Short films, video, and performance from Winnipeg
curated by Aaron Zeghers
Works by Ed Ackerman & Gregory Zbitnew, Karen Asmundson, Alyssa Bornn, Michael Buttersworth & Cameron Cummings, Clint Enns, Scott Fitzpatrick, Walter Forsberg, Guy Maddin, Mike Maryniuk, Milos Mitrovic, Jaz Papadopolous, Heidi Phillips, Matthew Rankin, Colby Richardson, Leslie Supnet, Aaron Zeghers
We are pleased to welcome Canadian artist and curator Aaron Zeghers to present Winnipeg Handshake, an evening of works in film, video and live performance that although spanning time and mediums, come from the city of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Many are being presented for the first time in New York.
From the curator Aaron Zeghers:
“This collection of short films presents an overview of contemporary experimental filmmaking in Winnipeg, as well as a brief history of experimental cinema in this isolated Canadian city. The work – while varied – is indoctrinated with the sentiments of the city itself, often referred to by it’s practitioners as fun formalism.
Matthew Rankin’s Mynarski Death Plummet and Guy Maddin’s hyper-kinetic short The Heart of the World stand side-by-side to begin the program. Rankin and Maddin – two of the most heralded Winnipeg filmmakers, years apart – both adopt rigorous experimental and avant-garde techniques (direct animation, stop-motion, light painting and flicker-cuts) within the greater framework of their narrative films.
5 Cents a Copy (1980) by Ed Ackerman and Gregory Zbitnew stands as an early cornerstone of Winnipeg experimentation, both as a sendoff for Winnipeg’s brand of “fun formalism” but also as a propagator of mythology within Winnipeg’s cinematic history (of which there is a bold tradition). So the legend goes, Zbitnew and Ackerman were outraged at the Winnipeg Film Group’s decision to purchase a new $20,000 photocopier instead of filmmaking gear. So the duo would break into the organization’s office each night, determined to use the state-of-the-art copier for artistic purposes. The result was one of the earliest photo copy animations ever made, and one of the first clear-cut examples of Winnipeg’s “fun formalism”.
Roughly 25 years later, Mike Maryniuk would appear on Winnipeg’s filmmaking scene, as part of Matthew Rankin and Walter Forsberg’s Atelier national du Manitoba. Maryniuk’s 2011 film Tattoo Step would continue Ackerman and Zbitnew’s exploration of surface through experimental animation. Maryniuk was inspired by way of Stan Brakhage’s Mothlight to apply temporary tattoos directly to 35mm, creating both image and “tickling the ivories” of the projector via the sound strip, as Maryniuk is remembered to say.
These experiments with the film surface would be continued in the camera-less animated works by Scott Fitzpatrick, who first developed and then perfected the art of laser printing directly onto the film strip.
As a community, Winnipeg’s size and isolation from other major centers make it optimal for young artists to cut their teeth in a low-pressure environment. You can see this in Walter Forsberg’s early lo-fi doc Thunder on the Track and in the One Take Super 8 event hosted annually by WNDX festival of moving image. This singular event presents Winnipeg filmmakers with one roll of Super 8, which is shot, developed and then shown to a sold-out, exuberant audience during WNDX. This is a nerve-wracking experience to be sure, with high-stakes and bragging rights as supreme prize. It has created countless new small-gauge works and is one of the reasons Winnipeg stands alone on the Canadian prairies in it’s celluloid output. Four films from last year’s One Take Super 8 event are included in this program, by Karen Asmundson, Milos Mitrovic, Alyssa Bornn and Michael Buttersworth & Cameron Cummings.
Winnipeg – like most small cities – often sees many of it’s most talented denizens move away, and the filmmaking scene is no different. While their physical presence is gone, the spirits of ex-pat Winnipeggers linger in this program. Matt Rankin, Leslie Supnet, Clint Enns, Walter Forsberg continue to haunt the contemporary work being made here to this day. You would have to be blind (and perhaps deaf) to miss elements of Supnet’s existential ponderings and geometric animations in Aaron Zeghers’ recent expanded cinema performance Everything Turns…”
Artist and curator Aaron Zeghers will be in attendance and available for a Q&A following the screening.
Aaron Zeghers is a Canadian artist working in film, video and photography. Zeghers works primarily as an experimental filmmaker, utilizing analog formats, in-camera effects, various types of animation and other experimental techniques to create his films and expanded cinema performances. Zeghers’ work has screened at festivals and venues around the world including International Film Festival Rotterdam, Festival du nouveau cinéma, DOXA Film Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival and New York’s Mono No Aware. As a film programmer, Zeghers is the founder and co-director of the Winnipeg Underground Film Festival and the Open City Cinema on-going film screening collective. He is also the current Artistic Director for the Gimli Film Festival, Manitoba’s largest film festival.
General admission $8
Members and students w/ ID $6
More info and full program available at www.microscopegallery.com