Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. In the early 1970s a group of aspiring prairie filmmakers came together with the intent to encourage and develop raw talent to create independent films. Over the years this growing community of filmmakers has ignited controversy, sparked dialogue, and paved the way for those who would come next. In the process, these artists created a remarkable body of short and feature length films that stand as a testament to the city, province, and country in which they were created.
In PLACE: 13 essays 13 filmmakers 1 city , thirteen writers have contributed essays on thirteen independent feature filmmakers from Winnipeg. These essays reveal personal struggles, triumphs and perseverance, and cast a light on the artistic vision behind the filmmakers’ works.
Released on October 22, 2009, this 136-page book is punctuated by over 100 film stills. PLACE features essays by Danishka Esterhazy on Norma Bailey, Solomon Nagler onJeffrey Erbach, Jonas Chernick on Sean Garrity, Ioannis Mookas on Noam Gonick, Caelum Vatnsdal on Greg Hanec, Larissa Fan onClive Holden, Tricia Wasney on Paula Kelly, Kenneth George Godwin on John Kozak, Miye Bromberg on Guy Maddin, Matthew Rankin on Winston Washington Moxam, Geoff Pevere on John Paizs, Jonathan Ball on Jeff Solylo, and Sean Carney on Caelum Vatnsdal.
Praise for PLACE
It is unusual to find film criticism so richly fuelled by love, generosity, and anecdotal verve.
The perspectives on the directors hatched by the Winnipeg Film Group that are provided in this first-rate collection are properly eccentric and surprising, with an occasional dash of savagery. I was by turns pummeled and seduced. Most importantly, I emerged from the book with a keen sense of mission: Revisit these movies immediately!
George Toles, writer, professor
If Winnipeg’s past is defined by such public figures as Louis Riel, Terry Sawchuk, and Lenny Breau, then its recent cultural heritage is undoubtedly cinematic. Place is a critical contribution to the documented history of Winnipeg’s independent feature filmmakers. For those familiar with the legacy of the Winnipeg Film Group, this eclectic collection of essays provides a vital vantage point to revisit many notable films. For those whom this book serves as an introduction, may it be an invitation, nay a duty, to see these motion pictures.
Alex Rogalski, One Take Super 8 Event creator, Programmer, Toronto International Film Festival
As a Berlin-based curator I imagine Winnipeg as the junction where trains are coming from all directions on endless tracks, pervading the earth’s surface like scars. Boys are daydreaming in geodesic domes and project their fantasies in rear projections from the inside onto the outside of the world. A law says that people have to open doors for sleepwalkers who find themselves in front of their old homes.
For Winnipeg filmmakers (who are often crossing disciplines like poet Clive Holden, installation artist Noam Gonick and stage director Guy Maddin), memory is a constitutive part of the present. For them, the ancestors of cinema experimenting with the new medium, and the silent era with its staging of the physical, constitute the history of their own language and the projection surface for their fantasies. This book provides deep insight into a local community of filmmakers and artists, who, through self-empathy, self-reflection, and self-analysis, enable themselves to go way beyond borders and fascinate everyone in a powerful way.
Stefanie Schulte Strathaus, Co-director, Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art, Berlin