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Mike Maryniuk: Prairie Surrealist

Every so often someone emerges from the Winnipeg film community whose work is so remarkably distinctive and crazed that it is clear we are in the presence of a true artist. This year’s Manitoba Film Hothouse Award Winner Mike Maryniuk is a magician with found footage and scratch animation and an uproarious storyteller. His films have travelled to festivals all over the world including Sundance. The films reflect hours of detailed work inspired from a myriad of sources: a love of Norman McLaren scratch animation, silent film acting with its hambone theatrical gestures, Jim Henson puppetry, and Looney Tunes cartoons.

These films are handmade and stitched together with hand-processing, hole-punching, and pixilation, fusing elements of collage art, lo-fi cablevision, cartoons and found footage, all filtered through Maryniuk’s incredible sense of humor. As the recipient of the 2015 Manitoba Film Hothouse Award, Mike will receive an award of $15,000 in cash and services from the Winnipeg Film Group. This award, designed to provide recognition to the depth of local film directing talent Manitoba has right here at home and is generously funded by the Province of Manitoba.



Fish Finder 3000 / Dir. Mike Maryniuk, 2012, Canada, 2 min / Introducing the first underwater camera made with nothing but burbot slime, shiner scales and leech resign. Fish simply can’t resist them.

 Fish Arms / Dir. Mike Maryniuk, 2007, Canada, 3 min / Fish Arms have fish forearms. Fish Arms have fish forearms. Fish Arms are really, really strong, Fish Arms really tip the scales, Fish Arms are strong like 50 whales.

 Tattoo Step / Dir. Mike Maryniuk, 2008, Canada, 1 min / Temporary Tattoos applied to 35mm for eternity. An energetic conjuring of Manitoban spirits. Starring Haunted HyperActive Hypnotists and Breakneck Butterfly Barfbags.

 How to be prepared for 2012 / Dir. Mike Maryniuk, 2011, Canada, 1:11 min / The eternally sage mentalist Robert Vilar describes his plans on how he will live in a potentially apocalyptic year.

 Mahaha the Tickler / Dir. Mike Maryniuk, 2007, Canada, 3 min / An Inuit legend about a spirit who tickles prankster cops to death.

 John Scoles on the Liars Club / Dir. Mike Maryniuk, 2007, 4:30 min / John Scoles has many cards up his sleeves and is victorious. To the victor goes the spoils. A VCR and overnight at West Edmonton Mall. Set to “Motorhead’s Ace of Spades.”

 Bush Wact / Dir. Mike Maryniuk, 2003, Canada, 2:39 min / War is fun. An anti-war collage, with scratch animation on the face of George W. Bush.

 Hope: Through Gambling / Dir. Mike Maryniuk, 2012, Canada, 2 min / The low rumble of slot machines chime in the background as we drift into a Bingo balled asteroid field.

 Underwater Birthday / Dir. Mike Maryniuk, 2014, Canada, 3 min / Yearling minnows return to the site of last year’s hatching to celebrate. Filmed at the bottom of Clear Lake, Manitoba.

 Slaughterbed / Dir. Mike Maryniuk, 2004, Canada, 9 min / The steamy relationship between Cedric and his goldfish is interrupted when his waterbed becomes possessed with the spirit of the local madman.

 Carrot Teen by Mike Maryniuk, 2005, Canada, 5:30 min / A lonely man plants carrots and pulls up a young man.

 Asleep at the Wheel / Dir. Mike Maryniuk, 2005, Canada, 2 min / A road trip of hole punched memories and handmade hallucinations. Using found footage of road trips from the 60’s, Maryniuk has crafted a psychedelic tribute piece to a friend who passed away in a car accident.

 Melatonin / Dir. Mike Maryniuk, 2010, Canada, 2:33 min / A flying-hallucination, dream workbook.

 Cattle Call / Dirs. Mike Maryniuk & Matthew Rankin, 2008, Canada, 3:30 min / A high-speed animated documentary about the art of livestock auctioneering. Structured around the mesmerizing talents of 2007 Man-Sask Auctioneer Champion, Tim Dowler, and using a variety of classic and avant-garde animation techniques (including stop-motion, cut-outs, open-exposures, hole-punching and rubbing lettraset directly on the celluloid) filmmakers Maryniuk and Rankin have tried to create images as dazzlingly abstract, absurd and adrenalizing as the incredible language of auctioneering itself.

 Blotto 649 / Dir. Mike Maryniuk, 2012, Canada, 2:34 min / A fantastic journey of colour using 6490 photographs of spin art micro paintings.

 Bomber Blitz / Dir. Mike Maryniuk, 2008, Canada, 1 min / In a one minute mixing bowl, add one part football to 2 parts war images. Fold in and mix on high for 60 seconds. Garnish with short clips of Santa Clause, if you are feeling festive. Chill and serve. A favourite at any birthday party.

 Thompson / Dir. Mike Maryniuk, 2011, Canada, 1 min / Hypnosis Highway. The effects of drinking magical ditch water near the Thompson Crystal Smelter. Shot and edited in a truck on the way to Lynn Lake, Manitoba. This is exactly how the passing trees look after 10 hours.

 The Yodeling Farmer / Dirs. Mike Maryniuk and John Scoles, 2011, Canada, 6 min / Exploring the life and music of Manitoba cowboy yodeling legend Stew Clayton. This playful, animated documentary portrays the charming, yodeling farmer with humour and wit and looks the way yodeling sounds.


More than any Winnipeg filmmaker since John Paizs and Guy Maddin, I feel Mike successfully integrates the challenges of bargain-basement filmmaking into the artistic design of his films. He also has a totally brilliant visual mind – there will be no end to his visual and technical inventiveness.
- Matthew Rankin
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The Winnipeg Film Group is an artist-run education, production, exhibition and distribution centre committed to promoting the art of cinema.
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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.