November 23-Queer Canadian Films from the CFMDC 1975–85 

Queer Cana­di­an Films from the CFMDC 1975–85 
Part of the Oth­er Places Book Launch Series
Curat­ed by Tess Taka­hashi

Sat­ur­day Novem­ber 23, 8:00pm
Jack­man Hall, 317 Dun­das Street West, Toron­to, ON
Free event

More infor­ma­tion at: otherplaces.mano-ramo.ca

Jere­my Podeswa, David Roche Talks to You about Love (1983). 16mm. Image cour­tesy of CFMDC

Fea­tur­ing:

Jill John­ston: Octo­ber 1975–6, Kay Armatage and Lydia Wazana, 1977, 30min, Cana­da

David Roche Talks to You about Love, Jere­my Podeswa, 1983, 22min, Cana­da

Ten Cents a Dance (Par­al­lax), Midi Onodera, 1985, 28min, Cana­da 

There’s some­thing for every­body in this his­tor­i­cal show. Between 1975 and 1985, much of the queer work that found its way into the CFMDC’s col­lec­tion would not have called itself that. Rather than take queer as a noun that des­ig­nates the iden­ti­ty of either a per­son or a film, I under­stand it here as a verb form – “to queer” – a form that sug­gests queer­ness as a prac­tice or mode of read­ing that attempts to shift our per­cep­tion of the world. As Jose Muñoz writes regard­ing the pow­er of queer futu­ri­ty, “Queer­ness is essen­tial­ly about the rejec­tion of a here and now and an insis­tence on poten­tial­i­ty or con­crete pos­si­bil­i­ty for anoth­er world.” Employ­ing exper­i­men­tal, nar­ra­tive, and verite modes, the film­mak­ers in this pro­gram were often doing exact­ly that — shift­ing the ways in which we make worlds for our­selves in par­tic­u­lar spaces, even as they com­ment on the social con­di­tions that sur­round them. 

Jill John­ston: Octo­ber 1975–6 is a now lit­tle-seen cin­e­ma ver­ité doc­u­men­tary that shows writer John­ston and her girl­friend engag­ing with women on a Toron­to tour. This beau­ti­ful print opens a win­dow onto an impor­tant his­tor­i­cal moment in which Johnston’s numer­ous Vil­lage Voice essays and books (includ­ing Mar­malade Me, Gullible’s Trav­els, Les­bian Nation, and Moth­er­bound) were trans­for­ma­tive cul­tur­al texts.

In David Roche Talks to You about Love, the main char­ac­ter address­es the audi­ence on the top­ic of love as he moves around his Toron­to loft. While oft-screened in the 1980s, this cin­e­mat­ic adap­ta­tion of a one-man show now offers a poignant snap­shot into the life and loves of one young man in the cul­ture of the time.

Ten Cents a Dance (Par­al­lax) is a dou­ble-screen work that jux­ta­pos­es three cou­ples as they nego­ti­ate self-con­tain­ment and con­nec­tion to one anoth­er in a vari­ety of semi-pri­vate spaces: the restau­rant, the pub­lic restroom, and the tele­phone chat­line. Reflect­ing on the film’s title and shift­ing for­mal and sex­u­al rela­tion­ships, Onodera writes that the term “Par­al­lax is the appar­ent change in posi­tion of an object result­ing from the change in direc­tion or posi­tion from which it is viewed.”

Kay Armatage has enjoyed a dis­tin­guished career as a film­mak­er, aca­d­e­m­ic and pro­gram­mer. Her films have been sold for broad­cast and shown at fes­ti­vals, cin­e­math­e­ques and gal­leries around the world. She has won a num­ber of awards and grants, includ­ing SSHRCC research grants (1995, 2003, 2007), Cana­da Coun­cil Senior Artist’s Grant (1992), YWCA Woman of Dis­tinc­tion Award (1989), Toron­to Women in Film and Tele­vi­sion Award of Mer­it (1988 & 2004), Clyde Gilmour Award (2004) and numer­ous film fes­ti­val prizes and arts coun­cil grants. Armatage is pro­fes­sor of Cin­e­ma and Women’s Stud­ies at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to and a long-time pro­gram­mer for the Toron­to Inter­na­tion­al Film Fes­ti­val. Her writ­ing on cin­e­ma has been pub­lished in Take One Mag­a­zine, Cana­di­an Forum, Fire­weed, Spi­rale, Atlantis and Cana­di­an Women’s Stud­ies.

Midi Onodera is a recip­i­ent of the 2018 Gov­er­nor General’s Award for Visu­al and Media Arts. She is a mov­ing image artist who has been mak­ing work for 35+ years. She has pro­duced over 25 inde­pen­dent shorts rang­ing from film to dig­i­tal video to “low end” toy cam­era for­mats. In addi­tion to this she cre­at­ed a the­atri­cal fea­ture film, Skin Deep and 500+ online videos. Since 2006 she has pro­duced an annu­al online video project which can be viewed at: www.midionodera.com. 

Jere­my Podeswa is a Cana­di­an film and tele­vi­sion direc­tor. Podeswa has col­lect­ed three Emmy nom­i­na­tions, and direct­ed episodes of Board­walk Empire, True Detec­tive, The Walk­ing Dead, Six Feet Under, True Blood, Amer­i­can Hor­ror Sto­ry, and Game of Thrones. As a film­mak­er, his 1999 film The Five Sens­es won Genie Awards for Best Pic­ture and Direc­tor, and his 2007 film Fugi­tive Pieces opened the Toron­to Inter­na­tion­al Film Fes­ti­val.

Tess Taka­hashi is a Toron­to-based schol­ar, writer, and pro­gram­mer who focus­es on exper­i­men­tal mov­ing image arts. She is cur­rent­ly work­ing on two books, Impure Film: Medi­um Speci­fici­ty and the North Amer­i­can Avant-Garde (1968–2008), which exam­ines artists’ work with his­tor­i­cal­ly new media, and Mag­ni­tude, which con­sid­ers artists’ work against the back­drop of Big Data. She is a mem­ber of the exper­i­men­tal media pro­gram­ming col­lec­tive Ad Hoc and the edi­to­r­i­al col­lec­tive for Cam­era Obscu­ra: Fem­i­nism, Cul­ture, and Media. Taka­hashi’s writ­ing has been pub­lished there as well as in Cin­e­ma Jour­nal,  Mil­len­ni­um Film Jour­nal, Ani­ma­tion, MIRAGE, and Cin­e­ma Scope, among oth­ers.