Northern Light: New Experimental Works for the Great White North

Programmed by Clint Enns & Leslie Supnet. Presented by Echo Park Film Centre in Los Angeles, California on November 19, 2015. 

Northern Light: New Experimental Works from the Great White North is a small sampling of experimental works from Hollywood North. Unlike films made in the Hollywood studio system, the selection of works in this program are made by filmmakers who tell personal stories by digging into the archives of lost or forgotten material and memories. Moreover, these works offer a glimpse into the formal and personal obsessions of those living in Toronto, Ontario. By the Time We Got To Expo by Phil Hoffman & Eva Kolcze is a meditative journey through Expo 67, a contemporary re-visiting of a significant moment in Canadian history using experimental techniques to directly manipulate the emulsion of educational and documentary films about this historical event – an event that, as the decayed images suggest, is slowly eroding from the Canadian subconscious. In a similar nostalgic gesture, Christine Lucy Latimer’s Still Feeling Blue About Colour Separation rephotographs over 200 internet-sourced images of ‘Macbeth ColorChecker’ cards onto handmade super 8mm cyanotype emulsion effectively remove all of the colours except for one. In contrast, Leslie Supnet’s psychedelic super 8 animation Second Sun, imagines a post-Apocalyptic future through the birth of a new Sun. 

As one of the most culturally diverse cities in North America, artists employ experimental strategies in order to better understand their own community. For instance, Brian Random’s Untitled offers a glimpse into the life of a difficult neighbour through a VHS tape found in a thrift shop. El Barrio by veteran Toronto filmmaker and educator Marcos Arriaga offers a colourful mosaic of the people of Toronto’s downtown core and I for NDN by Clint Enns and Darryl Nepinak uses appropriated footage from an educational program designed to teach children their vowels in order to better understand the dissemination of cultural stereotypes. Finally, Mike Hoolboom’s Scrapbook uses footage shot in Ohio’s Broadview Developmental Center in 1967 by Escarpment School guru and audio/visual healer Jeffrey Paull to tell the story of the audacious autistic Donna Washington as she encounters pictures of her former self. 

Working in a city that is home to the Festival of Festivals, the Toronto International Film Festival, Toronto experimental filmmakers are forced to wallow in a cinematic cesspool that inevitably informs their practice. Experimental filmmakers subvert the medium through cleverly re-imagining it. To this end, Zoë Heyn-Jones Home/Land uses an in-camera split-screen technique to represent two forms of cinematic time and Francesco Gagliardi’s Film: Rope breaks down the relationship between cinematic space and the space of live performance by re-embodying and transposing the movements and characters of Hitchcock’s Rope (1948).

Leslie Supnet will be in attendance for the screening. 


Home/Land | Zoë Heyn-Jones | 2012 | 6 min. | 16mm | silent
By the Time We Got To Expo | Phil Hoffman & Eva Kolcze | 2015 | 9min. | 16mm->DV)
Still Feeling Blue About Colour Separation | Christine Lucy Latimer | 2014 | 2 min. | super 8 | silent
Second Sun | Leslie Supnet | 2014 | 3 min. | super 8 | wild sound
Untitled | Brian Random | 2015 | 10 min. | VHS->DV
El Barrio | Marcos Arriaga | 1998 | 10 min. | 16mm
I for NDN | Clint Enns & Darryl Nepinak | 2011 | 2min. | VHS->DV
Film: Rope | Francesco Gagliardi (2013 | 14 min. | DV
Scrapbook | Mike Hoolboom | 2015 | 18min. | DV