Memory in a Place of Survival: Recent Short Docs from Saskatchewan

Sat, Nov 9 / 3 pm | Cinematheque

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Introduced by guest curator Alexander Rogalski. Filmmakers Matthew Ripplinger and Alexis Normand in attendance.

Working in isolation gives Saskatchewan filmmakers an opportunity to be DIY in their approach while delivering extremely personal diaristic work and experimenting with documentary form. A reliance on memory, snapshots and home video, allows for contemplation and catharsis from past trauma and unresolved feelings. Achingly honest and tied to the land, their voice resonates beyond borders. Curated and introduced by Alex Rogalski. Featuring works by Elian Mikkola, Lisa Birke, Alexis Normand, Weiye Su, Matthew Ripplinger, Dianne Ouellette, Kiyari McNab & Andrea Cessna, and Trudy Stewart.

On September 28, Trudy Stewart, whose film From Up North concludes this program, suddenly passed away, leaving behind her family and friends to remember her incredible kindness, generosity and contributions to her community. She was a proud member of the Flying Dust First Nation and a loving mother. This screening is dedicated to honour her memory.

Saari / dir. Elian Mikkola, 2016, 6 mins / Revisiting a home video from Finland while living in Saskatchewan gives the filmmaker a chance to reflect on a familiar memory while learning to let go and move forward.

The Knits / dir. Lisa Birke, 2017, 10 mins / A mother lovingly knits a sweater, which continuously unravels on her daughter making her way across Canada by foot. The thread connects geographies, generations and two artists working in their respective artforms.

Sing Me Home / dir. Alexis Normand, 2018, 13 mins / Alexis Normand’s career as a musician took her across the country and overseas. Exploring her artistic voice as a filmmaker is giving her a chance to reflect on her Fransaskoise roots and land she calls home.

Evelyn and I / dir. Weiye Su, 2017, 7 mins / An emerging filmmaker discovers a powerful connection with one of Saskatchewan’s founding filmmakers, finding they share many similar sentiments about their common struggle though never having met.

Sir Bailey / dir. Matthew Ripplinger, 2018, 8 mins / A beloved family pet’s existential journey during the last day of his life is symbolized by process cinema techniques such as homemade photographic emulsion, contact printing and reticulation.

And the Wind Blew / dir. Dianne Ouellette, 2010, 9 mins / After tragedy strikes the filmmaker’s family ten days before Christmas, home video memories from festive gatherings take on new meaning as she grieves her loss.

Abnormal Freedom / dir. Kiyari McNab + Andrea Cessna, 2018, 7 mins / A young woman pays homage to her Cree-Ojibway ancestors’ traditions of oral storytelling in this fragmented excavation of a difficult past that leaves her suspended between memory and ambition.

From Up North / dir. Trudy Stewart, 2017, 13 mins / After her experience working for the Truth & Reconciliation Commission, the filmmaker reflects on her time listening to the survivors’ stories and her connection to the Residential School legacy.