discusses the merits of independent filmmaking, and as you will discover in this edition – our art form is as vibrant, thought provoking and exciting as ever.
Gordon Pepper – Executive Director Tricia Martin – Program Coordinator Berny Hi. – Production Coordinator Yvonne Abusow – Members Service Coordinator Jon Tewksbury – President Rob Miller – Vice-President Janine Windolph – Treasurer Gerald Saul – Secretary Rob Hillstead – Production Chair Terry Mialkowsky – Splice Committee Chair Kelly-Anne Riess – Fundraising Chair Krista Rohatyn – Member at Large
Splice Magazine is a publication of the Saskatchewan Filmpool Cooperative. The Saskatchewan Filmpool Cooperative is a non-profit artist-run centre that supports, encourages, and assists independent filmmaking in Saskatchewan. The Filmpool is committed to developing an awareness and appreciation of independent film that reflects the individual and collective cultural expression of Saskatchewan people.
magazine c/o the Saskatchewan Filmpool Cooperative #301-1822 Scarth St. Regina, SK S4P 2G3
Editor Kelly-Anne Riess
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Filmpool funders, who without their support, we would be unable to provide the many exhibitions and workshops, production opportunities (equipment rental, production grants), and the numerous community partnerships, outreach and other programs that we provide to our members and the community. Thank you to the Saskatchewan Arts Board, SaskCulture, Canada Council for the Arts, City of Regina, and the National Film Board of Canada for your continuous and generous support. Finally, congratulations must go out to all Filmpool members for completing films in 2010. Many of these films have been screened and broadcast at venues, stations and film festivals across Saskatchewan and the nation - we are extremely proud of your accomplishments. If you haven’t yet done so, please consider joining the Filmpool. Give us a call or visit our website - we always welcome new members. Take care everyone and enjoy Splice magazine. Gordon Pepper
a message from the Splice Magazine
Hello dear readers. Welcome to another issue of Splice. Last year, I participated in the Fimpool’s annual One Take Super 8. As a digital filmmaker, the idea of shooting in unforgiving film, with just one take, terrified me. Let alone, watching that film for the first time in front of a packed theatre. But I did it, and I breathed with a sigh of relief when I saw that my film turned out okay.
Design & Layout Joi McConnell The opinions expressed in Splice
are not necessarily those of the
Filmpool, its Board of Directors,
the Editor, or anybody other
than the authors.
My experience allowed me to join the ranks of many who had already participated in the One Take, an event that this year celebrated its 10th anniversary, which you can read about in this issue. Within, we also have a number of great articles that celebrate several of the Saskatchewan Filmpool’s unique and talented members, including Ronald Mein, an envelope-pushing cartoonist, and Janine Windolph, president of Mispon, who is leading the way in creating Regina’s first indigenous film festival, not to mention all of Regina’s wonderful independent filmmakers who participated in the brilliant film I Heart Regina. Anyone not from Regina who watches this movie will think the Queen City is a pretty trippy place. You can also read about our own Tricia Martin On.Fire in Toronto before the G20. She reminds us as filmmakers, we are not alone. We really aren’t. Kelly-Anne Riess
4 Splice Magazine Winter 2011
One Take Super 8 celebrates 10 years yvonne abusow Winter 2011 Splice Magazine 5
YA. Ten years has been a long time, how has the OTS8 grown from its humble beginnings in 2000 to today? AR. The fundamentals of the event have remained exactly the same. We just have a bit more funding to hold it now, meaning we can compensate filmmakers and make better posters. We’re very fortunate to have the Saskatchewan Arts Board and the Filmpool’s support along with many other community sponsors. The biggest change has been due to filmmakers who left Regina and moved elsewhere. This spread the program across North America to other cities. We’ve had 27 events (including the past nine in Regina) in 10 different cities. Each city has its own flavour when it comes to filmmaking, but the spirit of the OTS8 remains wherever we hold it.
In the past 10 years, One Take Super 8 has had 30 events in 10 different cities including: Regina, SK 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 Winnipeg, MB 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 Oberlin, OH 2008, 2010 Syracuse, NY 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 Montreal, QC 2005, 2007, 2009 Fort Lauderdale, FL 2006, 2009 Toronto, ON 2010 Denver, CO 2009 Ottawa, ON 2007 Portland, ME 2007
6 Splice Magazine Winter 2011
past September the Regina Public Library Theatre opened its doors for the 10th Annual One Take Super 8 Event (OTS8) where twenty-five Saskatchewan filmmakers saw their films for the first time in front of a packed house. There is an excitement and nervous energy that comes with watching a film for the first time in front of an audience, but the One Take is special as the filmmakers have not been able to view or edit the footage they shot. There are no changes to the image on screen from what they shot. Flaws and all is what is seen for the first time in front of audience.
Rogalski is the founder of the OTS8, and along with running this event across North America; Rogalski became the Short Cuts Canada Programmer for the Toronto International Film Festival in 2007. The OTS8 Event, which began in 2000, was created by Rogalski out of his desire for a non-competitive film event that anyone could sign up for and their films would be screened. Ten years later, the OTS8 continues to be a huge success with new and veteran filmmakers signing up to take part in creating three-minute films. To mark the tenth anniversary, Yvonne Abusow interviewed the man who started it all.
YA. When you first started the One Take Super 8 event did you think it would evolve into such a hugely successful event? What were your expectations when you created the OTS8? AR. There were no expectations for that first event, other than making sure the films ran through the projector and people showed up to see them. It was and remains a noncompetitive event to celebrate creative people working with anachronistic media. It was only the response from that first event that made me consider doing it again, and again, and again. YA. You have a Masters degree in Communication and Culture at York but you started at the University of Regina in the Film and Media Production program. When you first began in the film program what was the direction you wanted to pursue? And did any specific events cause you to change your direction? AR. I’ve never had a clear direction in filmmaking. When I first started in the program called ‘film and video production’ way back then, funny how mediums change. I had pretty common expectations much like any first-year student probably has now. But the combination of theory classes and production work introduced me to a lot of filmmaking approaches that broadened my cinematic sensibilities. As for specific events? Likely it was my classmates. I owe a lot to Rob Pytlyk and Brett Kashmere for including me in the Antechamber. It was a great opportunity to put theory into practice and if it weren’t for that place, it’s possible there never would have been the first OTS8. And there’s no doubt that meeting Katherine, my wife, in the film program was a defining moment. Again, without her support, I don’t know if the OTS8 would be celebrating 10 years. [
30,000 feet 29,002 feet Breaking Down the Super 8 A roll of Super 8 film is 50 feet in length, and 3 minutes and 20 seconds of footage.
Since 2000, over 600 films have been shot as part of the One Take Super 8. That’s 120,000 seconds, or 2,000 minutes, or a little over 33hours. That’s the equivalent of more than 16 feature films.
600 shorts is 30,000 feet of film or 9 kilometres. To put that in perspective, a commercial airplane flies at a height of 30,000 feet above ground, and Mount Everest reaches a height of 29,002 feet.
That’s the equivalent of 16.5 CN Towers, or 92.6 Eiffel Towers, or the length of 10,000 Canadian football fields.
1,814 feet Winter 2011 Splice Magazine 7
YA. As a busy individual who programs film festivals and events across Canada do you ever have time to work on your own art practice? I know you participate in the OTS8. Is there anything else you are working on right now? AR. Programming consumes the majority of my time. There’s a lot to be said for watching 1,000 films a year. I still learn a lot from watching all of the new OTS8 films. My own practice remains in Super 8. It’s a medium that still captivates me, and the scope of production fits my lifestyle. There are larger projects that I think about, but I honestly feel there is so much great work by others that people are not seeing, my work as a programmer is rewarding in bringing audiences to those films.
audience buzzed to see what is likely the most un-commercial of films they’ve ever witnessed. It says something about the power of the mediumthat a group of strangers will get together to watch an OTS8 film, whether it be at the RPL theatre, a warehouse in Montreal, or a converted automotive shop in Fort Lauderdale. I’ve met a lot of great people through the OTS8, which has been the biggest reward.
YA. What have been your most memorable films and experiences with the OTS8? AR. Seeing people who didn’t aspire to be, or see themselves as filmmakers, create a 200 second film that many established filmmakers would have been happy to make themselves. I think Charlie Hill’s film from last year’s Regina event is a perfect example of what the OTS8 can accomplish. His stunning verite observation of his co-worker at the mail sorting facility, made with the help of his sons Eric and Ryan, remains one of my favorite films. Regardless of the city, it’s always a thrill to have a packed
YA. As a programmer of festivals what advice would you give new filmmakers on helping them get their films screened in a festival? AR. Make good films. That sounds deceptively simple, but its true. There’s no magic secret. If your work stands out from the rest, festivals will want to screen it. With that said, not all films work for all festivals, even if they’re good. Filmmakers need to invest the same passion and effort into promoting their film as they did in getting it made. Each festival has its own mandate, and filmmakers should research which festivals are good fits for their
YA. What advice would you give to a new participant of the OTS8? AR. Plan, plan, plan some more. Having a clear idea of what you want to accomplish can’t be overstated. Then have fun. And don’t be afraid to ask for help.
film, and prioritize a list. Being organized helps. If a filmmaker doesn’t have the time or ambition to promote their own film, they should consider using a distributor to help get their film out to the public. YA. Is there anything you would say to people who have had their films passed over at a juried festival? AR. It’s just one festival. There’s plenty more out there. Audiences will let you know what they think is interesting and programmers are not always right. YA. Some participants of the OTS8 have screened at other festivals without their knowing the films have been submitted. We could believe it is the one-take fairy, but how does that submission process really work? AR. It can work in many ways. Sometimes it happens that a film is seen at one festival, or on a compilation DVD, and programmers want to pick it up for other festivals. But a
8 Splice Magazine Winter 2011
filmmaker should never count on their film having its own life. Distributors can play an important role in getting films seen without consuming the time of the filmmaker in the submission process. Festivals should always have the permission of the filmmaker to screen their film. YA. Rumours have been spreading about the fate of the OTS8 event. Some people thought it would end with OTS8 2008 because of its catch phrase “Eight is Enough.” Some think 2010 might be the end. Do Regina one-takers have to worry that there is an end in sight or will this creative outlet be around for a while? AR. People thought it would end after the first one. What is it about Regina worrying things will end? I found it interesting how people interpreted the ‘Eight is Enough’ tagline. For some it signaled the end. But I thought the more important meaning was that 8mm was all one needed to make
film. That bigger and better wasn’t necessary. The OTS8 was always conceived as an incubator of new films. I know many people rely on the OTS8 in order to have the reason to make a film, but I wanted to take the fear of production away from people. I thought if they realized how simple it was to shoot a three-minute reel of Super 8, and have a complete film that could play to audiences, that it would inspire them to do it on their own. I hope that the OTS8 isn’t a crutch for filmmakers, where they only make a film because of the event. The Filmpool has Super 8 cameras available 365 days a year and can help with providing film stock. I don’t know what the life cycle of the OTS8 is, but I hope it will spur filmmakers to continue to make films for their own enjoyment. The success of the OTS8 would be if we could stop the event and all the past participants continued to shoot new one-reel films and show them wherever they could all the time.v
Winter 2011 Splice Magazine 9
Janine WindolphArtist, Leader, Healer Nora Gardner
met Janine Windolph, a sparkly-eyed Indigenous woman with Iwhen the depth of character and breadth of spirit not always common, I joined mispon: A Celebration of Indigenous Filmmaking
as a member, then as a director. I have the honour of introducing you, the reader, to this young woman who I am now so proud to be acquainted with.
anine, a dedicated media artist, has been a board member of the Saskatchewan Filmpool Cooperative since 2007 as well as a board member of mispon since 2008. She has gracefully taken on her new role as president of mispon since January 2010. As a member of the mispon board, I can say that we appreciate how she moves between leading and listening, learning and laughing.
his year has been one of many remarkable accomplishments for Janine. She recently completed her MFA in Interdisciplinary Studies (Media Production and Indian Art) as well as the Entrepreneurship Training Program, a pilot project of the Saskatchewan Arts Board. Alongside her family, Janine credits the support of her mentors and supervisors Marion Donnelly, Carmen Robertson, Gerald Saul and Sarah Abbott for her success this year.
attended the premiere screening of Janine’s MFA digital video project entitled More Questions than Ancestors in June. Janine gave each of the guests in attendance the gift of a blanket as is a traditional way of honouring guests, but she took it one step further, and with the genuine spirit of giving, Janine also drew us into her family circle. I giggled, was awestruck, and then felt tears fall as her project containing stories from her mother, uncle, and aunt unfolded on the screen. In the ShuBox Theatre, the people who came to see Janine’s video were enveloped, as if by a blanket, in these stories of separation, longing, and coming together as a family to heal. We all felt the meaning of family to Janine and her devotion to her family. Also in attendance at the screening were her mother, Marian Otter, her Uncle Stan Otter, her Aunt Carla Otter, her sister, Annie Charles, her
10 Splice Magazine Winter 2011
cousins, Dawlton Tomkins and Allan Otter, and her two sons, Dawlari and Corwyn.
hile her family has connections to her grandmother’s reserve around Waswanipi, in Quebec, Janine was born and raised as part of the Charles family in La Ronge, Saskatchewan. She spent most of her teenage years in Saskatoon, but came with her mother to Regina in 1997. Janine believes her mother has set a very good example for her by continuing her education as a teacher and artist. In fact, her uncle has also become well-known as an artist among indigenous communities in Regina and surrounding area. It would appear that Janine has had excellent grounding for many creative endeavours as she works within a collective of family and friends who support each other.
he symbol of a white crow has become of great significance to mispon. Early in Janine’s university studies, her friend Josie Pelly (nee Forest) and her were studying Greek oral history when they heard the story of the white crow who was stricken by the gods to be forever black for bragging. Ominously after hearing the story, Marian and Josie saw a white crow on the university grounds. After sharing this sighting with Janine, Marian began to paint representations of the white crow which have now become part of the shared symbol system of the collective. mispon uses a representation of the white crow for their logo and the symbol continues to grow in meaning and significance as they find stories of the “white crow” in Nehiyawak and other indigenous cultures.
anine appears ready to follow the instincts of an artist wherever they may lead her in life. Janine,
Winter 2011 Splice Magazine 11
the mother of two small sons, sadly lost a baby girl about four years ago. Thankfully, it was her creative instincts that led her towards a project for healing from this loss through a connection to the continuum of time – past, present, and future. For this interview, I was introduced to Janine’s earlier video project entitled Life Givers: Honouring Our Elders and Children which was completed through the First Stories: Saskatchewan program for First Stories: Volume II in 2007 with the production assistance of the National Film Board of Canada (NFB). The following is a description of the work from the NFB site: “Some say when a child dies, you lose your future, and when an elder dies, you lose your past.” Life Givers: Honouring Our Elders and Children is a poignant short film that testifies to the need to grieve and honour the memory of loved ones.
ad I known the subject matters and affect that Janine’s work has on the viewer prior to attending her premiere screening of More Questions than Ancestors, I would have been no better prepared to plumb the depths of her work and person – always engaging and a journey worth taking. z
Janine Windolph’s Media Biography and Screenings: More Questions than Ancestors (2009) [Producer/Director/Editor] 2010- MFA project screening, ShuBox Theatre, University of Regina Life Givers: Honoring Our Elders and Children (2007) [Director/Writer] 2008- Turtle Island Screenings, Albert Scott Community Center 2008- SCN - (short presentations) 2008- CBC - First Stories: Personal Journeys 2008- SCN - First Stories 2007- American Indian Film Festival, San Francisco, CA 2007- Aboriginal Film Festival, Winnipeg, MN 2007- Premiere of Life Givers: Honoring Our Elders and Children, Regina, SK 2007- Yorkton Short Film Festival, Yorkton, SK 2007- National Screen Institute, Winnipeg, MN Daddy’s Girl (2007) [Production facilitator/Camera/Co-Editor] 2007- Women’s Video Production Screening, Saskatchewan Filmpool Cooperative Creation From Within (2005) [Producer/Director/Writer/Editor] 2005- Fourth Year Screenings, University of Regina
I was in Toronto this summer
after the G20 when Toronto had become a strangely volatile place in an otherwise seemingly stable part of the world. The meeting in Toronto was the fourth meeting of G-20 leaders who met to discuss the global financial system and the world economy.
I missed the whole G20 debacle. I was there days
earlier to attend the IMAA/AAMI On.Fire Independent Media Arts Conference, June 15-19, 2010.
What is the IMAA? The Independent Media Arts Alliance was formed
by representatives of a number of film production, distribution and exhibition groups from across Canada, and was founded in Yorkton in 1980.
aims are communications, community and advocacy within the media arts community of Canada. Some of the IMAA principles include this one, which I am quoting, from the IMAA website, under History and Principles. “The Alliance believes that independent film, video and electronic media are valuable and vital forms of expression of our respective cultures, which can uncover the prevailing illusions and expose the formulas that underlie the vast majority of commercial and institutional messages.”
The Filmpool is a member of the IMAA and this
summer we were lucky enough to unite with other members just like us from all over the country. We were there along with hundreds of other independent media artists, producers and distributors gathered together in Toronto.
This was not your typical conference. Personally, 12 Splice Magazine Winter 2011
when I even hear the word conference, I wonder “how boring is this going to be?” Well, you can leave those kinds of thoughts at the door here. It would be nearly impossible for me to write about all of the events, panels, art for breakfast, screenings, installations, artist talks, exhibitions, and the amazing people I met. Sometimes it’s simply a case of - you just had to be there. This might be one of those types of situations.
do highly recommend that you check out the calendar events for the conference, still available online, as there were countless events, each uniquely engaging in their own way. For example there simply is no way to accurately articulate the strangely compelling magic of Amanda Steggell’s Emotion Organ. It is a festival of delights for your senses, part obsolete technology and a workable hybrid of musical instruments, part performance, and altogether a unique experience for both the performer and the audience. You really should check it out if you have the chance. It projects visual patterns and even emits aromas. It is funny though isn’t it? Growing up being told never to touch things, especially in an art gallery- and then to be invited, no, encouraged to touch and play with art. Interactive art: the wave of the future? Not only was the unusual accepted- it was being celebrated. From Steggell’s inception and creation of the Emotion Organ, but also what was being done with and to the art that had been created. And so I thought- yes! Embrace the unusual and encourage innovation. As an artist, you need to give yourself license to explore and to play, and now the audience was also being given that license. A new collaboration was born with each different person who played the organ, depending on their improvisation. It echoed in my mind. Art is play. I enjoyed the
Winter 2011 Splice Magazine 13
process of a discussion, then an installation performance to follow that evening. It allowed for some contextualization and discussion with the artist, which always enriches the experience for me when enjoying art.
was interesting to have such diverse presenters and artists involved, such as Justin A. Langlois from the University of Windsor, who presented as part of the panel entitled: An Argument for Non-Discipline. Justin was speaking about Broken City Lab, which is basically a response to the loss of hope that can be felt by a city, or at least some of the people inhabiting it. This presentation really stuck with me. What I took away from it was a real sense of a right to claim public spaces for the good, and using “the city” as a medium, a fascinating concept. To write on a public bridge: “You are amazing” instead of encountering negative graffiti drivel of “Windsor sucks”. The city was broken and they were trying to fix it, using spaces that literally had been vacant for years and bringing them to life. It was a great discussion about challenges and the response that artists and activists created in response to those challenges. This discussion with Justin and Adrian Blackwell was eye opening, really amazing, and the way that it was presented gave me hope that there can be progress made on a municipal level in arts and culture.
The ideas that stuck with me from this conference
focused on innovation. Art is play and art can change, but also recognition of the resources you already have. I mean, I definitely was excited by the presentations addressing dissemination of art in the age of new social platforms, but there was something being offered aside from what was physically printed in the conference program guide. It was the opportunity to meet with people who had already walked a mile in your shoes and who knew what you were going through working in a media arts centre. Hey, don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking to hear the world’s smallest violin here. It’s just working in the arts and culture sector you face challenges on many levels and it was the best thing to hear that you are not alone.
began to understand fully that the IMAA is here to help. That is what they do. They advocate for artists and independents working in the media arts sector throughout Canada and they were doing all of this for us. We gathered there for this week-long event and everything we read about in the program guide, but what we took away from it is not something tangible that you could document, such as how many people attended the talk about The Glowing Pickle.
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(Incidentally, you should check it out on the web, The Glowing Pickle - a scientific surplus store selling test tube vodka, created in Berlin around 1992 after the wall came down. Pay a few deutschmarks and they would light up an actual pickle. Hopefully soon creator Gordon Monahan will have something online about it. The photos he showed were ridiculously amazing and funny.)
The 2010 IMAA ON.Fire conference allowed the
opportunity for conversation and opened the door to communication among the hundreds of attendees. Ultimately what they say is true, there is strength in numbers. That is one of the things I intended to emphasize in this article: the IMAA is here to help all of us. Aside from all the advocacy they do, their website has discussion forums and tools that everyone can access. For example, they have the most amazing and comprehensive list of media arts organizations across Canada. A pretty handy tool to have when looking to find out what organizations have calls for submissions for artists, or looking to see what programs, support and funding other organizations have to offer. Canada has a tremendous number of media arts organizations to celebrate, and the IMAA is doing their best to make sure we can sustain an amazing support network for artists.
The IMAA represents over 12,000 independent
media artists and cultural workers and it was nice to have a week to spend trading knowledge, sharing and learning from my fellow programmers and artist working in media art centres across Canada. So, while we were attending all these amazing events and our eyes were being opened up to issues of independence and co-dependence, or Acadian culture in the Francophone media arts scene, we were also meeting and sharing these experiences with others who, back at home, in their own media arts centres were facing a variety of challenges. We soon found out that our struggles were one of the many things that united us. It makes you feel better to discover that the IMAA is doing their part to advocate for uniform employment standards and wages for artists and media arts workers, and that it is not you alone who is struggling to advocate for change. It helps to know that other organizations struggle with the same cuts to programs in the broad media arts sector, and with challenges for cultural spaces across a great number of arts and culture communities. It also acts as a great source of inspiration to hear from those who have success stories and learn that you are one of those organizations who can inspire others. Sometimes working in a media arts centre, you are so busy
Gordon Pepper images of the city of toronto, spring 2010. photo credit:
trying to keep up with the workload that you don’t take the opportunity to reflect on your successes. Uniting with others like you, in a setting like this conference, allows you also to reflect on the processes and initiatives that you are doing right.
of us who were able to attend ON.Fire, were likeminded and yet such a diverse selection of people from across Canada, gathered to share and learn from one another. So, aside from all of the amazing art practices that were showcased and discussed, I was happy to also learn from and share experiences and information with my counterparts who may have experienced similar issues, and may also be able to assist in sharing solutions to common issues facing media arts organizations today.
was privileged to meet with other media arts workers at the conference and be able to talk to them in person and now subsequently over the phone or in an
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email. It is so much easier to email or call someone at organizations from across the Country, like AFCOOP or WFG, if you have met that person, and been able to get a true sense of what their organization does. As a result, I have been able to forge new relationships both professionally for myself, but also for the Filmpool. If I can communicate and collaborate with other organizations, we are sharing resources, helping each other in the vision and execution of events, programs and initiatives—then I am no longer alone.
that is the biggest idea I took away from the experience: you are not alone. Sometimes it is nice to be reminded of that. I am glad that all of the amazing people who organized and attended the IMAA ON.Fire conference, were there as well, so that we all know we are in this together. You are only as small as your ideas and I am glad that this experience has encouraged me to think big, for myself and for the Filmpool.
Winter 2011 Splice Magazine 17
Gerald Saul has posted a new blog
“A Review of Ron Mein’s Jerry’s Journals” to his page The Long and the Tall of It
attention Ron Mein has uploaded a new comic.
warning Ron Mein’s stories don’t fit—too crude to be commercial, too funny to be art, too absurd to be diaries. But in the realm of the web, the credo of “build it and they will come” is paramount. All stories, big and small, find homes there and that is where Mein’s “Jerry’s Journal” series View
of over 30 short irreverent identity-questioning videos dwell. Yes
The modesty and
availability of “Jerry’s Journal” exemplifies the value of the Internet as a means of exhibiting video free of the constraints of market and of the tyranny of “industry standards.” I would like to suggest that it is only a matter of time before Mein’s videos become an international sensation, but the problems of viewership far outweigh those of creation. Web video viewers defy categorization, just like the videos found there. They display highly contradictory traits of extreme tolerance and intolerance simultaneously. While technical and traditional expectations are often low, the clicking of the stop/skip/next/exit button is notoriously fast. Ironically fickle, there is no telling when, if ever, an audience will form for a chosen body of work.
Screening, but also of the 33 even rougher web videos of the same series that he has been posting online over the past two years. This body of work demonstrates the impressive range of storytelling Mein is capable of. Centred around the first-person narratives of the title character, the one- to two-minute long stories show us a selfdeprecating and antisocial character for whom despair is the norm.
alert Ron Mein has added smoking to “Things I Like” and uploaded 3 new photos.
While some stories
deal with cliché and farfetched subjects (fear of being raped in prison, etc.), many are fresh and close enough to home to elicit an uncomfortable combination of humour and dread. Jerry’s life is steeped in faux pas as he addresses girls he likes by the wrong name, as he admits he is not who someone thinks he is, as he fails to fit in with racists because he doesn’t know that even they have limits, as he fails to see subtext in online Ron’s “Jerry’s Journal” videos, I refer not only chat room dialogue and implicates himself as to the eight remastered pieces he created with a pedophile, or as he discovers too late that he producer Dave McLean and presented earlier should never be himself. this year at the Saskatchewan Filmpool Premiere
When I speak of
The videos remain
fresh due, in part, to the loose approach to their creation. These non-animated films are generally made by pointing a video camera at the simple line drawings, panning and zooming around the page with a camera style that often feels improvised. Each video is completed with Jerry’s first-person narration delivered in Mein’s own voice. The approach is deceptively non-naive. While the drawings on-screen are unsophisticated and the tools he uses (at least for the web videos) are consumer level and easily accessible to many people, the rhythm and pacing of the pans and cuts, and the relationship of the image to the sound demonstrate skills developed over years of study and practice.
example. Changes such as this give Mein the necessary deniability of “Jerry’s Journal” being “Ron’s Journal” and, by association, of being an ongoing admission of emotional absence. As a character of fiction, deviant thoughts, aspects that each of us might carry to one degree or another, can be exposed. Jerry is an awful person whom I’d never be interested in meeting. However, in a brilliant exercise of anti-identity, he simultaneously exhibits characteristic I cannot deny identifying with. He is the “we” that we don’t want to be.
I am tempted to
embrace the less-than-professional viewpoint “I don’t know what’s good, but I know what I like”. Simply put, I like these videos even though they are created with a nearly complete disregard for artistic and technical standards we collectively regard as the hallmarks of quality. However, it is through his consistency of flaws and the way an intriguing outlet for his viewpoints through this that he delves into murk of our psyche that we fictitious Jerry character. The intimacy of direct can recognise the talent underlying Ron Mein’s address suggests a close correlation between “Jerry’s Journal” video series. The apparent creator and subject. The question of how much of sloppiness of the camerawork as it slips in and Jerry is Ron and Ron is Jerry underlies the entire out of focus, tilts, pans, and wanders around the project. While Mein denies being this archetypical page of crude line drawings is far from naive. Canadian angry loner of cinema lore, there is certainly intersections between them. The Internet, It is with a keen sense of humour, painful irony, psychological intuition, and dead-on filmic timing where “Jerry’s Journal” is primarily found, invites that Mein manages to deliver the punch lines with suspicion, particularly where the construction gut-wrenching accuracy. If you don’t like them, ask or concealment of identity is concerned. Mein for your money back. They are online and free, carefully and premeditatively tries to insulate check them out. x himself from Jerry, changing him to a creative writing student rather than a film student as Mein was at the time he began the series, for
Mein has found
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Winter 2011 Splice Magazine 21
Minutes after watching Paris, je t’aime, Regina filmmaker Mark Wihak came up with an idea. “It’d be kind of funny to set an anthology film like that in Regina,” Wihak said to his partner Vanda Schmockel. And with that statement I Heart Regina was born— a feature-length motion picture comprised of 13 films by 14 directors that tells stories of lives being lived in Regina. In Paris, je t’aime, love is veiled, revealed, imitated, sucked dry, reinvented and awakened in the neighbourhoods of the French city. I Heart Regina, on the other hand, has a much broader focus. Not only is there love, there is also hate, anger, enlightenment and ennui, as well as the perils of cold, cold weather.
The heart behind I Heart Regina By Kelly-Anne Riess
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Photo Illustration By Donovan Feuring Winter 2011 Splice Magazine 23
“There is a flow to the stories,” said Wihak. “You get a sense of all the lives of the people set in a mediumsized city and you get a richer sense of diversity.” The film premiered at the 34th annual Montreal World Film Festival on Aug. 30 where the film received a great view in the Montreal Gazette. Wihak hopes the film will resonate with people who’ve never been to Regina and help them get a sense of the place since the city is relatively unknown around the world. While Paris has been visited by millions of tourists and has been the setting for hundreds of films, Regina usually only stands in for other places on the big screen. “The end result is a . . . feeling that the city where you live isn’t perceived by others as very interesting or even worth living in at all,” said Schmockel. She and Wihak want to change this with their I Heart Regina project, which includes a film about Helder, and Mauricio Carvajal’s “A Foreign Song,” about an immigrant from Columbia who dreams of the day his family can finally join him in the Queen City. Another film, “Arrows,” by Eric Hill is about the Regina band Rah Rah. “Both interesting and banal lives are lived everywhere. I think there’s a universality of experience that’s well told [in I Heart Regina],” said Schmockel, who is originally from Toronto. 24 Splice Magazine Winter 2011
Her own film within the project “Except When I Don’t” tells the story of a woman who reluctantly returns home to Regina after living out east. “I think a lot of people, regardless of where they live, dream of getting out and reinventing themselves,” said Schmockel. “Returning home can be a sobering experience.” She hopes audiences who watch the film will realize that a place has as much potential as you care to see in it. All of the filmmakers who signed onto the project were only given $1,000 each to make their projects. The filmmakers, that also included Brian Stockton, Robin Schlaht, Lowell Dean, Brett Bell, Jason Nielsen, Rob King, Terry Mialkowsky, Dianne Ouellette and Jackie Dzuba, were encouraged to develop films that could be shot in two days with a small crew and cast and available locations. The total budget for the film was $60,000, with the Saskatchewan Filmpool and William F. White donating equipment, and technicians and performers offering their involvement in the project for free. “The appeal for me was, simply, the overall concept for the film,” said Bell. Stockton, who shot his film in his own house, said he thought the film was a fun way to explore the city. “When your career is wrapped up in raising money for films and promoting your work and trying to get ahead in the film festival world, you can start to take it all too seriously,” said Stockton. “This project urged us
to take a chance.” I Heart Regina went along great. The production phase of the project was almost completed when the unthinkable happened. The Saskatchewan government decided to shut down I Heart Regina’s broadcaster and principal revenue source, SCN, Saskatchewan’s public broadcaster. “It gave us cause for alarm,” said Wihak. While the I Heart Regina filmmakers worked to complete the project, they were also protesting the government’s decision to shut down SCN by writing letters, holding rallies, writing op-ed pieces to Saskatchewan newspapers and travelling around the province to rally public support. SCN has since been sold to Bluepoint Investments Inc. and the production did eventually air. Now seeing the project in completion, Wihak said it was interesting to see how all the filmmakers approached the challenge of the film. Dzuba’s film features the Olympic gold medalist curler Joan McCusker, and Schmokel borrowed the talents of T.J. Bews, the animal wrangler in Brokeback Mountain, who taught Jake Gyllenhaal to ride a horse. Bews provided the rabbit in Schmokel’s film. The films are tied together with Nils Sorensen’s interstitial sequences shot over Regina’s four distinct seasons.
Bryce Schlamp in Brett Bell’s “The Ancient Watery World of the Mosasaur” Kirk Brown and James Whittingham in ‘Ice’ photo credit: Aaron Moore bottom: Lowell Dean’s shoot “Remembrance Day” photo credit: Emersen Ziffle
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Want to know if any of the I heart films were shot in your neighbourhood? www.filmpool.ca/splice
clockwise from top left: Bryce Schlamp in Brett Bell’s “The Ancient Watery World of the Mosasaur” photo credit: Brett Bell Malcolm Cunningham in Jason Nielsen’s “Brothers” photo credit: Jason Nielsen/Brett Bell June Kim in Jackie Dzuba’s “Minus 47” photo credit: Aaron Moore James Whittingham in Brian Stockton’s ‘Ice’ photo credit: Layton Burton