Focus on Images Festival 2014

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For over 25 years the Toronto Images Festival has been doing vital work. Showcasing the best in new media, art, and independent film, the festival has provided one of the best line-ups of installations and artistic visions in the world. Starting tonight and running through next Saturday the 19th some of the best works from Canada and around the world will take centre stage on select screens, galleries, and event spaces around the city. For people who haven’t heard of the festival (and you’ve been in the city since the inaugural festival 1988 and you love culture, that’s kind of hard to believe) and only know or see art every year at Nuit Blanche, consider this the less drunken, less douchy, and more focused week long equivalent. Better yet, just go and see some art you’ll ever get a chance to see ever again.

From Gulf to Gulf

Divided into three sections – On Screen films, Off Screen installation art, and Live Images (performances) – and educational talks sprinkled throughout the week, this year’s line-up kicks off at The Royal tonight at 7:00pm with a screening of From Gulf to Gulf. Created by the CAMP collective, this four years in the making film project was shot on various digital film sources takes a look at sailors making their way from Western India to the Persian Gulf. It’s done predominantly without the editors or filmmakers spelling out every detail of the voyage and letting the footage speak for itself.

Filmmaker Duncan Campbell showcases some of his finest works on Sunday the 13th at Jackman Hall at 8:30pm in It for Others. Known for his playfully artistic historic narratives, Campbell’s work is preceeded by a screening of Alain Resnais and Chris Marker’s team up Statues Also Die, which is worth the price of admission on its own, but is a perfect pairing for Campbell’s clearly influenced work.

From Deep

The Algerian revolution fifty years ago gets allegorically looked at through the lens of a Lord of the Flies styled scenario in Bloody Beans (Monday, April 14th, 9:00pm, Jackman Hall). Genre and Eurocrime buffs might find something to whet their weirder artistic tendencies with Evan Calder Williams’ Violent X (Friday, April 19th, 9:30pm, with live musical accompaniment). A mash-up that collage artists and Godfrey Ho enthusiasts could get behind, Williams’ experiment deftly combines stills from Italy in the early 70s to tell a different kind of thriller where a cop has to stop a doppelganger that has gone on a killing spree. The festival comes to a close on Saturday the 19th at 9:00pm with a Jackman Hall screening of Brett Kashmere’s From Deep, a look at the co-opting of basketball culture into main stream popular culture throughout the past several decades.


Infinite Debt

In addition to the more feature length showcases, there are a plethora of short film programmes, including this year’s Canadian artist showcase on the works of the often hilarious, provocative, and deeply satirical Jennifer Chan (Saturday, April 19th, 7:00pm, Jackman Hall). There are plenty of video based art showcases at the various live performances and Off Screen installation (including one at the Chinatown Mall of all places). It’s a great and adventurous time for arts in the city, so check out the full list of programs on the Images website (many of which are pay-what-you-can events, or at the very least reasonably priced).