Taking this warped moment in time, spring 2021, and the emotional disruptions caused by it as a starting point, the program re-frames a selection of films from the CFMDC’s archive. The 16mm films are projected on to a screen for a webcam in an otherwise empty theatre. With a mix of the original soundtracks and a new score by Victoria Cheong aka New Chance, performed and streamed live. The films, produced between the years 1969 to 2000, are very different in style and content – seen together, now, they resonate with the idea of a foyer or antechamber, a waiting room that promises the potential of a great event - but might be a trap. The result is an experiment in translation – from the past into the now; the screen into the web; 16mm to twitch; the room into the world; the mind into the forest.
In his essay Foyer, written in 2011, Ian White describes how internationally film co-ops like the CFMDC - funded based on ideals of openness, access and collaboration - have over time, through accumulating material and constructing canons, become “careers, definitions, collections, archives, restricted zones, police patrols.” Instead of this, he imagines “a place that slides between positions, potentials, instructions, openness, closures.” He calls this place “a foyer - an engine room that is also by necessity otherwise regarded as marginal.” Victoria Cheong and Oliver Husain propose the screening performance Foyer Forest Feelings to be live broadcast from this imaginary antechamber.
With films by Vincent Grenier, Sarah Pucill, Midi Onodera, Ellie Epp, Chris Chong Chan Fui, David Rimmer, Mary J Daniel – who have all generously agreed to this re-staging of their work – and Tom Chomont and Jack Smith as the queer ghosts watching over us.
Catch by Vincent Grenier (Canada, USA / 4:15 / 1975)
"Catch is a fragmented observation on hidden reflective surfaces, the corner of a dormant television screen, a window..." -Mike Reynolds, Berkeley Barb
You Be Mother by Sarah Pucill (Great Britain / 7:00 / 1990)
"You Be Mother" uses stop-frame animation to disrupt the traditional orders of animate and inanimate, the fluid and the solid. An hallucinatory space is set up when a frozen image of the artist's face is projected onto weighty pieces of crockery atop a table. Ears, eyes, nose and mouth, all become spatially dislocated as a determined hand begins to reposition, decant and mix. Events unfold to the amplified sounds of grinding, pouring and stirring.
Oblivion by Tom Chomont (U.S.A. / 6:00 / 1969)
"'Oblivion' successfully blends elements from both the poetic and diary modes. In the process, Tom Chomont has created one of the few truly erotic works of cinema." - J.J. Murphy, "Reaching Toward Oblivion," Millennium Film Journal No. 3
"Lost in the heat of a masturbatory revel, light pours off the skin of the filmmaker, finally coalescing in an associative montage that relates the body of his hustler/lover with the world outside. 'Oblivion' is very much a 'home movie,' enclosed between the four walls of a New York tenement, it describes a lover 's encounter." - Mike Hoolboom
A Performance by Jack Smith by Midi Onodera (Canada / 5:00 / 1992)
In October of 1984, the highly acclaimed New York artist, Jack Smith, came to Toronto for a week long performance/Halloween ritual at the Funnel Experimental Film Theatre. This performance, true to Smithesque form, went by three different titles: "Dance of the Sacred Foundation Application," "Brassieres of Uranus," and "Impacted Croissants From Outer Space." Accompanied by the music of Yma Sumac, this short piece remains the last film documentation of this historic event.
Current by Ellie Epp (Canada / 2:30 / 1986)
"The conceptual and minimalist aesthetic seen in this film refers to the more complex metaphysical and alchemical transformations which occur when silver is exposed to tungsten light. These currents of light, like Daniel Burren's striped conceptual art, refer to the basic nature of representation while attempting to resist and transform traditional viewing habits or consumption. 'Current' is a beautiful meditation on these realities." - Maria Insell
Music Might Have Deceived Us by Chris Chong Chan Fui (Canada / 6:00 / 2000)
"Chong brings queer chops into new sightlines with this elegant mini-essay on desire... A series of peek-a-boo mattes admit moments glimpsed in passing. Scars of seeing. The throbbing, hand-processed emulsion begins with clouds then descends through traffic to arrive at the aching towards some new moment of release.” - Mike Hoolboom, Images Festival, Toronto, 2000
Ophelia and The Cat Lady by Tom Chomont (U.S.A. / 3:00 / 1969)
Two films on one reel. With Liz Reiner (OPHELIA) and Carla Liss (THE CAT LADY). On one level the films are portraits; on another level the first is inspired by reading about the painting of John Millais' "Ophelia," and "The Cat Lady" is an homage to the horror films of the filmmaker's childhood movie going.
Treefall by David Rimmer (Canada / 5:00 / 1970)
"Treefall was originally made for a dance performance at the Vancouver Art Gallery, April, 1970. Structured in the form of two loops of high-contrast images of trees falling, reprinted and overlapped.
Discrete Moments by Mary J. Daniel (Canada / 5:00 / 1993)
A short experimental film, "Discrete Moments" offers some paradoxical thoughts on the mathematics of "forever and ever." While a big jet plane crawls across the tarmac, a love held back, goes unnoticed.
"Discrete Moments" was produced for the 1994 Cineworks omnibus film Breaking Up in 3 Minutes. Six Vancouver filmmakers were each given 200 feet of film, restricted to one day of shooting, three edits, one track of sound, and asked to make a three minute film about the break-up of a personal relationship.