From The Peg! Rating: NNN
Much like LIFT (the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto), the Winnipeg Film Group helps indie filmmakers with tasks from pre-production to distribution. Some of their efforts screen at Harbourfront Centre this weekend as part of From The Peg!
Many of the selections (all shorts) skirt or cross the line between video installation and short film. There's Heidi Phillips's Direction, a sort of sound poem in black-and-white, featuring people talking about forms of transportation and literal, street-by-street directions. Or Odilon Redon, by Guy Maddin, a near-silent film that channels Georges Mlis and Sergei Eisenstein. Like a lot of low-budget pictures, the films here tend to have great visuals but lousy sound, reminding us that not all production problems can be fixed in editing.
Sadly, the most entertaining and straightforward film in the group has been pulled from the program. Death By Popcorn, from l'Atelier-National du Manitoba, is a bittersweet doc about the Winnipeg Jets becoming the Phoenix Coyotes (an NHL team partly owned by Wayne Gretzky, formerly of the Jets' biggest rivals, the Edmonton Oilers). The film features amusing tidbits of Jets history, including rocker Burton Cummings on skates and a video for the song Je Suis Dale Hawerchuk, by a Quebec band that named itself after Winnipeg's leading goal-scorer.
Unfortunately, a lot of the footage is from an old CTV affiliate, stuff the filmmakers had been told was bound for the dumpster. They never got permission to use it. Now CTV wants the footage, and the film, destroyed. So far, the Atelier has refused, but the doc isn't being screened anywhere yet.
If hockey's your thing and experimental films aren't, fear not. The fest also includes a bunch of music, readings and a seminar on "the art of the perogie." (July 29-30 at Harbourfront)