VISIONS in collaboration with the Cinémathèque québécoise presents: Philip Hoffman - passing through/torn formations (16mm, 1988, 43mins)
“Philip Hoffman has long been recognized as Canada’s pre-eminent diary filmmaker. For over twenty years he has been straining history through personal fictions, using the material of his life to deconstruct the Griersonian legacy of documentary practice. As an artist working directly upon the material of film, Hoffman is keenly attuned to the shape of seeing, foregrounding the image and its creation as well as the manufacture of point of view. Hoffman’s films are deeply troubled in their remembrances; he dusts off the family archive to examine how estrangement fuels a fascination with the familiar surroundings of home. (Karyn Sandlos, Toronto Images Festival, 2001)
After shows in Los Angeles (Echo Park), Winnipeg (WNDX Festival) and Toronto (Pleasure Dome) the 20th Anniversary Film Farm celebrations journey to the U.K., presented by Lux Moving Image of London! The Film Farm Lux 20th Show, curated and presented by Artistic Director and founder Philip Hoffman, includes early and recent films (16mm and digital) made at the Film Farm between 1994 and 2014.
For 20 years The Independent Imaging Retreat or ‘Film Farm’ has been developing a hands-on, artisanal approach to filmmaking that is far removed from the costly, hierarchical and inaccessible industrial model. Each summer it brings to Mount Forest Ontario a small group of interested filmmakers – some novices and some highly experienced – for an intensive week of shooting, hand-processing, tinting/toning, watching and editing film — most of the action taking place in and around an old barn on the Normanby Township property, in rural Ontario.
The Film Farm L.A. 20th Anniversary Show includes early and recent films (16mm and digital), and concentrates its light on those `film farmers’ who have graced the west coast scene with their exquisite, playful and committed works on celluloid.
“In the documentary film What these ashes wanted Hoffman arranges the jagged bits of life he shared with writer Marian McMahon. Her early death in 1996 provoked this essay on mortality. Hoffman’s goal: “to illuminate the conditions of her death… the mystery of her life and the reason why, at the instant of her passage, I felt peace with her leaving… a feeling I no longer hold.” Using painterly swatches of sunflowers, hand-processed film, found sound recordings, the “antiseptic fictions” of doctors and other mortal icons, Hoffman takes us on journeys to London, Helsinki and Egypt. Pondering morbidity in its many forms, Hoffman discloses an early photographic assignment involving his deceased grand-father, a failed suicide, and his own personal numerology of death centering on the number seventeen. Through these and other memories, he develops a soul-searching vocabulary of love for one whose journey continues into the beyond. ‘If you had to make up your own ritual for death, what would it be? Would it be private or shared?’ asked his partner, Marian. Hoffman’s answer is this beautiful document. (San Francisco International Festival Catalogue, 2002)