It’s going to be a busy summer in the WFG film vault as we delve into our Case Study with Archive/Counter-Archive!

Archive/Counter-Archive (ACA) is a project and research network dedicated to activating and preserving audiovisual archives created by Indigenous Peoples (First Nations, Métis, Inuit), Black communities and People of Colour, women, LGBT2Q+ and immigrant communities. Political, resistant, and community-based, counter-archives disrupt conventional narratives and enrich our histories.

Established in 2018 through a Social Science and Humanities Partnership Grant, the ACA network is committed to finding new ways to activate, preserve and restore the diverse moving image heritage across Canada. Their evolving mandate combines education and advocacy to raise awareness and find resources to support audio-visual preservation — with a special focus on short format media which have very few resources available for preservation.

The WFG Case Study is extending the preservation efforts WFG itself has undertaken in recent years, digging deep into our archives to identify those films sidelined and subordinated in conventional histories of the organization. These works have the capability of transforming our understanding of the city, its cinema, and the cultures that converge here.

In the spring of 2023, Artist-in-Residence redsun was brought on board. They have been given carte blanche to both create and critique, to recognize the possibilities that the Film Group has opened up for independent filmmakers over the course of its history, but also to acknowledge the exclusions and elisions that complicate and compromise these achievements.

The two additional team members who will be assisting with actualizing our Case Study are:

Diana Hotka (she/her) | Film Preservation and Collections Manager

Hello Winnipeg! I’m Diana, a graduate student in Toronto Metropolitan University’s Film + Photography Preservation and Collections Management program in the film section of course. I’m here for the summer, interning at WFG to help with the film collection in any and every way I possibly can, particularly with the preservation side of things. I love everything that has to do with film technology, from splicers to film processors. I want to learn it all so I can help preserve it and keep it functional. Fun fact, I went to culinary school, focusing on the nutritional side of things but spoiler alert, the kitchen wasn’t meant for me. On the bright side, I’m excited to be here to learn and share my knowledge with you all. 

Skye Callow (she/her) | Archival Media Project Manager 

Skye Callow is an emerging artist and collections worker who is based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Skye received her BFA (hons.) from the University of Manitoba in May of 2022. She works within a spectrum of mediums, with a focus on installation, lens-based media, sound, and performance. Her work is concerned with future and past ecologies. Skye is currently pursuing work in the collection and care of vulnerable archival materials, with a focus on audiovisual and film materials. Through this work, each discipline informs the other by providing insights and contextual understandings of the past, present, and possible futures.

Together, Diana, Skye, and redsun will be simultaneously preserving and activating the WFG Collection in order to create the conditions of possibility for Indigenous, Black, Asian, and queer filmmakers to counter culturally-dominant histories and to produce films that open up, extend, and critique the archive as it actually exists.

Central to the WFG Case Study is this desire to develop a counter-archival practice that is generative rather than simply reflective, that mobilizes the cinematic past in pursuit of a fundamentally different future.

We are so grateful to have Diana and Skye working with WFG Executive Director Leslie Supnet and Case Study Co-Lead Andrew Burke as well as WFG Distribution Department and ACA Case Study Co-Leads Jillian Groening and Mahlet Cuff.

Find more information on the WFG Case Study with Archive/Counter-Archive here.