December 14, 2012 § Leave a comment
This afternoon I had to opportunity to ask John a few questions about himself and his upcoming workshops:
John Woods has been a Cineworks member since 2003. Currently working with alternative film processes with Super 8 and 16mm film, John’s work has been screened across North America and Europe. He knows no one famous.
There are 2 upcoming workshops with John:
Learn how to setup & maintain the printer, basic principals of digitizing film and how to use the resulting computer files in their digital post-production workflow.
Tuesday, January 22, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. Limited Spaces available.
$40 Members, $60 Non-Members.
Introduction to 16mm Optical Printing with a JK Printer
Saturday, January 26, 12 p.m. – 6 p.m. Limited spaces available.
$80 Members, $120 Non-Members
Special rate of $100 if you register for both the digital and analogue workshop for all Cineworks members!
Check cineworks.ca for more information.
Thanks to John Woods for his time!
December 13, 2012 § Leave a comment
Last week, our own Facilities and Equipment Manager Jon Ornoy successfully pitched True Love Waits, the winning script of the 2012/13 Motion Picture Production Industry Association Short Film Award at The Whistler Film Festival. Besides prestige, the prize comes with a $15,000 cash prize and up to $100,000 in services to help the director develop the script to premiere at next year’s Whistler Film Festival. I thought it was time to send a few emails back and forth down the hall and get to know Ornoy the filmmaker a little bit better.
Image taken from Brianne Nord-Stewart’s site (Jon is the one in the hat)
CineworksPost: First, Congratulations! How does it feel to know you’ve got a premiere already locked down at next year’s film festival?
Jon Ornoy: Getting into festivals can be tough and sometimes frustrating because of all the competition out there. Ultimately, every filmmaker wants their work to be seen by an audience, and preferably in a theater, so knowing that I’ve got at least one audience lined up is nice. It’s also good to have hard deadlines to help motivate completion!
CwP: Can you briefly tell us what True Love Waits is about?
JO: The film is the story of Judy, a woman in her mid-fifties who has spent her entire career decorating the windows of Wedgely’s for Women, a high end clothing boutique. However, recently she has begun to suspect that Tammy, a new employee at the store has been sabotaging her displays at night in an effort to make her look bad and steal her job. Every morning when she arrives at the store, her work is in more and more of a disarray, in ways that Judy can’t explain, and she begins to slowly crackup as the prospect of losing her job becomes more of a reality.
CwP: I recently caught your first finished work, The Lunar Effect (2008). While that was a documentary and this is a fictive drama, is there a trajectory in how your approach storytelling and filmmaking?
JO: Even though documentaries deal with “real life”, in many ways I find there to be a lot more room for creativity within that genre than dramas because the real world is so much weirder and more diverse. The variety of storytelling coming out of the narrative world has been decreasing a lot in recent years as the films Hollywood fills the multiplex with take fewer risks and prefer to feed audiences the same stories repackaged and rebooted. Even though TLW is scripted, I’d like to shoot it using as many documentary techniques as possible like using handheld cameras and allowing the actors to improvise with each other and the public who will be extras in the film when they unknowingly walk through our downtown sidewalk locations. I’d definitely like to continue working on both sides of the “reality” line and expect that my approach to each genre will be informed by what I’ve learned from doing the other and am very interested in exploring docu-drama hybrids.
This e-mail interview took place on Thursday, December 13, 2012 between Jon Ornoy and Amy Fung.
December 13, 2012 § Leave a comment
My first experience with historical films occurred in ’67/68 at an underground film screening in San Francisco. Having been educated in the sciences, and having dropped out in favor of making / showing underground films, I had no knowledge of any film history beyond what my generation had seen in Hollywood or foreign films called ‘art films’.
So, this one night in SF, at a converted (to a theater) loft, with a home-build projection booth, a series of recent underground films was screened, and in the middle of this screening was a strange hand-colored film: “A Trip to the Moon” by Georges Melies (1902) presented as a silent short without any introduction or program notes. I was hooked, but I didn’t know on who or what.
When you’re 21 or 22, it isn’t the ‘history’, the ‘cultural importance’, the ‘notoriety’. the ‘auteur’ that works on you, it’s the ‘art’ and its capacity to inspire. (And it cost 1$ admission then, and also at Intermedia where I had my underground film screenings.) It was at these underground screenings that we got to see Maya Deren, Eisenstein, Abel Gance, dada and surrealist films (Un Chien Andalou, L’Age d’Or), the films of Norman MacLaren (!), and Len Lye, and so many others from the past mixed in with the present. And I was inspired!
After inquiries (‘Who was this guy, Melies?’), and subsequent years of collecting Melies (and other) films, after hooking up with film pirates who circulated prints (for copying) nationally and internationally, after putting on some shows of silent works (including a Surrealist film show at the film theatre of the Surrey Art Gallery, to which no one came!) I immersed myself in a ‘underground’ film studies and film historical culture spawned by underground film screenings, and existing/thriving totally outside of any university, cinematheque, or gallery.
In Vancouver, late sixties and into the seventies, there were hardly any ‘film studies’ programs at the local universities. The Stan Fox SFU film workshop was simply that, a student film production program, and way out in Burnaby. In the early 70’s, animation and film courses taught at the Vancouver Art School (Cambie St.) were specific to techniques and individual projects. This was a ‘pre cinema studies’ time. Any screenings, study, or commentary on historical films, film theory, film analysis were done ad hoc by lovers of cinema, or film clubs like at UBC (Kirk Tougas), The Vancouver Film Society (Pearl Williams), and these activities were not organized around a curriculum.
Of course, the late 70’s and 80’s would change all that, especially at SFU where I taught then, but the changes were not always beneficial to a film culture outside of the interests of academia and the faculty that make up a program.
I recently got a poster from Alex MacKenzie‘s archive (‘Georges Melies: Illusionist Extraordinaire’, included in this post) advertising a Melies film show that I had forgotten about. This was held at the Edison Electric Moving Image Gallery on Commercial Drive in the 90’s. I’m using this poster to drive home a point: film culture, history, theory, analysis, and its integration with practice, occurs all the time, though its origins and vestiges are sometimes hard to find. Universities and cinematheques get all the press, while the informal screenings (clubs, parallel galleries) stay largely out of sight and usually are forgotten. Yet, the informal scene of ‘film studies/appreciation’ is precisely what fed us (underground, experimental, independent) film makers in ways that were more enduring than workshops in ‘tech’ or ‘screenwriting’ or ‘semiotics’ or ‘film history’ at the U.. In fact, Alex MacKenzie’s Edison and Blinding Light had as much to do with ‘film studies’ as any of the university curriculums or cinematheque exhibitions at the time.
The fact that Cineworks salons, workshops and screenings continue this study of film and its interpretations, theories, analytical methods is admirable, though I am sure it is a non-profit unpaid task of self-sacrifice by the organizers. The fact that one can learn, and be inspired by, film culture outside of the U. should be remembered, celebrated, and supported. In my lifetime, it started with underground films, with no wikipedia, no web, and no schooling. In your lifetime it started when you first fell in love with a film, or a moment in a film, or an idea in a film. And what you do with that inspiration is a measure of your life in film culture.
My own fascination with Melies is contained in my Visual Essays: Origins of Film, films that engage in a ‘re-imagining’ of primitive and silent cinema, from Lumiere to Eisenstein, from the initial inventor’s ‘Eureka!’ moment to the use of film as ‘text’ and political, advertising, propaganda messaging.
December 11, 2012 § Leave a comment
A couple of notes about the history of Cineworks, if only to upset any mythology arising from (some future discovery of) fossilized remains or flawed memory.
When Cineworks first ‘got a place’ (1980) – and you always start an organization with a ‘place’ – it was an empty office, adjacent to Canadian Filmmakers DIstribution Centre West (CFMC-W) – later an independent CFDW, and later Moving Images – on Pender St. We had no furniture, no equipment, nothing but a space with lots of ‘potential’. Our first film equipment was a set of rewinds, 4-gang 16mm synchronizer, splicer and audio squawk-box. I delivered this to Cineworks as a gift, from my collection, but it really came from Intermedia (Vancouver org. ’67-’71), which had dissolved almost 10 years earlier.
If others have memories to share, they would be most welcome, because in the end, we forget ‘everything’.
December 6, 2012 § Leave a comment
Our Monthly Film and Media Showcase allows for feedback and thoughtful dialogue between film artists and audiences. Presenters range from documentary filmmakers, photographers, to visual artists working through the moving image.
The format is simple: 3 artists, ten minutes each, dialogue in between.
Bring a friend and have a drink; network and share your vision, ideas and projects.
When: Wednesday, December 12th, 2012 from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Where: The Annex, 235 Alexander street
Please note seating is limited. First come seating only.
December 6, 2012 § Leave a comment
Thanks to Cineworks member John Woods for these photos from Alex Mackenzie’s ‘Expanding Cinema’ workshop. Pictured: Alex, Amanda T and Ariel K-G
EXPANDING CINEMA is an extended workshop series with film artist Alex MacKenzie exploring performance-based film practice. Taking a hands-on approach to the materiality of cinema, these workshops will demystify and dismantle the filmic process with a focus on expanded cinematic forms. From projector modification to film manipulation, MacKenzie will be leading each session customized to participant interests and shaped by their input. Over the course of several months, this series offers the potential to produce singular and collaborative works or installations to be presented in the new year. This is a hands-on conversation where the practical and theoretical are blended at the discretion of participants. Come with ideas, or come to be inspired. All skill levels welcome.
Workshops are every six to eight weeks, Monday and Tuesday nights from 7-10 pm.
2012: October 29/30, December 10/11. 2013: January 28/29, March 18/19.
Price per session: $30 Members/$50 Non-Members
Full registration: $175 Members/$300 Non-Members
To register please call 604.685.3841 M–F (noon to 6 pm)
Advance registration is required. Limited capacity. Waiting lists will be available.