Super 8 Filmmaker John Porter, Toronto, Canada
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JOHN'S 50-WORD BIOGRAPHY
John Porter has been a filmmaker, performer, photographer
and writer in Toronto since 1968. He has made 300 films and performed 100 solo shows internationally.
John Porter has been a filmmaker, performer, photographer and writer in Toronto since 1968. He has made 300 films, mostly super 8, and performed 100 solo shows internationally. He studied Film and Photography at Ryerson University, has received several government arts grants, taught many filmmaking workshops, and spoken in many university film classes.
He has been actively involved with several artist-run centres in Toronto since 1978, including serving many years on Boards of Directors, such as at The Funnel, Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre, Pleasure Dome, CineCycle, and A Space. He has co-organized dozens of Monthly Open Film Screenings, and he made and projected super 8 films with Toronto band Fifth Column throughout the 1980s.
His continuing community activism includes photographing, writing and publishing reports and histories of local alternative film activity, including a book of his "documentary portrait" photos of film artists covering 40 years, published by the8fest in 2015. And for the last 15 years he has been daily updating his website super8porter.ca with upcoming film events by other artists. He advocates film projection, $100 film budgets using super 8 film and other analog formats, and resisting the dominance of the film industry and the Ontario Government's Film Review Board and Film Classification Act.
John Porter has been a filmmaker, performer, photographer and writer in Toronto since 1968. He has made over , mostly super 8, performed over internationally, and has been called “the king of super 8”, among other names.
Using film as a visual art like painting, many of his short films are silent, made in series' (Camera Dances, crowd portraits, local histories, rituals, toy stories), and he shows his originals (no copies). While projecting some he performs live in the audience, in front of the screen, or while hand-holding the small projector for "surround super 8" in galleries and for projecting onto passing people and vehicles while "film-busking" on the street at night. His films are dynamic, humorous and revealing, enjoyed by people of all ages.
John's and his , and while he was growing up he explored drawing, writing, acting and photography. He studied photography and 16mm film production at (1969-74), worked as a Letter Carrier (1976-81, photo) and Bicycle Courier (1987-98), and has received five “B” or “Creation” Grants, in Film or Multi-Disciplinary Art, from the Canada Council for the Arts since 1984. He has taught many super 8 workshops and spoken in many university film classes, and he taught super 8 and 16mm Film Workshop credit courses in 2005 and 2008, at , Peterborough, Ontario.
He has been actively involved with several artist-run centres in Toronto since 1978, including serving many years on Boards of Directors. He's been most consistently involved with (1977-1989), Artists Film Exhibition Group (since 1989) and Underground Cinema (since 1991).
Throughout the 1980s he organized many Monthly Open Film Screenings at The Funnel and , and made and projected (photo) with Toronto band . More recently, he co-organized Monthly Open Screenings at CineCycle for 31 consecutive months (2004-2006).
In 1998 Pleasure Dome published a book about him,
, and he was included
in Scott MacDonald’s
(University of California Press, ).
In 2007 John went on a 4-week, 7-screening/performance , incuding two critically-acclaimed shows at the , and then he did two different shows at in New York City. In 2017 he did a third, different show at Anthology, part of a 3-city tour of New York State.
His continuing community activism includes photographing, writing and publishing reports and histories of local alternative film activity, including his self-published “CineZine” 1999-2000, and his self-published "Visiting Filmmaker's Map of Toronto" annually since 2000. He advocates film projection, $100 film budgets using super 8 film and other analog formats, and resisting the dominance of digital media, the film industry, and the Ontario Government's . He resisted the internet until 2005 when he began his website super8porter.ca and began updating it daily with upcoming alternative film events in Toronto and beyond.
"Beautifully made miniatures, John's operettas appeared
as the culmination of something, a snowy white cap of narrow gauge cinema."
"Witty and poignant, Porter's films embrace the
limitations of the small format to inspire creative ideas. He brings an
infectious enthusiasm to filmmaking that is open to all."
"Porter is a Toronto-based visual genius who, in
the ’70s and ’80s,
"een van de wonderlijkste filmervaringen op het
"John Porter argues compellingly for small-gauge,
"Trace a coup sur de nouvelles voies au septieme
"Unique in my experience of movies."
John Porter made more than 100 super 8 films