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Film

RESFEST 2006: Ten Years Gone

Posted by Omar / November 23, 2006

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Ten years ago, RESFEST was a small independent film festival showcasing what a mere handful of media nerds dubbed "the DV revolution." Coinciding with the advent of affordable DV cameras, desktop editing & graphics programs, and that crazy undefinable thing we call multimedia, RES became the authority on indie/DV culture, both with its festivals and its stylish magazine/DVDs.

Ten years gone (great name for a song), and the indie-DV revolution has its own upper-crust establishment. Slick Norwegian design firms, hot-shot music video directors that get to make quirky films on big budgets, and everyone and their dog trying to make Dogme films using iMovie on their laptop has taken the cutting edge out of the whole enterprise. As any time spent on YouTube demonstrates, DV has become a vehicle for tech geeks to show off - as always good content is often scarce.

RESFEST (Nov. 24-26 at Ex-Centris) exemplifies those two extremes. Celebrating their tenth anniversary, this year's RESFEST will surely showcase real brilliant gems amongst the flashy but pointless work that comes with the territory. Some things to watch out for ...

Opening with a special screening of Destricted, this much anticipated omnibus film featuring seven cutting-edge filmmakers mediating on pornography (Larry Clark, Gasper Noe, Mathew Barney, Marina Abramovic, Richard Prince, Sam Taylor-Wood and Marco Brambilla) does look pretty fucking sexy (for an art-nerd like me). It plays Nov. 24 at 7pm.

There are also three programs of short films. The first showcase, State of the Art, promises many excellent films. In particular don't miss: Silence is Golden by Chris Shepherd, in which a young boy and his mother are driven to lunacy by their deranged neighbour. Or the truly poignant 0.08 by Johan Kramer, a mini-documentary about a 12-year-old boy named Victor who is almost legally blind, but continues to defy his limitations.

My personal favourite, so far, has to be the uber-brilliant Food Fight by Stefan Nadelman. Not since Norman McLaren's classic film Neighbours has a short film so perfectly captured the absurdity of war. The film is as simple as its title. There is food and they go to war with each other. Of course, motifs begin to make sense. Hamburgers and fries drop large pattie bombs on rows of sushi, annihilating a whole region. Falafels go off undetected, causing mass explosions. Scud kebob missiles aimed at lox and cream cheese bagels cause a massive build-up of hamburgers to attack ... and so on. This film literally and figuratively manages to skewer the past century of war and strife, with humour and wit.

Pairing Radiohead with RESFEST is fairly apropos, considering that they've worked with every hot-shot music video, ad or experimental/indie director out there. Charting the course from the amazing Karma Police video to There, There is in itself a history of the DV decade. Of course, you could just watch the videos on your Internet, though ... or rent a DVD of videos from your local video shoppe. Your decision, amigo.

Personally, I have my money on the two showcases that celebrate their anniversary - A Decade of ResFest: 10 Seminal Pieces (Sunday Nov. 26 at 6pm) and the music video retrospective Unsung Heros: Gems from the Archive (Sunday, Nov. 26 at noon). I am particularly looking forward to re-watching Letter to the President (playing at A Decade of ResFest) - an amazing time lapse cinematic graffiti letter made by the legendary Barnstormers collective that once prompted a standing ovation from a crowd of jaded techno-slackers who typify a RES audience. That's powerful indeed.


We will be covering the festival with more previews and reviews over the next few days.

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