Stop Making Sense
Earlier this week, Paramount Pictures became the first Hollywood studio to cease distributing its productions on celluloid. That's right, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues was the last Paramount title you have a chance of seeing projected from a 35mm film print. Ron Burgundy is just that important.
As cinema moves ever more relentlessly into the digital realm, the experience of actual film projection is something cineastes have come to cherish. That appreciation extends to the smallest of film gauges, as you'll see if you attend The 8 Fest this weekend.
In its seventh year, the festival has moved into a new venue at the SPK Polish Combatants' Hall (206 Beverly, just south of College), but its mandate is the same, celebrating small-gauge filmmaking with screenings tonight (January 24) through Sunday (January 26), a hands-on Super 8 Filmmaking workshop taught by local filmmaker John Porter on Saturday afternoon and a talk by filmmaker Kyle Whitehead Sunday at 2 pm.
Tickets are $5 per screening or $25 for a festival pass; Saturday's workshop is a separate $25 fee, and only 10 spaces are available. The full schedule is here (PDF link).
You might want to pay special attention to Sunday's 7 pm program, From Kingston Road To Humber Bay. The latest of the 8 Fest's Home Movie History Project presentations, it's a collection of vintage 8mm reels shot in the 30s and 40s - both colour and black-and-white - rescued from family rooms and attics to offer glimpses of a vanished Toronto.
The non-archival programming tends toward the experimental, but the Bagerooo! programs get more playful. Volume One (tonight, 11 pm) includes The Sound We See: A Hanoi City Symphony, a collaboration between Los Angeles's Echo Park Film Center and Hanoi's DocLab that compresses 24 hours in the life of Hanoi into a whirlwind 24 minutes, with a soundtrack that's as busy as the flood of images. And Volume Two (Sunday, 9 pm.) includes Tara Meranda Nelson's The Last Day Of Capricorn, a moody self-portrait of the filmmaker on her 38th birthday.
If you're looking for something less grainy and more brainy, you could always spend Saturday at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema. In the afternoon, the venue marks the passing of beloved documentary producer and filmmaker Peter Wintonick with a tribute and fundraiser starting at 1 pm. Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky And The Media, the 1992 documentary Wintonick co-directed with Mark Achbar, will be screened, and Achbar will be present for a Q&A afterward with additional special guests.
Proceeds from the screening will go towards the completion of Wintonick's last documentary, Be Here Now, which his daughter and frequent collaborator Mira Burt-Wintonick is finishing in his absence.
At 9:30 pm, there's a special Rock Docs presentation of Jonathan Demme's magnificent Talking Heads performance film Stop Making Sense. The evening - co-presented by NXNE - will celebrate the film's 30th anniversary in style, preceding the screening with a DJ set by Moe Berg. I had the pleasure of introducing the movie at Harbourfront a few years back, and it's such a pleasure to watch on a big screen with an audience; if you've only seen it on a TV, you haven't seen it at all.