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Amazing review of terrible films

Some time ago, students in Gerald Saul‘s Experimental Film class at the University of Regina screened new works at the Filmpool. The 16mm works produced in the class all attempted to use hand processing as a technique for creating a greater connection between film and filmmaker. The visceral manipulation of an artist’s work can often help bring new, imperfect life to a piece.

I attended the event as tech support and as audience. I love watching 16mm and I love it when projection goes awry, when the projection booth gets panicky warm, audience members shift in their seats, and awkward silences fill the gap between the sounds of reel changes and a splicer making an emergency bandage on broken film.

The advertising line was “Prepare to be underwhelmed“, which I don’t think was very accurate. I wasn’t overwhelmed, that’s for sure. Perhaps just whelmed. False advertising I say.

I scribbled some notes on five sticky notes. Hardly legible, I will use the notes to review the films in incredible detail below. Congrats to all the filmmakers. As much as there is fun made about the night of sometimes purposefully terrible films, it’s always tough showing work in public, so a big shout out “HEY!” to all the students and to Gerald. At least you got the worst screening of your life out of the way.

Steven Lang‘s Nature is Love – Featured a cat, and some terribly washed out footage which was made up for by drawing on film. Good save! This film gets a reviewer rating of 7 cats out of 11 possible cats.

Zach Rainville‘s A Delicate F’art – Live accompaniment of sick beats on a keyboard lessened the terribleness. Without the piano, it perhaps could have reached it’s terrible potential. He drew on his film.

Darren Sauter‘s Friendship and Chicken Strips – The special effects were wonderful. They were like fluff. It’s the only film of the night that really showcased the awesomeness that is slo-mo fight scenes. This film receives a rating of 19 cats.

Jordan MacKenzie‘s The Pukes of Hazzard – The only film daring to delve into the idea that slo-mo vomiting can make your film less watchable, Jordan successfully makes us question why we want to look away and at the same time watch the scene unfurl from the corner of our eyes.

Jason Rister‘s Reflections: A Journey Into the World of Filmmaking from the Perspective of a Filmmaker Watching a Film While Thinking About the Film They’re Seeing on the Screen. Featuring a Cat. – I am tired of typing now that I wrote out the full title of the film. Awesome dolly shot. 1 cat.

Raylene Ledgerwood‘s Untitled – Line work is difficult to pull off. Norman McLaren did a fine job in Lignes horizontales, but Raylene did at least get me thinking of grasshopper legs.

Amber VanPinxteren‘s The Mundane – Was a fun piece using found soundtrack. The hand processing produced wonderful dots, with a fluttering effect that almost made them appear as 3D spheres. On purpose or otherwise, Amber achieved a nice lens flare. She painted her film using nail polish. [edit:] Oh… Maybe that’s what made the spheres. Yes? 2 cats out of 1 possible cat.

Katy Cunningham‘s Untitled – Contained a good rhythm. Unfortunately, there were no cats, but the film did show personality through footware and pacing.

Jim Woodcock‘s Musings from a Cold Holbein Night – The emcee of the evening, Jim did the best he could to entertain the audience between films. His film did, in fact, feature a cat as well as found footage! This film receives eleventy cats out of a possible Thursday.

Kirsten Bligh‘s Prairie ‘scape – Holy dust bunnies! You know those pieces of dust and hair that get trapped in either the camera or projector gate? Kirsten achieved maximum possible dust bunny cover. I can’t say much of the film as my attention was on the crud that was collecting and slightly gyrating and getting squished into the corners. Mesmerizing!

Jenesse Ritchie‘s Untitled – Jenesse’s bio in total is, “she likes cats.” Amazed that her whole life has come to this conclusion, I have to say that I also like cats and therefore give this film the highest possible mark. Kitty.

Anthony Wanner‘s Untitled – Anthony really got into the idea of damaging his film. There were hundreds of scratches and holes in his film, creating a grate-like texture, just another layer in the palimpsest that was his film. 2 cats / 4 dogs.

Monse Munoz‘s Secretos – The highlight of the festival, Monse’s work featured scratched text on image, a tricky and time consuming endeavour. The beautiful macro footage of bark received a standing ovation from all cats in the audience. They stood up on their funny back legs, their soft paws gripping the carpet. They looked like a bunch of tiny t-rexes.

Mohammad Saadoun‘s Untitled – The brave soul who attempted a film loop eventually had to give up and run it straight through the projector. Keep trying the loop! You can do it!

Another tagline for the festival is: Lowering your expectations since 1999. They’ll have to do better at this in the future, with each year I imagine getting worse and worse. I see this as the only logical way to continue the tradition. The Terrible Film Festival 11 took place on Novemeber 4, 2012. (PDF program)

What did you think of the program? Did you learn something? If you are one of the filmmakers: how’s it going?

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