Super 8 Filmmaker John Porter, Toronto, Canada



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Splice This! Super 8 Film Festival 2005

Review by John Porter. Photos by John Creson, July 1-3, 2005

Splice This! is in its 8th year and 5th location.
The new location is XPACE, an art gallery in Kensington Market run by the Ontario College of Art & Design's Student Union. (The first Toronto Super 8 Film Festival, 1976-'83, was started at the Ontario College of Art by students.) The room is large with a high enough ceiling for a large, raised screen and relatively good sight-lines. Seating & climate (air-conditioned) are comfortable. The cash bar was closed during screenings. Attendance reached 150 at some screenings.

Inside the entrance every night, CineCycle artist Janet Bike Girl was selling her custom-stencilled "Splice This!" and "Super 8" clothing.

Polly Perverse's super 8 projection was good, using the Images Festival's quiet, bright, Elmo ST-1200HD M with a 150 watt lamp, and veteran musician/filmmaker/technician Fred Spek doing sound. The DVD player was slow to start each time. (I don't know why people bother with video!)

July 1 & 2
"Remake" - the annual, themed program of commissioned works made for the screening. Spread over two nights, there were fourteen super 8 films, and eleven videos shot on super 8. It was a strong program with a variety of genres including some silent, some abstract and some very disciplined works.

Friday, July 1
"Fast Wurms" - a two-set spotlight on the veteran Toronto art duo (Kim Kozzi & Dai Skuze) who made many radical, raw, super 8 sound films with third member Napoleon Brousseau in the early 1980s, but later switched to video. They began their in-person intro with an emphatic thankyou to The Funnel (1977-'89) where Monthly Open Screenings (1977-'81) inspired them to produce.

They showed four old super 8s on video (two of them quite long), and a 2005 sound video shown while a silent, super 8 copy of the video was projected simultaneously on a side wall at an oblique angle - a double projection. The rare video-to-super 8 transfer was good, with no flicker, and done at Exclusive Film & Video, a sponsor of Splice This!.

The annual "Print This!" Photo Exhibit during the festival this year was many large, vertical-strip, paper banners of Fast Wurms' super 8 frame blow-ups, hanging on one long wall of the gallery/screening room.

Saturday, July 2
"The Cine Sonnets of Storm de Hirsch" presented by Pleasure Dome Artists' Film Exhibition Group. These were super 8 prints and 16mm blow-ups of short, silent, super 8 diary films made by an obscure woman poet/filmmaker in New York in the 1970s. The prints were made for The Women's FILM PRESERVATION FUND of New York Women in Film & Television.

"Soundstripe" - annual program of bands performing live to their films or videos. Six were super 8 films and three were videos shot on super 8.


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