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Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Contemporary Filmmaking in Atlantic Canada

Fri, Feb 27 / 7 pm
Reception to follow in Platform Gallery
Screening and Book Launch
Curated and Introduced By DARRELL VARGA

A specially curated selection of contemporary short films from Atlantic Canada, including non-narrative experimental work, animation, first person essay films, works of fiction, and a feature-length documentary.

Featured in the program is work from the four Atlantic provinces and while there is broad representation of the diversity of film making in the region, this program avoids the provincialism often associated with regional cultural activity. While some of these productions make specific reference to locality, region is as much a state of mind as geographic setting.

All of these films are, in various ways, about looking – looking out at the world from a marginal position, looking awry at one’s own place in the world, and looking at the nature of voice and the multiple ways that the region is produced from within and from outside. Throughout, a sense of humour is the most important means of making sense of one’s location in between a rock and a hard place.

There’s Flower in My Pedal, Dir: Andrea Dorfman (NS) | 3:55 mins. | 2005
A poetic narrative film about bicycles, knitting and love.

Nova Scotia Tourist Industries, Dir: Jim MacSwain (NS) | 12 mins. | 1998
You have a headache and your Nova Scotia Tourist Industries boss has just given you the all-important task: to entice tourists with a splashy brochure pitching the province’s rocky shoreline and history of war, explosions, slavery as an ideal setting to commit suicide.

The Official Guide to Watching a Saturday Night Hockey Game (For Intermediates) Dir: Tak Koyama, (NB) | 7:32 mins. | 2007
Comedic animation illustrates the proper procedure for this oh so masculine Canadian pastime.

She Lost Her Marbles, Dir: Gia Milani (NB) | 4:23 mins. | 2007
A unit of marbles break out of a little girl’s purse after a renegade marble hatches a plan of escape. This is for keepsies.

Punch Up at A Wedding, Dir: Justin Simms (NL) | 16 mins. | 2006
Six wedding guests react to a toast gone awry in this black comedy.

When Ponds Freeze Over, Dir: Mary Lewis (NL) | 23:31 mins. | 1998
One night in St. John’s, a mother tells a story to her daughter of how she once fell through the ice while skating and had her life flash before her eyes. Winner of the Best Canadian Short Film at the 1998 Toronto International Film Festival.

The Bath, Dir: JoDee Samuelson (PEI) | 8:30 mins. | 1992
It’s another drab day at the rooming house. Outside, wind and snow. Inside, nothing on Flo’s calendar. What can take away those April blues? Ah, yes … a bath!

The Wake of Calum MacLeod, Dir: Marc Almon (NS) | 8mins. | 2006
North America’s first Gaelic-language short film is a whirlwind of a tale! Calum MacLeod is a storyteller without an audience, for his children moved from Cape Breton long ago.

Roadside Assistance, Dir: Jeremy Larter, (PEI) | 3:45 mins. | 2008
In a single virtuoso traveling shot, a bickering couple disgorge from a car in a romantic meltdown while a power walker comically attempts to mediate. Becket meets Two Lane Blacktop on Prince Edward Island.

R-Rated, Dir: Gerry Rogers, (NL) | 3 mins. | 2002
Comedian and writer Andy Jones as crazed classroom teacher enunciating the letter R. A great lesson on speech, language , and manners.

Congratulations, Dir: Mike Jones, (NL) | 5:20 mins. | 2000
Made for the 25 anniversary of the Toronto International film festival by acclaimed Newfoundland filmmaker Mike Jones, this film is a wry commentary on the plight of the indie filmmaker and what happens to regional culture producers when called upon by the big city.

About Darrell Varga:

Darrell Varga has a PhD in Social and Political Thought from York University and is Canada Research Chair in Contemporary Film and Media Studies at NSCAD University (the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design) in Halifax where he teaches Film History and Documentary Film History and Theory among other subjects, and is chair of the Halifax interuniversity film studies programme.

A former Winnipeger and member of the Winnipeg Film Group, he has made films and has published widely on Canadian cinema in such journals as Cineaction and the Canadian Journal of Film Studies, among others. He is the co-editor of Working on Screen: Representations of the Working Class in Canadian Cinema (University of Toronto Press, 2006) and has made several films.

He is elevating the contemporary cinema of Atlantic Canada to national importance through several projects such as the book release of RAIN, DRIZZLE , FOG and neogiating and arranging the release of Bill MacGillivray’s Life Classes and Mike and Andy Jone’s classic The Adventure of Faustus Bidgood on to DVD.

Book Launch: Friday / Feb. 27 / 6:00 p.m.
Presentation and book signing by Darrell Varga, editor of Rain/Drizzle/Fog: Films from Atlantic Canada, and Canada Research Chair in Contemporary Film and Media Studies at NSCAD University, Nova Scotia.

Wine and Cheese Reception
Location: across the hallway from Cinematheque in the
Platform Centre for Photographic and Digital Arts
Rain / Drizzle / Fog: Film and Television in Atlantic Canada, Edited by Darrell Varga

Rain / Drizzle / Fog is the first scholarly study of film and television in Atlantic Canada. With contributors from across Canada, the book provides a broad historical overview of film and television in the region, as well as essays on specific topics such as contemporary popular television (The Trailer Park Boys), early television (The Don Messer’s Jubilee) and the work of filmmakers such as Bill MacGillivray, Andrea Dorfman, Thom Fitzgerald, and others.

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Mon 17

Sisters with Transistors

Available to rent for $9.99
January 14 - February 28
Mon 17

Greener Grass

Available to rent for $4.99
January 14 - Feb 28
Wed 19

Best of GFF: One of Ours

Sat, Jan 8 / 7:15pm
Sun, Jan 9 / 3:30pm
Wed, Jan 12 / 7pm
Sat, Jan 15 / 4:30pm
Tue, Jan 18 / 7pm
Wed 19

The Films of Roy Andersson: Giliap

Tue, Jan 18 / 9:10pm
Thu, Jan 20 / 9pm
Thu 20


Fri, Jan 7 / 7pm
Sat, Jan 8 / 2:30pm & 5:15pm
Sun, Jan 9 / 5:40pm
Tue, Jan 11 / 9:30pm
Thu, Jan 13 / 9:30pm
Sat, Jan 15 / 9pm
Sun, Jan 16 / 5:30pm
Wed, Jan 19 / 7pm
Thu, Jan 20 / 7pm


The Winnipeg Film Group is an artist-run education, production, exhibition and distribution centre committed to promoting the art of cinema.
our location

We’re located in the heart of Winnipeg's historic Exchange District in the Artspace building. We are across the street from Old Market Square at the corner of Arthur Street and Bannatyne - one block west of Main.

The Winnipeg Film Group is located on Treaty 1 Territory and on the ancestral lands of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota and Dene Peoples and in the homeland of the Métis Nation. We offer our respect and gratitude to the traditional caretakers of this land.