I’ve watched over 50 documentaries in the last two weeks (and many more over 14 years of programming), and here’s what I’m thinking:* The first point is so crucial that I’d like to just put it up front and center, then get on with the lesser evils of contemporary documentary filmmaking: If white people, who are usually or always cis-gendered males, are featured in your film as the only subjects, protagonists or voices of authority, then you have either made a film about a small remote sect in some distant…read more
It’s springtime in Toronto and that means Canada’s premiere documentary showcase is back for another jam-packed ten day event that will deliver the world of doc to eager local audiences and international festivalgoers. This is Hot Docs‘s first year with new Executive Director Brett Hendrie steering the ship (Chris McDonald is now overseeing the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema) and it looks like Hendrie has continued his predecessor’s legacy of putting on huge, popular and energized festivals. In particular, the Hot Docs talks this year look fantastic, with discussions around environmental…read more
Above: from left to right, at the Cinema Politica book launch: Svetla Turnin, John Greyson, Thomas Waugh and Ezra Winton. High up on the eleventh floor of Concordia’s EV (Engineering and Visual Arts) building in downtown Montreal 150 or so people gathered as a sun set reflected in orange hues across a range of high-rise buildings. In our own way we had organized an event that embodied the intriguing marriage of art and engineering, mostly expressed in the presentation by the unstoppable, insanely inspiring and altogether heroic human John Greyson…read more
I first stumbled upon George Littlechild’s art at the Comox Valley Art Gallery in my hometown of Courtenay, British Columbia. After reeling from the emotional turmoil and historical reopening, rapprochement and reordering rendered in his bold and colourful brush strokes and integration of collage through archives, I was delighted further to learn that Littlechild resided right there, in my little town. After several years run by a city council dominated by career politicians and land developers, Courtenay has come to resemble the big box subsidiary that many other communities in…read more
This is the poster for the John Greyson talk and CP book launch in Montreal in a few days. Can’t wait!
This just in! NSCAD University has informed me that they will indeed offer my class, “Cinemas of Globalization” this summer. I’m thrilled to be heading to Halifax for May and June to teach this intense, around-the-world course on the cultural, social, historical and political context of non-mainstream and non-Western cinemas! Now, it’s time to curate the playlist and accompanying texts – sweet!
I’ll be speaking at this roundtable on April 9th in Montreal. Looking forward to it!
Earlier this month I had the pleasure and privilege of participating in NSCAD’s Cineflux Symposium, an academic gathering that explores the “old new” forms, modes, practices and theories of cinema. My Postdoctoral supervisor, Dr. Darrell Varga, invited me to present a paper on the politics of presence and documentary activist screening spaces, which was indeed given to a receptive audience on the last Sunday morning of the symposium. There was a slight hiccup with my arrival for my panel, as my phone was still set to Montreal time and the…read more
When Marc Glassman, the editor of POV magazine, asked me to join the publication as the newest contributing editor last year I was honoured. As Canada’s only source of writing on documentary culture, politics and production, the quarterly has been my go-to on all things doc for some time. Started by the Canadian Independent Film Caucus (now the Documentary Organization of Canada) in 1993 along with the Hot Docs film festival, POV delivers articles on documentary policy, production, and distribution, as well as film reviews and interviews. I recently checked…read more
On December 18th, 2013, I sat in a stodgy IT classroom in Carleton University (Ottawa), surrounded by five extremely intelligent people (one via Skype) who were there to challenge, provoke, rock and ultimately assess me. It was the end of six-and-a-half years of “doing” my PhD, and there I was, my doorstopper thesis in front of me looking like a turgid treatise destined for decades of editing or neglect (take your pick), and a clutch of eager professors ready to advance like well-meaning warriors who hadn’t eaten properly for days.