ICDOCS 2019

Thursday, April 18

Competitive Program One: My Voice Is Full Of – 6pm
Franklin Miller Screening Room, Adler Journalism Building, E105

Cardinal
Kevin Jerome Everson, United States; 2:29

Cardinal (2019) is a film about bird-watchers looking for the state bird of Ohio.

Passerine in Time
Laurids Sonne, Denmark; 7:53

Passerine in Time investigates the encounters between human and nature, specifically between man and bird, through the methodical labor of the hand of man as it repeatedly captures, inspects, measures, bands and logs birds before their migratory journey elsewhere.

Watermarks
Sara Suarez, United States; 14:03

Watermarks is a portrait of Richmond, Virginia. Where Confederate monuments adorn the land, the traumatic history of slavery along the James River remains largely unrecorded. As a narrator offers to guide us through contemporary landscapes, impressions of this buried world emerge through hand-developed 16mm film and unconventional sound design, questioning how the past is recorded or suppressed. 

The Hive
Jeremi Skrodzki, Poland; 9:15

A short documentary about a green enclave in the city center of Warsaw.  Filmed on 35mm.

The Air Of The Earth In Your Lungs
Ross Meckfessel, United States/Japan; 11:00

Drones and GoPros survey the land while users roam digital forests, oceans, and lakes. Those clouds look compressed. That tree looks pixelated. A landscape film for the 21stcentury.

Life On The Mississippi
Bill Brown, United States; 28:13

An essay film about a river and the limits of knowing it. Using Mark Twain’s “Life On The Mississippi” as a road map, Brown travels from Memphis, Tennessee to New Orleans and considers ways that river pilots, paddlers, historical re-enactors, and civil engineers attempt to know the river through modeling, measurement, and simulation. As the planet warms and the oceans rise, this film asks whether the measurements we take and the models we make are a way to know the world, or just a way to fool ourselves.

Competitive Program Two: Brace For Impact – 8:15pm
Franklin Miller Screening Room, Adler Journalism Building, E105

Las Breas
Laura Kraning and Blue Kraning, United States; 12:20

Las Breas is an observational portrait of three tar pits, of which there are only six in the entire world. Situated in three distinct landscapes in Southern California – urban Los Angeles, the oil fields of the San Joaquin Valley, and Carpinteria Beach, Las Breas investigates the spaces between archiving the pre-historic and the contemporary industrial landscape. While skeletons of extinct megafauna and vintage animatronic beasts are on display in the heart of Hollywood, the sticky remains of ancient microscopic organisms seep to the surface of both land and sea. Of the earth, yet primordial and impenetrable, the bubbling tar that rises from the depths speaks of past extinction and human exploitation of the earth’s limited resources.

Polly One
Kevin Jerome Everson, United States; 6:14

Polly One(2018) is about ninety-nine percent totality.

Altiplano
Malena Szlam, Canada/Argentina; 15:30

Filmed in the Andean Mountains in the traditional lands of the Atacameño, Aymara, and Calchaquí-Diaguita in Chile and Argentina, Altiplano takes place within a geological universe of ancestral salt flats, volcanic deserts, and coloured lakes, coupled with a soundscape generated from infrasound recordings of volcanoes, geysers, blue whales, and more. Located at the heart of a natural ecosystem threatened by a century of saltpeter and nitrate mining practices, and recent geothermic exploitation, Altiplano reveals an ancient land standing witness to all that is, was, and will be.

Fainting Spells
Sky Hopinka, United States; 10:45

Told through recollections of youth, learning, lore, and departure, this is an imagined myth for the Xąwįska — or the Indian Pipe Plant — used by the Ho-Chunk to revive those who have fainted.

The Desert Forgotten
Daniel Murphy, United States; 11:11

An autopsy in space and place, The Desert Forgottenjuxtaposes a quintessentially contemporary account of Death Valley National Park, satellite imagery, with one of the first accounts of the region on record. 16mm film on video.

The Crack Up
Jonathan Schwartz, United States; 18:00

“The ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise.”
(F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Crack-Up, 1936)

Friday, April 19

Competitive Program Three: E = hv – 12:15pm
Franklin Miller Screening Room, Adler Journalism Building, E105

The Beam
Jeremy Bolen and Nina Barnett, United States; 27:38

The Beam tracks the NOVA neutrino experiment path across the midwest of the United States, from Fermilab in Chicago to the northern reaches of Minnesota. The film plays like a science nonfiction road film—searching for evidence of the subatomic particle in the midwest landscape, and explores elements of knowledge production imbedded in the architecture, communities and industry that support and live in the path of the experiment’s research. The Beam questions our understanding of the non-visible, the power of sensing and subsequently, the mystery and suspicion inherent in the unknown.

Atomkraftwerk Zwentendorf
Hope Tucker, United States/Austria; 16:40

Forty years ago, in what was only the second referendum ever to be held in their country, Austrians voted against opening a nuclear power plant that had already been built. In 2013, after catastrophic flooding across Europe, the filmmaker visited Atomkraftwerk Zwentendorf, the mothballed nuclear power plant that would have been powered by the same reactor as Fukushima. As the only nuclear power plant in the world to be built and never opened, Atomkraftwerk Zwentendorf is a monument to the power of public protest and the potential of a democratic vote.

Square 1/广-1

Louis Hothothot, Netherlands; 4:00

In public squares, statues of kings are the expression of the official power and shape people’s collective belonging. Squares resembles theatres. Kings look gallant, riding their restless horses. They come, leave, and write the official history.

Waves
Vojtech Domlatil, Czech Republic; 3:00

An observer, who clears his mind and reduces the number of his means only to work with time and space, not only reaches certain pixilation ecstasy, but also if he joins “the wave,” his way absorbs him completely. Non-narrative pixilation of the Czech landscape.

Time Is Out Of Joint
Victor Arroyo, Canada; 25:00

The Indigenous forest in Michoacán, mx., has been appropriated by narco industries. Illicit trade, cartel crimes and state violence come together in this highly strategic location, making it the epicentre of the drug war. By blending performance with observational approaches and ethnography, this documentary provides a glimpse into Indigenous rural Mexico at the intersection between ecocide, narco­labour and enforced disappearance.

Juror Program: James N. Kienitz Wilkins – 3pm
Sponsored by Vertical Cinema
FilmScene, 118 College St.

Common Carrier
United States, 78:00, 2017

A mix of artists struggle to perform their roles, at once connected and alienated by the plague of modern life. The movie weaves scripted performances by real people playing versions of themselves with intimate conversations about art making, labor, technology, and life.

Competitive Program Four: Looking Too Closely – 5:15pm
Franklin Miller Screening Room, Adler Journalism Building, E105

Applied Pressure
Kelly Sears, United States; 6:26

Ease the pain from past physical and mental distress.

Sequential images sourced from dozens of massage books are activated to reflect on recent public conversation from this past year surrounding bodies, massage, and trauma.

The body remembers. Aches may linger.

Goodbye Thelma
Jessica Bardsley, United States; 13:40

Goodbye Thelma synthesizes footage from the 1991 film Thelma & Louiseand footage of the author’s own making to create a mysterious, and at times disturbing, auto-fictional exploration of traveling as a woman alone.

Transitions
Aurèle Ferrier, Switzerland; 12:48

Transitions is a journey from the civilizing void of the desert to a maximal urban, capitalistic and hedonistic density, which in the case of Las Vegas assumes some bizarre expression. The film is a contemplation without any people or moving machines in it, focusing on the built and designed.

Life After Love
Zachary Epcar, United States; 8:25

A shifting in the light of the lot, where parked cars become containers for a collective estrangement.

Hijacked
Shambhavi Kaul, United States; 15:00

Airplane space is inhabited by characters for whom ‘escape’, one of the promises of airplane technology, proves elusive.

The Space Shuttle Challenger
Cecilia Araneda, Canada; 9:32

Through found footage, The Space Shuttle Challenger entwines the Challenger disaster, Guantanamo Bay, Chile’s coup d’état and the experience of being 16. It reflects on the personal impact of large events in world history and small moments of hope that survive.

Notes On Seeing Double
Sanaz Sohrabi, Canada; 11:10

What is the anatomy of a revolution? Masses of bodies with a collective desire? Notes on Seeing Double takes the figure of speech of “temsaal” in Farsi as its point of departure to unpack this question. By juxtaposing a documentary photograph taken in the February of 1979 in Tehran and a painting drawn by Rembrandt, depicting the famous anatomy theatre of Amsterdam in 1632, Notes on Seeing Double analyzes the conditions of visuality within different systems of power/knowledge production. The film looks at the threshold of seeing and remembering; a gateway into unpacking the relationship between images, language, and memory, and unravels the marginal histories and affective registers with which all images are charged.

Competitive Program Five: In Order For Me To Continue… – 8:15pm
Franklin Miller Screening Room, Adler Journalism Building, E105

Civil War Surveillance Poems (Part One)
Mitch McCabe, United States; 14:50

Civil War Surveillance Poems is the first in a quadrilogy of short experimental films contemplating a second American civil war via lyrical nonfiction, mixing radio and twenty years of verité footage from the filmmaker’s archive.

The Remembered Film
Isabelle Tollenaere, Belgium; 17:30

In The Remembered Film young soldiers from previous wars are seen roaming the woods aimlessly. They wear the uniforms of the Soviet troops, the Wehrmacht or the American military forces during the Vietnam war. In interviews, they share war memories they can’t possibly have experienced themselves, but which have taken root in their memory. A friction between imagination and reality arises, from the fiction to which the boys testify but haven’t experienced, but which genuinely has imprinted a memory in their minds, in the midst of other real-life memories. Thus unfolds the intrinsic relationship between storytelling, memory and history. How forming memories is subject to fictionalization. Just as history is a process of creative storytelling, a subjective construction.

A Collision of Sorts
Esther Polak and Ivar van Bekkum, United States; 17:12

In A Collision of Sorts, inhabitants of Philadelphia go their way, as discontinuous moving dots on a flat surface.

The world in which this film plays is Google Earth: an alienating landscape of almost seamlessly stitched-together satellite images of the familiar planet we humans are moving around. We hear sounds and voices. People and animals are down there, crossing the country. They share a physical reality: we hear their breath, the rustling of clothes, traffic, vehicles. They travel from one place to another giving the suggestion of a destination.

They talk about encounters, visual, economic, political, social and personal but never the characters seem to meet. Until a bad dream seems to come true.

It’s Going To Be Beautiful
Luis Gutierrez Arias and John Henry Theisen, Mexico; 8:41

Eight prototypes for the border wall stand on the US-Mexico border. To choose a winning design, Border Patrol Officers and the military will attempt to climb, dig under, or breach the structures using techniques employed by immigrants and drug dealers.

Heimat (Homeland)
Sam Peeters, Belgium; 14:13

Right-wing populism is spreading through Western Europe like wildfire. It is most popular in quiet, white neighbourhoods where people are shielded from different cultures and lifestyles.

In this unscripted documentary, Sam Peeters portrays an ironic caricature of life in the Flemish suburbs, which reflects the current European zeitgeist. 

Competitive Program Six: Humming With A Closed Mouth – 10pm
Franklin Miller Screening Room, Adler Journalism Building, E105

The Glass Note
Mary Helena Clark, United States; 9:00

In The Glass Note, a collage of sound, image, and text explore cinema’s inherent ventriloquism. Across surface and form, the video reflects on voice, embodiment, and fetish through the commingling of sound and image.

Hearths (Foyers)
Paul Heintz, France; 18:25

A slow movement through a residential neighborhood, with empty streets, plain facades, as though artificial. A man recounts his story about the first time, attraction, desire, dizziness of the ignition, forgetfulness, complete blackout. The monologue is composed of transcriptions of psychotherapeutic sessions with arsonists, from the period 1960-1980.

Fucked Like A Star
Stefani Saintonge, United States; 7:30

Fucked Like a Star is an experimental documentary short based on a paragraph in Toni Morrison’s novel, Tar Baby, about the mythical dreamlife of soldier ants. Inter-splicing macro footage, we bring the viewer into the perspective of a lovelorn soldier ant, a pause in her day. Filmed on location in Haiti and New Orleans.

Instructions On How To Make A Film
Nazli Dincel, United States; 9:00

Shot at the Film Farm in Mt.Forest, this comedy is a quest about performance, educational voiceover, analogue filmmaking, ASCII, language, ethics of ethnography and narrative storytelling under a metaphor of instructions to farm land. Text by Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett and Wikihow/shoot-film.

Magic Bath
Grace Mitchell, United States; 8:45

Magic Bath is a diaristic collection of reconciled footage from the filmmaker’s adolescence into adulthood.

Beside The Water, 1999-2004
Finn Paul, United States; 12:00

Using a blend of erotic snapshots, found footage, home videos, and images of desert landscapes a video essay about trans masculine sexual discovery and community formation in the early 2000s.

Vever (For Barbara)
Deborah Stratman and Barbara Hammer, United States; 12:00

A cross-generational binding of three filmmakers seeking alternative possibilities to power structures they’re inherently part of. The film grew out of abandoned film projects of Maya Deren and Barbara Hammer. Shot at the furthest point of a motorcycle trip Hammer took to Guatemala in 1975, and laced through with Deren’s reflections of failure, encounter and initiation in 1950s Haiti. A vever is a symbolic drawing used in Haitian Voodoo to invoke a Loa, or god.

Saturday, April 20

Competitive Program Seven: I’m Still On My Way – 11:15am
Franklin Miller Screening Room, Adler Journalism Building, E105

Lyndale
Oliverio Rodriquez and Victoria Stob, United States; 24:17

In LYNDALE, filmmakers Oli Rodriguez and Victoria Stob document shifting family dynamics over the course of one brother’s declining mental health and the other’s transgender transition. The film begins with the conflictual relationship between Jeff and his mom and goes on to explore how one family navigates childhood neglect, queer identities, and mental illness. Along the way, it shows how Jeff’s childhood experiences shape his conceptions of masculinity, curtail his ability to be emotionally vulnerable with his mother, and sabotage his attempts to connect with women. Ultimately this film demonstrates the paradox of a cis-gendered man’s envy of his trans-brother’s expression of masculinity. Through interviews with Jeff, Oli, Step-dad and their Ma, the footage questions assumptions about family, gender, depression, loss, and resilience.

Reality Fragment 160921
Qigemu Lin, United Kingdom; 13:35

Our own histories are always under curation, and as such, our perspectives become the central point in the building of personal realities. How do these multiple lived worlds, each their own amalgamation of memories, sensations, thoughts, coexist with de facto presentations of distance, history, and totality? How is this coexistence mediated if one is an actor in the online realm? The Internet functions as yet another parallel universe, but likewise an explicit symbol of the traversing between the subjective and the objective — a symbol in the questioning of solitary truths.

Reality Fragment 160921 follows two people in their process of reality-curation, as they create their own spaces against and via understandings of distance, as they go through the motions of growing themselves by growing their universes. We witness not only their movements, but also partake in the thoughts of two witnesses and how by seeing these two people, worlds are merged. In turn, we ask you, a viewer of this film and thus also a witness, to pay attention to your own movements of perception and reflect around the ways in which you build your own world. Who have you merged your world with, and what does that mean for the subjective truths you tend to?

Exit Strategy #4
Kym McDaniel; 8:50

Stories about a girl who made herself puke as an alternative to death. The fourth in a series regarding my ability to cope with my emotional and physical traumas.

Stones For Thunder
Kera MacKenzie and Andrew Mausert-Mooney, United States; 16:20

3, 2, 1 . . . a TV director counts down, paltry images become actors, and bodies find sync.

Video Home System
Sharlene Bamboat, Canada; 19:11

Video Home System (2018) traces the convergence of popular culture and politics in Pakistan during the 1980s and 1990s. This video showcases the connections between pop culture and nationalism, and how bootleg economies kept the cinema industry alive during periods of censorship.

Bijou Presents: Laura Iancu – 1pm
Sponsored by Bijou
FilmScene, 118 College St.

Level I
Romania/US, 15:06, 2012

The first in a series of loosely autobiographical films that utilize video collage techniques to re-create the volatile and fluctuating space of the everyday.

Self(i.e.;)
US, 3:44, 2017

A short film about the hallucinatory effect of over-articulating one’s image through reappointing the functionality of technologies solely designed to produce social capital and a comforting sense of individuality.

Level III
Romania/US, 7:05, 2016

In a deserted village in Romania two elders look at the future.

Minerals and Buttercups
US, 13:56, 2017 

A film about viewing, vision and preservation made around unceremoniously manipulated diary entries of John Ruskin.

Level IV  
Romania/US, 15:46, 2018

Images of climate protests are intertwined with permaculture gardening and delirious visions.

Transmissions
US, 10:00, 2019

A media hybrid video which dives into ecological interdependence, solidarity with non-human beings and the devastating logic of biocidal synthetic chemicals use within industrial agriculture.

Juror Program: Dessane Lopez Cassell – 3pm
Sponsored by the Department of Cinematic Arts
FilmScene, 118 College St.

Edgecombe
Crystal Kayiza, US, 14:36, 2018

Through a small window of time and space, Edgecombe, presents the numerous ways Black folks overcome across generations. Through the lives of Shaka Jackson, Ms. Doris Stith and Deacon Joyner, the film highlights the exhaustion of overcoming individual circumstances while navigating shared systemic experiences. Their collective stories create a mosaic that details the soul and spirit of their shared space. By revealing this timeline the film exhumes a long lineage of survival.

River of Grass: Somewhere in Between
Sasha Wortzel, US, 6:25, 2019 (work in progress)

Inspired by Marjory Stoneman Douglas’s book The Everglades: River of Grass (1947), River of Grass examines how Florida’s contemporary landscape of injustice and vulnerability to climate change is historically rooted in the Everglades’ enduring legacies of colonization, drainage, and development. Hypnotizing abstract reflections of light dance on the river’s surface as Betty Osceola, member of the Miccosukee tribe, speaks about the impact of development on the Indigenous people of the Everglades. The viewer is invited to peer into the water beyond its surface and to consider the way in which humans and the natural landscape are entangled. The feature film will build on these themes, delving deeper into the landscapes and histories behind each image glimpsed in the concluding montage.

Labadee
Joiri Minaya, Haiti, 7:06, 2017

Labadee is a short video documenting parts of a Royal Caribbean cruise trip in Labadee, Haiti, and the dynamics that unfold in this privately-managed space (the space is fenced o and leased to Royal Caribbean until 2050). The subtitles in the video begin with text from the diary of Christopher Columbus when they first saw land, moving into a contemporary recount of the trip we’re seeing.

El Laberinto (The Labyrinth)
Laura Huertas Millán, Columbia, 21:06, 2018

In Laura Huertas Millán’s The Labyrinth, a nameless narrator roams and rummages the ruinous jungle compound of a former Colombian drug lord — modeled after the mansion from TV’s Dynasty — invoking speculative pasts and futures alongside real histories of violence and decadence. Recent screenings of The Labyrinth include the New York Film Festival (NYFF), Locarno, and the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

The Impossibility of Knowing
Tan Pin Pin, Singapore, 11:31, 2010

The documentary visits and films locations where crimes or accidents have taken place, long after the events have happened to find out if these places can transcend time to engender their own significance. With the barest of details gleaned from contemporaneous news clippings, Pin Pin reconstructs the incidents via a dry voice over. The film is narrated by Lim Kay Tong who is the presenter for local crime re-construction series Crime Watch.

Competitive Program Eight: Insistence of Vision – 5:15pm
Franklin Miller Screening Room, Adler Journalism Building, E105

Nuit
Alexander Bayer and Grzegorz Kielawski, Austria; 6:40

In the glow of a digital night, a ghost story unfolds. Dancing mobile phones illuminate Vienna’s St. Stephen’s Cathedral  to the soundtrack of Carl Theodor Dreyer’s Vampyr. While enchanted bodies circle, screen icons blend with the site’s iconography. Visual history being literally on hand, Nuit rolls into the depths of everyday media practices.

Untitled (Time)
Julie Murray, United States; 16:30

Found 35mm movie film are pulled over a light box under the fixed gaze of video capture. Through veils of apparent motion, the movements of characters can be discerned and their motivations artfully speculated upon. An oblique tribute to Pere Portabella’s Vampir-Cuadecuc, narrative and plot in Untitled (time) are progressively subsumed in a switching and swaying abstraction to percussion rhythms crashed out on cymbals.

Do It Again
Curtis Miller, United States; 8:45

Do It Again combines three moments of shared looking at Chicago’s Marina City; the climatic scene from Buzz Kulik’s The Hunter, a re-enactment for an All-State Commercial, and a tight-rope walk of Nik Wallenda.

Common Space
Raphaële Bezin, France; 9:40

It is not a landscape. It is not a modern city. It has never produced a language nor an industry. It is a city of ruins, wonderful, that produces nothing. Built with cutted, distorted and superimposed images extracted from the collective imaginary of cinema. It is a microcosm. A layered document containing evidence of urban and filmic evolution. 

Anina
Alkaios Spyrou, United Kingdom; 19:51

A container ship is not an inanimate object. The ship that travels thousands of miles on the high seas is full of life, stories, tragedy and hope. The harbours reached, the industrial landscape one encounters, the cargo that floats in an endless ocean. Anina is a psycho-geographic film essay, documenting the ethnographic tendencies of the industrial landscape and its malevolent stature over the individual. The shipping industry’s ever-shifting landscape, affecting even this interaction you are having with this text, crafts its own mythology.

E-Ticket
Simon Liu, Hong Kong/United States; 13:00

A film sixteen thousand splices in the making. E-Ticket is a frantic (re)cataloguing of a personal archive and an opportunity for rebirth to forgotten images.  35mm photographs and moving pictures are obsessively cut apart, reshuffled then tape spliced together frame by frame in evolving patterns. Views swipe between a school trip to India then culminate with a protest of a 2005 World Trade Organization summit in Hong Kong.  My photographs may have all be cut up and mixed around, but at least they’re all in one place now. A retelling of Dante’s Inferno for the streaming age; a freedom of movement reserved for the modern cloud.