Filmography: _Other: _Ontario Arts Council: 40 on 40

Ontario Arts Council: 40 on 40 2004

OAC/TVO Eshorts_Series + Profile Descriptions_SERIES OVERVIEW:

  • In celebration of the Ontario Arts Council’s 40th anniversary, Mercury Films, in association with TVOntario, has produced 40 short films on artists whose work has been supported by the OAC over the decades.
  • Artists from all disciplines and from all over the province are represented.
  • The films, approximately one to two minutes long, were designed to give an experiential rather than didactic sense oftheir work.
  • As a whole, the films demonstrate a depth and range of artistic vision and talent that makes this province both rich in culture and internationally renowned.
  • The compilation was nominated for Best Performing Arts Program or Series Gemini in 2006.

Steven Heighton is a Kingston-based poet who, sitting at his desk, reads "Address Book" from his collection of the same name. He is also the author of the best-selling novel The Shadow Boxer. Rukhsana Khan is a children’s book author in Toronto who wrote The Roses in my Carpets after visiting a refugee camp in Afghanistan. She is shown reading from her work to a grade 7 class at Stella Maris Catholic School. She regularly visits schools to share her work and promote better understanding of the Muslim faith. The illustrations in her book are by Ronald Himler. Dennis Lee, former poet laureate of Toronto, reads from his latest collection of poems, Un. The exterior snowstorm shots are of Mr. Lee walking home in Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood, which he calls home. Michael Ondaatje, internationally renowned author and poet, reads from his Toronto-based novel In the Skin of a Lion. The archival photographs documenting the construction of the Bloor Street Viaduct are part of an extensive collection housed online at the Toronto Reference Library.

Choreographer Marie-Josée Chartier works in rehearsal with dancers on her newest creation “Screaming Popes”. Chartier has choreographed and performed dance internationally for 25 years. She is entranced by the body and strives to concentrate on works that study and celebrate the human form. Peter Chin dances his own choreography in an excerpt from the dance film Streetcar filmed in Toronto. He is a multiple Dora award winner as well as a composer, designer, musician and performance artist. Bill James is a choreographer, dancer and artistic director of his own company, Atlas Moves Watching. He concentrates on site-specific work which gracefully combines many disparate elements. This dance is the last movement of a longer piece, Flux, and was filmed at dawn in Georgian Bay, Ontario. Yvonne Ng dances a solo from Bill James’ production of Flux set in a warehouse. She is also a celebrated choreographer and artistic director of her own company, Princess Productions. Lata Pada is artistic director of Sampradaya Dance Creations. She is both a choreographer and performer of classical Bharatanatyam, as well as inter-cultural dance compositions. Here, she dances among the shrines and idols of the Ganesh Temple north of Toronto.

Kiran Ahluwalia performs and composes ghazals, a song form which originated in Persia and India. Ghazal literally means to talk to women and the songs are traditionally about love. The song she performs here is “Bechain,” which she wrote herself. Eve Egoyan is a classically trained pianist who focuses on performing the works of contemporary Canadian composers. From her rehearsal studio in a Toronto warehouse, she performs “Nuevas Monodías Espan©ˆolas” by Montréal-based José Evangelista. Blues guitarist George Leach is mostly self-taught. Many of his lyrics are inspired by long talks with his father, who told him that if he spoke to the lake, it would speak back. Leach found an eagle feather one day after a swim, and said he knew then that despite the challenges of a musician’s life, he was on the right track. He plays to an appreciative audience at a roadhouse in Milton, ON. Marjan Mozetich is one of the most performed contemporary Canadian composers. He lives in Kingston and teaches at Queen’s University. The piece “Unfolding Sky” is from his compilation Affairs of the Heart. The upright piano you see in his living room is the same one he’s been composing on since he was a teenager. Juliet Palmer is a composer and sound artist originally from New Zealand who now calls Canada home. Her composition “Swerve” was performed by the Windsor Symphony Orchestra and was inspired by Michael Ondaatje’s collection of poems, Handwriting. R. Murray Schafer is a world-renowned composer. He is shown participating in a workshop organised by Soundstreams Canada, inspiring a younger generation of composers and musicians.
Martin Tielli sings “From the Reel” at home in Toronto. He is best known as lead guitar and voice of the Rheostatics, but also has a thriving solo career. He is a gifted painter, and the large canvas behind him is the artwork for the album cover of The Blue Hysteria.

Eleanor Albanese has been writing plays for young people for more than 20 years. Rosa and the Pocket Window, from which she reads, is her newest play. Eleanor is often inspired to write by drawing and painting, and does her best work at a remote cabin outside of Thunder Bay, which can only be accessed in winter by snowshoe.


Alex Bulmer is a playwright who wrote about her impending loss of vision in the celebrated play Smudge, from which her reading is taken. The scene describes the soundscape of a café and is filmed in context. Daniel MacIvor, writer/actor/director, performs a monologue from Here Lies Henry, which he wrote with long-time collaborator Daniel Brooks. The piece is filmed in the main concourse of Union Station in Toronto. Judith Thompson, award-winning playwright, is sitting in her kitchen, where she often writes, reading a monologue from her play Capture Me, which premiered at the Tarragon Theatre in Toronto.

Renowned filmmaker Atom Egoyan is in the edit suite working on a personal documentary that explores memory, truth and cultural identity. His ruminations on editing give insight into the filmmaking process. Richard Fung calls award-winning Sea in the Blood his most personal film. It tells the story of his sister’s failed battle with a rare blood disorder, thalassemia. Since the 1980’s, Fung has been making cutting edge video art that combines drama, documentary and essay. Vera Frenkel is a reknowed multimedia artist whose latest installation, The Institute, tests the boundaries of satire and explores the inner life of a dysfunctional cultural institution. The piece was filmed at an installation at the Justina A. Barnicke Gallery at Hart House, University of Toronto with live links to the web site. Experimental ‘diarist’ filmmaker Philip Hoffman generously allowed us to use an excerpt from his stunning film what these ashes wanted, which explores his life with writer Marian McMahon, who died in 1996. Charles Officer is an up and coming Toronto filmmaker whose film Short Hymn-Silent War won a special jury citation at the 2002 Toronto International Film Festival for best work by a young filmmaker. Patricia Rozema got her start as a filmmaker with OAC grants. Her first feature film was I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing, which won awards around the world. In this profile you see an excerpt from “This Might Be Good”, which Rozema made as part of the Preludes series produced by Rhombus Media and commissioned by the Toronto International Film Festival to celebrate it’s 25th anniversary. The film features actors Sarah Polley and Don McKellar.

Fine art photographer Edward Burtynsky focuses on industrial waste and environmental degradation. “Nature transformed through industry is a predominant theme in my work,” he writes in his artist statement. Burtynsky shoots marble quarries, mines and mine tailings, recycling yards, dams…“These images are meant as metaphors to the dilemma of our modern existence; they search for a dialogue between attraction and repulsion, seduction and fear. We are drawn by desire - a chance at good living, yet we are consciously or unconsciously aware that the world is suffering for our success.” The shipbreaking footage here was filmed by photographer Jeff Powis, who accompanied Burtynsky on a shoot in Bangladesh. Kai Chan is a senior textile artist who works with fabrics and various natural materials. He practices in the basement of his downtown Toronto home and his fragile, complex pieces are exhibited in galleries and museums around the world. “Chan's work distinguishes itself through the minimal use of unexpected and modest materials that, while lyrical and wonderfully imaginative, are masterfully manipulated into inventive pieces that echo the meditative aesthetic of his cultural heritage” (award selection committee’s statement, Bronfman Collection Virtual Gallery).


Robert Fones is equally celebrated for his poetry and his visual art. Fones uses graphics and everyday objects to draw attention to complex cultural relationships. The floating heads/Chinese lantern series was on display at the Olga Korper Gallery in Toronto, where we filmed the installation and opening of the show.


Sarah Link is a ceramics artist who lives and works in Thunder Bay. Her sculptural work has evolved over the years into complex vessels which echo natural forms. “During the early years, I was primarily concerned with the manipulation and technical understanding of clay: form and surface. Now, my concerns are with the environment, the conservation and health of the planet, and consequently the health of the earth's inhabitants.”


Senior artist Ron Martin is shown installing an exhibition of his work at the Christopher Cutts Gallery in Toronto.


Kent Monkman’s latest work is a series of 15 paintings, which emerges from his study of 19th century landscape painting, specifically the Hudson River school and its romantic, colonial vision of the North American landscape. Monkman says he is stealing the landscape back and exploring sexuality and power, mostly in connection with the imposition of Christianity on aboriginal peoples. He is filmed in his Toronto studio in character as his alter-ego, Miss Share Eagle Testickle.


Jeff Nolte teaches photography at Emory Collegiate and stumbled upon the notion of “fabulous fakes” many years ago to teach his students the value of good lighting and composition. His students work every year to replicate a famous photograph as closely as possible, with their own aesthetic twist thrown in.


Michael Snow is perhaps Canada’s best known living artist. He is a senior statesman of conceptual art whose work encompasses everything from painting to sculpture to photography to film to computer work to music. He speaks to us against the backdrop of a looped photographic slide installation entitled Slidelength based on images from his 1967 seminal film Wavelength at the Goethe Institut. A solo piano piece by Snow was added after the fact.
Roy Thomas, a self-taught aboriginal painter from Longlac, was inspired as a child by the rock paintings at Sandy Lake Reserve. His grandmother encouraged him as he drew pictures on the ground while she told him stories. He fretted that these pictures would disappear, but his grandparents told him not to worry; one day they would come back to him as paintings. The scenes here are filmed in Thunder Bay, where Thomas lives, and the paintings were shot at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery, which houses many of his works.

Coach House Press was started in 1979 by Stan Bevington, and continues in the world today as Coach House Books. It is one of only three Canadian publishers to print its books in-house. Canadian authors like Michael Ondaatje, Ann-Marie MacDonald and Anne Michaels all published their first books with Coach House and many of those first books were typeset on the Linotype machine in the front doorway.


The Stratford Festival of Canada has been in operation for more than 50 years. Here, we were given backstage access to witness Bottom and Titania (Thom Marriott and Dana Green) prepare for a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The play’s music was composed by Bruce Gaston.


The Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra has an international reputation for playing on period instruments. Here, they are in final rehearsal before a tour where they will perform a unique multicultural interpretation of Antonio Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. They are rehearsing an excerpt from “Winter.”


The Windsor Symphony Orchestra, celebrating more than 55 years, presented the world premier of commissions from five Canadian composers. The 43-member orchestra, under the direction of John Morris Russell, here plays Like Breath which was written by their composer-in-residence, Brent Lee.


The Woodland Cultural Center, in Brantford on the Six Nations reserve, celebrates First Nations’ heritage. The snow snake competition is an ancient contest held every winter. Wooden javelins are carved by hand and launched down a track made of snow. The objective is to see who can throw the farthest, and records have measured longer than a kilometre. Along with the museum and various diverse cultural events, the Center’s hope is to provide a First Nations perspective on the world.