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arts biography

Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould

An enigmatic musical poet, world-renowned pianist Glenn Gould continues to captivate twenty-seven years after his untimely death. His inimitable music and writing reveal and insightful world-view that we are still unravelling – his complex recording technologies, including overdubbing, was unprecedented. Though there have been many documentaries about Gould, most are distracted by his eccentricities, focusing on the pills, gloves, and scarves while missing the man and message behind the music. Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould pierces through the myths, revealing the man beneath the icon. Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould weaves together an unprecedented array of never before seen footage of Gould, photographs and excerpts from his private home recordings and diaries plus personal interviews with Gould’s most intimate friends and lovers, some who have never spoken about him publicly before, to reconstruct his thoughts on music, art, society, love, and life. In our current media saturated world, where information trumps knowledge, there’s a profound need for someone who cuts through the static and speaks to us with a clear, candid, and timeless tone. That is one of Glenn Gould’s most profound gifts.

Don Policarpo & I: Travels with a Puppeteer (Don Policarpo & yo:viajes con un titiritero)

A trip to Paraguay to document the story of the traveling puppet theatre that his father started in the 1970s, leads the filmmaker on a nostalgic journey in which he reacquaints himself with the puppets of his childhood. Creatively using archival footage, photographs and insightful interviews, this film is an homage to an artist and his work--the filmmakers' father and an extended family of artists--who live and work in one of South America's poorest and lesser known countries. It celebrates the creativity and passion of artists and reminds us why the magic of puppetry is universal and timeless.

Winds of Heaven

Winds of Heaven is a ninety-minute filmic journey into the deep brooding mystery and inner beauty of Emily Carr’s paintings - a lyrical, luminescent and entertaining impression of the life of Carr and her connection to the First Nations people of the Northwest Coast of British Columbia. Michael Ostroff’s direction of John Walker’s fluid camera and Edmund Eagan’s intimate music brings a sense of movement, grace and energy to the film. Diane D’Aquila’s layered and textured read presents a portrait of a living, breathing, tough, vulnerable, smart and sympathetic Emily Carr as has never before been brought to the screen.

Paul Quarrington Life in Music

PAUL QUARRINGTON: LIFE IN MUSIC is a documentary about a celebrated artist whose sudden diagnosis of a terminal illness leads him to ask the universal question, what would you do? He is driven to squeeze every ounce of creative juice from his multi-dimensional career – writer, musician, filmmaker - in whatever amount of time he has left. By bearing witness to the most intimate moments of his creative process, through to big moments on the public stage, Quarrington’s final journey provides testament to the power of a perfect song to provide lasting connections to humanity. His is a story that will inspire every viewer to re-connect with their creativity and truly engage in the sweet, bitter, hilarious or poignant moments life has to offer. On-screen conversations with some of the most important people in Quarrington’s life, including Roddy Doyle, Dave Bidini, Nino Ricci, Wayson Choy and Martin Worthy; with dynamic performances from his band Porkbelly Futures, The Rheostatics, Dan Hill, Joel Quarrington, Tony Quarrington, Joe Hall and many more. Inspired by the book “Cigar Box Banjo: A Life in Music and Words” by Paul Quarrington, published by Greystone Books, May 29, 2010. The film includes original live performances of music composed expressly for the film, as well as songs composed during his illness, many of which are included on the CD “Paul Quarrington: The Songs,” Paul’s only full-length solo recording, available through Cordova Bay.

SHAMELESS: The ART of Disability

Art, activism and disability are the starting point for what unfolds as a funny and intimate portrait of five surprising individuals. Director Bonnie Sherr Klein (Not a Love Story, and Speaking Our Peace) has been a pioneer of women’s cinema and an inspiration to a generation of filmmakers around the world. SHAMELESS: the ART of Disability marks Klein's return to a career interrupted by a catastrophic stroke in 1987. Always the activist, she now turns the lens on the world of disability culture, and ultimately, the transformative power of art. Joining Klein are a group of artists with diverse (dis)abilities. Humourist David Roche is taking his one man show, The Church of 80% Sincerity, to New York’s off-Broadway. Poet and scholar Catherine Frazee is navigating a jam-packed schedule of teaching and speaking engagements. Dancer, choreographer and impresario Geoff McMurchy is organizing KickstART, an international festival of disability art. Sculptor and writer Persimmon Blackbridge is creating mixed media portraits from “meaningful junk”. Klein gathers these artists for a pyjama party where they take a subversive look at Hollywood stereotypes of people with disabilities: The Monster, The Saint, The Psycho, the Poor Little Crippled Girl, etc. The artists decide to turn the tables, making a pact to meet a year later at the KicksART Festival with the intent of creating their own images of disability. The film tracks this motley gang of five from the BC Gulf Islands, to Nova Scotia and south to San Francisco while they create and then present their multi-faceted self-representations. As we get to know each of these remarkable people driven by a passion for art and transformation, the everyday complexities and unexpected richness of life with a disability are exposed. Packed with humour and raw energy, SHAMELESS: the ART of Disability is a revelation of a film.

Notman's Camera

From 1856 to the time of his death in 1891, William Notman ran the most important photographic studio in Canada. It is said that he is the most successful photographer in all of North America. In 1873 alone he produces 14,000 images. Some are treasured private possessions. Others are reproduced in the thousands and are sold around the world. He came to Canada as a fugitive from the law and quickly built a thriving business in the then ‘new art’ of photography. He wanted to be a successful businessman. What he became was the architect of one of North America’s most important historical records. An entrepreneur and master craftsman, he also trained a generation of Canadian and American photographers who ran his satellite studios in Halifax, St. John, Boston, Albany, and New York. He captured the social life of Canadian and international elite as well as the family life of both the rich and the ordinary. He artfully recorded the settlement of the west, the growth of bustling cities and the fading of a way of life as aboriginal peoples moved onto reserves. Thousands of men and women, both famous and ordinary, live on for us through William Notman’s work. Notman’s Canada evokes the social and cultural life of Montreal and Canada in the last half of the 19th century. The photographs themselves form the main visual source, supplemented with original shooting including minimal recreation in Montreal and other historically significant locations. Filmed interviews with Notman enthusiasts and experts provide context. Diaries, letters, and songs of the time are also used to bring alive an era in which the photograph was an exciting new medium of enormous social and cultural importance.

Joseph Giunta: A Silent Triumph

A Silent Triumph is the story of the frailty, as well as the triumph, of the human spirit, of the steadfastness of relationship and the undeniability of true creativity. At the heart of the story is a reclusive artist, a house full of remarkable paintings and a woman who is slowly but surely losing her mind. It is a story that leaves us feeling enriched by an encounter of a rare and special kind, reassured that such humanity still exists in this often harsh world of ours. Eighty-nine year-old Joseph Giunta lives in a tumble-down old townhouse sandwiched between blocks of towering modern highrises in the heart of Montreal's hustle and bustle. Except for the occasional outing to the bank or for groceries, Joseph passes his days within these four walls with his Alzheimer's-afflicted wife, Helen.

By Woman's Hand

A story of art and passion, sorrow and tragedy, love and friendship, By Woman's Hand is a poignant documentary exploring the life and times of three of Canada's outstanding women artists from the 1920s - Prudence Heward, Sarah Robertson and Anne Savage. Although they painted and exhibited alongside Canada's iconic Group of Seven their paintings all but disappeared after their deaths until they were re-discovered by a new generation of art historians, curators and art lovers.

Mordecai Richler: Last of the Wild Jews

A fascinating and original look at the persona and work of Mordecai Richler - the writer, husband and father. Richler was part of a cohort of great Jewish writers that used their anger and Talmudic teachings to help create a new North American literature and to be social critics and satirists. The film features interviews with Richler’s wife, Florence, Margaret Atwood, Rex Murphy, Adam Gopnik and others as well as archival moments of Old Jewish Montreal.

The Life and Times of Evelyn Hart

Known worldwide for her passionate performances, Prima Ballerina Evelyn Hart is one of Canada’s most inspiring and honored artists. Winner of the Governor General’s Award for Performing Arts and a Companion of the Order of Canada, she has danced her way into the hearts and minds of countless audiences around the globe. Her career has spanned an astonishing 30 years on stage, 25 of them as the leading ballerina of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Internationally renowned as one of the great interpreters of classical roles like Giselle and Swan Lake, Ms Hart’s unique artistry has been celebrated by audiences and critics alike. This intimate portrait of a life entirely dedicated to dance brings you backstage, into the dressing room and rehearsal studios, and onstage in performance, exploring what it means to devote every waking moment to the pursuit of the perfection in art. Driven, intense but with an ever-present sense of humour, Ms Hart opens her life to our camera. Filmed over two years by director Betsy Carson, The Life and Times of Evelyn Hart reveals the struggles and triumphs that mark Ms. Hart’s extraordinary journey from talented teenager to international star.
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