Images Festival

Images Festival highlights for 2012

This year marks the Images Festival's 25th year, or what could be their quarter-life crisis but the festival is back and bigger than ever. The Images Festival, a celebration of film and video art in Toronto, is rolling with its age quite well and making reference to its long and varied history along the way.

It's the second oldest film festival in the city and acts an alternative oasis for filmmakers to present works that are outside the norms of regular festivals. The highlight of last year's edition included a live performance of Fucked Up playing accompaniment to silent film West of Zanzibar and the strong documentary-hybrid Rivers and My Father. This years festival runs from April 12th to 20th and I've selected some choice pieces you may just need to see.

Off Screen Highlights

Toronto: Cinema City - Main Floor of 401 Richmond St - Free
Running now until April 28th, the Urbanspace Gallery in 401 Richmond is hosting an exhibit dedicated to the history of Toronto as a global cinematic hub. Did you know that the first film to screen in Toronto was a Lumiere film at the Exhibition in 1896? These and more archival works and artifacts from Toronto's cinematic history are free for you and yours to see. The gallery is open Monday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Alphaville e outros - Vtape Video Salon - 452-401 Richmond St W - Free
Antoni Muntadas deftly unifies Jean-Luc Godard's Orwellian film Alphaville with recorded video of highly guarded and off-putting compounds in Sao Paulo, Brazil. These guarded compounds sprung up shortly after Godard's film by the Alphaville Urbanisimo Corporation and there are now dozens of them throughout Brazile. A chilling connection between our security-obsessed present and the potential future it could lead to. The exhibit launches April 14 from 2-5 p.m. and is open from until May 19. Gallery hours are Tuesday - Friday 11-5 p.m. and Saturday 12-4 p.m.

No Permanent Address - Gallery TPW - 56 Ossington Ave - Free
Mark Boulos presents a video portrait of members of the New People's Army, a recognized terrorist group active in the Philippines. The group is often romanticized in popular culture and Boulos paints a portrait of their struggle to communicate their values in the midst of violence. Launches April 13 at 6 p.m. and runs until May 26, open Tuesday - Saturday 12-5 p.m.

On Screen Highlights

The Observers - Jackman Hall - Saturday April 14 - 7:30 p.m. - $10
A film that strays the line between documentary and re-enactments, The Observers is a quiet study on one of the oldest weather stations in New Hampshire. The Mount Washington Weather Observatory has completed hourly readings since 1932 and the film documents their surroundings, as they try to make sense of the mysteries of the world that we may never be able to fully understand.

Drawing Conclusions - Jackman Hall - Sunday April 15 - 7 p.m. - $10
A collection of six works that attempt to draw the lines surrounding a human being or excperience, half finished character studies of people we will never fully understand. Whether it's Charles, a questionable documentary highlighting a brother's perceived mental illness, or The Suppliant which juxtaposes an artist with a small sculpture that resides in their apartment.

A Letter to the Living - Jackman Hall - Tuesday April 17 - 9 p.m. - $10
This series is a group of eight works tied together with a uniting theme of death, as a sort of warning or ode to life as it was. From the grim with S.T.T.L, documenting a woman folding laundry and describing the clinical decay in a body from cancer and Hoof, Tooth & Claw, about an aging farmer living out her days with equally aged livestock. Or the abstract in Algonquin about a wolf reincarnated as a man and To Mark the Shape, a film shot on expired film stock with a nearly broken camera.

Live Screen Highlights

Yo La Tengo, The Sounds of Science - Saturday April 21 - Toronto Underground Cinema - 8pm - $25
A pairing for the ages, alt-rock band Yo La Tengo join the Images Festival to create and perform a soundtrack for a selection of archival science films. Expect the unexpected. Joining the band are live illustrations the screening is $25 which is a tad pricier than other offerings at the festival but take my word for it, you'll kick yourself for missing this night.

The Images Film Festival runs from April 12th to April 20th with an assortment of paid screenings, free art exhibitions and live performances. Tickets are on sale now and full programming information can be found on the website.

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