I can’t say enough about the annual ReFrame Film Festival’s unflinching programming and dedication to engaging voices that would otherwise go unheard. The 63 films of 2013’s fierce collection address issues that range from local to global, from intimate to universal, along with creative workshops, talks by filmmakers and a dance party featuring Climbing PoeTree and Dub Trinity. This is a weekend to make you cringe, gasp, weep, snort, rage and celebrate.
Of particular interest for the arts community are the films where art and politics collide such as Ai Wei Wei’s Never Sorry or Deborah Dickson’s The Lost Bird Project; there is also a mini series of dance films. Sarah Polley’s personal documentary, Stories We Tell, just won the $100,000 best Canadian film award from the Toronto Film Critics Association. 5 Broken Cameras, a commentary on the Israel/Palestine conflict, and a documentary about the cover-up of systemic rape in the U.S. military called Invisible War, are both nominated for Oscars, but the real must-sees are the dozens of cinematic gems that will never make it to the big screen.
The hardest part is choosing between two films that are being screened in the same time slot …
And don’t forget to see this year’s Still ReFrame exhibit, which presents artwork by local artists. The show parallels Peterborough’s outstanding film festival and has been curated this year by Elizabeth Fennell, of Gallery in the Attic. It kicks off at Market Hall January 13th, 4-8pm and the work can be seen at locations throughout downtown Peterborough for the rest of the month of January.
Photography is represented with 3 artists: Phillip Chee “combines the medium of photography with the tradition of the flâneur to depict the urban ‘physiognomy of the public spirit’ of twenty-first century Peterborough.” The statement alone makes me want to see it. Liz Cooper’s super-saturated and patterned photos graced the walls of the Gallery in the Truck during Artsweek in 2012; she will be presenting images from her excursion to a Palestinian refugee camp in Beirut. iSpeak Youth Photovoice Collection explores social justice issues from a youth perspective.
There are 4 dimensional works as well. Judith Hyland confronts our dependence on oil and invents metaphorical tools to navigate an uncertain future in her works entitled Wheel, Map and Prayer. Beth McCubbin references peace and release from oppression in Free as a Bird. Patrick Moore reimagines the book in his series of sculptures made of recycled books at Dear Henry. Houses by psychotherapist Brian Nichols pays tribute to AIDS victims in Zimbabwe and draws on poetry texts.
Painter Rob Niezen’s urban streetscapes crackle with the surreal colours of artificial light in Nightscapes. James Ridyard’s oils depict a dreamlike nostalgia for the natural world at Showplace, and at The Venue Barry Mortin’s posters speak to the frustrating disconnect between government and its citizens.
ReFrame Film Festival runs from January 25-27, 2013.