York filmmakers win awards at Images Festival 2005

Two York film & video students won awards at Toronto’s recently concluded Images Festival, Canada’s largest annual event devoted to independent and experimental film, video and media installation, with more than 100 presentations culled from about 1,600 submissions worldwide.

Right: Images of Mary J. Daniel from Confessions of a Compulsive Archivist

Mary J. Daniel, a graduate student in the Faculty of Fine Arts’ Department of Film & Video, won the $500 Steam Whistle Homebrew Award for her seven-minute analog/digital production Confessions of a Compulsive Archivist, which was screened on April 13 in the International Shorts section of the festival.

A long-time member of Vancouver’s alternative film community, Daniel was pleasantly surprised with her award. “I submitted the film for consideration last November and then kept my fingers crossed that someone on the Images Festival programming committee would find it interesting and worthy enough,” said Daniel, who is currently completing her MFA in film production at York.

Confessions of a Compulsive Archivist

Right: Image detail from Confessions

“Although the festival is about competition, it’s also a thrill to have one’s work screened for an appreciative audience who respects and promotes alternative, innovative and original approaches to working in film and video. This audience comes because they want to see something different,” said Daniel.

“Confessions of a Compulsive Archivist is one of an ongoing adaptable anthology of film and video poems inspired by the process of watching my mother succumb to dementia, which affected her ability to picture things,” Daniel explained. “Built from artifacts recovered from first my own, then my mother’s storage closet, my film follows the tragi-comic story of my personal struggle to let go of a few things of no use to me.”

Inmage from Confessions of a Compulsive Archivist

Left: Image from Confessions

The film will be screened at Toronto’s Inside Out Lesbian and Gay Film and Video Festival on May 23 at 1pm, as part of the shorts program called “Outside the Box.” Previously, it was shown at The Fabulous Festival of Fringe Film, a popular experimental film festival held annually in Durham, Ont. in Aug. 2004.

Daniel has been making films for 15 years. She has also written several documentaries, including a six-part series on alternative film making in western Canada. She produced the award-winning Coming to Her Senses, a compilation of six films by six women on six senses. Her films have been shown at festivals worldwide, including the gay & lesbian festivals in Milan, Italy, and London, England, as well as the Toronto International Film Festival.

Fourth-year film & video student Luo Li won the prize for Best Student Film for his production Fly! on April 12. The award, sponsored by York’s Department of Film & Video, was determined by audience vote. The prize includes a cash award plus a Gulf Islands Film & Television School scholarship, covering tuition for a one-week media intensive program chosen by the recipient. Li also won the student competition last February at Media City, Windsor’s annual International Festival of Experimental Film & Video Art.

The 2005 festival wrapped up on April 16. For more information, visit the Images Festival Web site.

This article was submitted to YFile by Mary-Lou Schagena, publicist, Faculty of Fine Arts.