Regional Support Network

Artists bring filmmakers to Toronto one city at a time

A new nomadic screening series popped up in Toronto's film community earlier this year: Regional Support Network imports the work of film makers from one region at a time for special showcases. Founders and Toronto filmmakers / animators Leslie Supnet and Clint Enns began by screening films from Baltimore, and this Thursday they'll invite you to swing across the United States to Portland (don't worry - you don't have to go beyond Kensington Market).

Supnet and Enns explain that while they run Regional Support Network (RSN) and reach out to cities initially, each screening is curated by an artists or artists from that community - Thursday's line up, Everyone's A Little Queer, will be put together by Ben Popp of experimental film fest EFFPortland. I asked them some questions about what makes Regional Support Network unique, what's going on behind the scenes, and how to keep Toronto's film scene weird.

"The idea for the series came out of a desire to see work from other cities unmediated by a Toronto curatorial lens." RSN explain. "The work is curated by someone who is actively involved in their community. We're interested in regions with active moving image scenes; in general the experimental scene is really small and everyone involved kinda knows each other. We're always open to suggestions, too. The only condition is that the curator must be an active part of their community and that they must present their own work in the program."

Enns and Supnet were candid (fierce!) when I asked what gap in Toronto's film scene the RSN project is trying to fill. "It seems that experimental moving-image curating in Toronto is too conservative and too institutionalized and curators are more interested in quality control (or infinitely worse, their own careers) than in building community. We're more interested in "the more the merrier" than the select few. We hope to challenge Toronto moving-image aesthetics by allowing other regions to show us their work using their voice."

While the series is officially slated to as nomadic, RSN name the location of Thursday's screening, VideoFag, as a close collaborator and kindred spirit. "We'll be doing some outdoor guerrilla screenings this summer, but we'll continue co-present with VideoFag. It's one of the only true artist run centers in Toronto, and a rare safe spaces that fosters a supportive community and takes chances on emerging, truly experimental and transgressive artists."

At Thursday's screening, RSN advise you to expect things to get "fun, strange, and weird" (who'd have thought). In May they'll be back to host Amber Christensen presenting work from Saskatchewan, and later in summer the Basement Media Festival, a traveling screening celebrating DIY culture and lo-fi aesthetics, will be showing on Toronto screens (or brick walls).

This month's Regional Support Network is Thursday, April 24 at Videofag (187 Augusta Avenue).

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