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By Posted on: Friday, April 11th, 2014

FRAMED West April 28- May 3 in Corner Brook

 

That’s right! FRAMED West is back and heading to Corner Brook April 28-May 3! Join award-winning filmmaker and producer, Allison White (Crawl Space, Decoloured) and spend six days learning how and making your own short film!

Get hands-on, professional training on script breakdown, directing 101, camera operation, film lighting, sets, design, makeup, sound work and more. This workshop is open to everyone and will be a great way to learn more about how to turn your ideas in a film.

The entire workshop is only $25.
To register or for more information, please contact Eilish at eilish@womensfilmfestival.com

*We are also looking for volunteer actors! Check out the casting call below.
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By Posted on: Thursday, April 10th, 2014

JOB POSTING: Administrative Assistant/Office Coordinator

 

Administrative Assistant/Office Coordinator

Date posted: April 14th, 2014
Application deadline: April 30th, 2014
Start Date: TBD

Organization Information
The St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival is one of the longest­running annual women’s film festivals in the world. In addition to our Festival, which takes place every October, we organize annual professional development and networking conferences like our Industry Film Forum and Scene & Heard Film Industry Conference, as well as educational programs for youth like our FRAMED Film Education Series. We also host film screenings throughout the year.
We’re about to celebrate our 25th consecutive year supporting women in the film and television industry in Newfoundland and Labrador and around the globe.
It’s going to be an incredible party.

 
Job Description
Reporting to the Executive Director and Board of Directors, our Administrative Assistant/Office Coordinator will provide administrative support for Women’s Film Festival operations and programs.
Duties include (but are not limited to):
• Providing overall administrative support to the Executive Director including payroll input, database management and general administrative duties
• Maintaining accurate payroll information
• Creating forms, memos and informational paperwork as required, including databases and spreadsheets.
• Creating detailed informational spreadsheets on screening information for staff and Film Selection Committee
• Organizing and handling all film submissions and screening copies
• Overseeing film solicitation by contacting directors, distributors and producers, and coordinating screening fees and contracts
• Managing film selection database and library of submitted films in DVD and through online screeners (ie: Withoutabox)
• Assisting with grant writing
• Assisting the Executive Director arrange and prepare for Board meetings
• Attending Board meetings, taking minutes, and preparing notes
• Assisting with event logistics and Festival planning
• Banking and mail duties
• Light bookkeeping and petty cash duties
• Maintaining an office environment, which is efficient, organized and friendly • Other duties as assigned

 
Requirements
• Graduate from CNA’s Office Administration program within the last two years
• Strong organizational capabilities, detail­oriented and able to multi­task effectively
• Extensive experience with Microsoft Excel and other database systems
• Extensive experience with Microsoft Word and Google Docs
• Excellent communications and time management skills
• Adaptable to a flexible work schedule, including evenings and weekends in a fast­paced environment especially during peak Festival activity time.
• Experience working in film, for film festivals, non­profit or feminist organizations an asset
Additional Requirements
Candidates must adhere to the Graduate Employment Program requirements:
• Candidates (including international students) must have successfully completed a post­secondary program (minimum duration of one academic year, preferably in the Office Administration field with an Executive or Records Information Management specialization) at CNA.
• Candidates must be currently unemployed or under­employed (working less than 20 hrs/week or not in an area related to their field of study)
• Candidates must not be an immediate family member of the employer.
Note: Preference will be given to Non­EI eligible graduates (i.e. Currently not receiving E.I. benefits; and have not received E.I. benefits within the last three years; or have not received E.I. maternity or parental benefits within the last five years)
People of all genders are encouraged to apply.

Please note that this position is dependent on funding through the Graduate Employment Program.

Email applications to: sarah@womensfilmfestival.com

 

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By Posted on: Thursday, February 13th, 2014

Politics suit women, too.

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Our first female premiere has just stepped down and St. John’s has its first all-male council since 1969. Why should we care about the lack of women in government and what should we do about it? I asked Sheilagh O’Leary, former St. John’s City Councillor at Large, what she thought and talked to her about an upcoming Equal Voice St. John’s forum on women in politics.

I just saw on Twitter that you’re organizing a forum for women in politics. Can you tell me about that?
It’s the local chapter of Equal Voice. Equal Voice is a national non-partisan organization that aims to encourage women to get involved in the political sphere. They’ve been on the go for quite some time and we’ve had a local chapter that’s oscillated back and forth for quite some time and it’s mostly been inactive, but there seems to be a new wave of interest in getting it going again. The beauty of Equal Voice is that it is non-partisan, so you get people from all different parties. And it’s all different levels of government: provincial, federal, municipal, it doesn’t matter.

I would never vote for somebody just because they were a woman or man, but you need to have more people encouraged to actually put themselves forward for that call.

Why should we even care if there aren’t many women in our governments?
Women do have a different perspective. When a woman steps up to the plate, [she] brings different life experiences. Not just about being a mother, but certainly women who are mothers and juggle childcare and balancing work and family life, it’s a big issue. So we know that those kinds of issues are going to be dealt with in a different way when you’ve got women in those roles. Maybe daycare’s not as huge a priority for the male sector as it is for the female sector, I’m not saying yes or no, but I’m saying there are many issues that affect women that don’t get represented if they’re not at the table.

(Interesting tidbit from Equal Voice’s Fundamental Facts: “The United Nations says that a critical mass of at least 30% women is needed before legislatures produce public policy representing women’s concerns and before political institutions begin to change the way they do business.” – Ed.)

For me, personally, we’ve had a lot of interesting comments lately because we had our first female premiere and a number of female premieres across the country which has given a bit of false security about the numbers of women that are actually in politics… Oh, can you hold one second?

[No kidding: she pauses to take a call from her son’s school, as he is home sick and she’s in charge of the child care.]

But the stats actually show that we’re still so far behind. Having a couple of women that have risen to premiere is phenomenal, but it’s not really representational of the full scheme. And as we can see on the local level in the city, we have no female presence on our city council. If you look at the provincial government, it’s the same thing. The numbers [of women in government] are extremely low. Look right across the country, you’ll find the same thing.

My personal feeling is that we are in a regressive time right now and it is our responsibility to encourage young, vital women — and they are out there — to get involved in politics.

And that’s what Equal Voice is about, it’s about encouraging young and older women who have something to offer, and to be a supportive organization to let them know that there are learning tools out there, and that everyone has to start from scratch. Often times women are the ones in the communities who are behind the scenes working on boards and committees and they need extra encouragement to actually be the front runners.

Why do you think this is a regressive time?
That’s my personal feeling, I don’t say that as a representation of Equal Voice. Look at the federal scene, under a Harper government. We’re certainly not seeing much in terms of extra supports to women, we’re not seeing a lot of women represented in the federal government. Again, same thing at the provincial level it’s and certainly now on our doorstep in St. John’s. It seems like it’s gone backwards. And that concerns me greatly. I’d like to see more multi-cultural representation, as well.

What will happen at this forum?
It’s in the formative stages right now, but there seems to be a lot of new energy: I’ve had a lot of younger women come up to me and tell me that they’re doing political science, that they’re really involved and really interested, but that they don’t know where to start. I guess the first thing is demystifying the process, so that people aren’t fearful, and letting them know that everybody has to start from zero but that there are supports out there.

Ultimately, one of the things that happens with Equal Voice is mentorship. For me, personally, the former deputy mayor Shannie Duff was an important mentor for me and I was fortunate enough to have some encouragement from her to push myself forward. And I know that I’m not the only one that she encouraged. But to have strong female role models like that, I think, is crucial. So I think that will be the focus. And to have representatives from all political parties come in and talk about their experiences, and share their experience, I think there’s nothing greater than that: mentorship is it.

The Equal Voice St. John’s forum will take place on April 26th in the E.B. Foran Room at City Hall. Times and more details TBA. Main photo by Adrian Wyld / CP files, taken from this National Post article.

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By Posted on: Friday, February 7th, 2014

Get your film on

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St. John’s seems to be exploding with excellent film-related opportunities right now. Here’s Jenn Brown, the mastermind behind the kickass SJIWFF24 Industry Film Forum, and she’s back in the office plotting our Scene & Heard workshops. Stay tuned for big news about those. In the meantime, here’s a quick round-up of what’s on the go right now.

Screenings

“So Right, So Smart” is an award-winning doc profiling eco-smart companies like Patagonia and Seventh Generation. The film looks at how environmentally sustainable business practices can yield social and financial rewards. David Suzuki makes an appearance. The St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival is co-presenting this film on February 5th (tomorrow) at the Hall with the Newfoundland and Labrador Environmental Industries Association, and Cox & Palmer is sponsoring the event. All proceeds will be donated to the St. John’s Farmers’ Market. Show starts at 8pm and tickets are $10 for regular admission and $8 for students and seniors.

On Valentine’s Day, swoon with “Gabrielle,” a film about a young singer who has fallen in love with her choir director. Gabrielle has Williams Syndrome, a genetic disorder characterized by intellectual disability, and director Louise Archambault masterfully uses a non-professional cast, many of them with Williams Syndrome, to explore Gabrielle’s relationship with her teacher, as well as her own sense of independence, self and sexuality. The film was Canada’s nod for the Best Foreign Feature Oscar, for which it was shortlisted. The screening starts at 8pm, and tickets are $12 for regular admission or $10 for students and seniors.

This Thursday, February 6th, MUN Cinema is showing Blue Is The Warmest Colour, which won the Palme d’Or at Cannes last year. The Cannes Jury gave the award to the director and the two lead actresses, making them the second and third women to ever receive a Palme D’Or (Jane Campion was the first). We’re also looking forward to Wadjda (March 6th), the first film ever made by a Saudi woman. Go, MUN Cinema!

Awards

If you’re a member of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, you can vote for the Canadian Screen Awards. To name a few favourites, The Grand Seduction is up for Best Film, and Sherry White is up for Best Writing for her work on Saving Hope. The Telegram lists all of the Newfoundlanders and Labradorians up for CSAs here.

The NLAC has also just announced that they’re extending their nomination deadline for the NLAC Arts Awards. You’ve got until Valentine’s Day to show your favourite NL artist some love.

Workshops

Colette Johnson-Vosberg, veteran of Global TV, Telefilm Canada, the Canada Media Fund, ZoomerMedia Television, and Vision TV, is heading to NIFCO for a two-day workshop in Business Affairs on March 8th and 9th. She’ll be talking about pitching to broadcasters and distributors; creating budgets and finance plans; rights management; and the fine details of government funds and private funds from sources like Telefilm, Bell Fund, Rogers Fund Group and Shaw. This killer workshop will be co-presented by the Newfoundland and Labrador Film Development Corporation and St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival for Scene & Heard, our annual celebration of International Women’s Day. For more information or to register, give Laura Churchill (laura@nlfdc.ca) a shout.

Ladies Learning Code have set up a St. John’s chapter. They’re a women-led non-profit based out of Toronto that offers free or cheap workshops to women, men and children who want to learn stuff like HTML and C++. You can keep up with their workshop news by following them on Facebook.

Other cool stuff

It’s February and the RPM Challenge is on. Normally people record an album of music for the RPM, but you could record an audio doc, too. If it’s 35 minutes long, or if you record 10 short docs, it totally counts. If you’ve got a doc idea that you want to test out, make an RPM radio doc!

And, psst, here’s a little Scene & Heard hint:

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By Posted on: Monday, January 13th, 2014

Jenina McGillivray and the benefit of little miracles

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Local filmmaker Jenina McGillivray, painted here by John McDonald, could use your help. And hey, couldn’t we all use a good night of dancing?

On January 18th, some of St. John’s finest musicians — Mark Bragg, Pilot to Bombardier, Green and Gold, and the Pathological Lovers with Tim Baker, to name a few — will hit the Rockhouse stage for Jenefit, a fundraiser for Jenina McGillivray. The Facebook event is here.

According to the event description, Jenina was admitted to the hospital just after Christmas with severe abdominal pains and dangerously low blood pressure. By morning, she was in critical condition and rushed to surgery where doctors figured out what was wrong and fixed her up. She’s out of the hospital, but will be out of both work and commission for the next few months as she recovers.

Jenefit organizers have also set up a silent auction and donation site here. Prizes include a private concert by The Once in your own home.

If you’re curious about just how brilliant and kind and generally awesome Jenina is, I caught up with her before Christmas to interview her about her short film “Boarding,” which she was just gearing up to shoot through NIFCO’s First Time Filmmakers program (a program you should really check out if you’re interesting in making a film). Here she is:

Tell me about the film that you’re heading off to shoot.
It’s a film that’s based on a true story that happened to my sister. It’s about a girl who is going through a bit of a breakdown and she’s at an airport and she’s trying to get home. She encounters some difficulties with that, and a random act of kindness from a stranger helps her get through that time.

You’re making this through First Time Filmmakers. What’s the process for that program?
Well, through NIFCO, you do a course where you learn basic filmmaking skills and you’re mentored by people in the community. You get support from NIFCO after you complete the filmmaking course to then go out and make your own film. They offer you the equipment that you need, and a mentor to help you along. My mentor for this film has been Mark Hoffe and I’ve had a lot of great crew members come on board and volunteer their time to do this. I think it’s a mark that independent filmmaking is really alive in Newfoundland and in St. John’s. People really want to come together to try to help you realize your little dream of making your first film.

So you haven’t made any films before?
Nope, this is my first one. I have a few other scripts, too, but this is my first. For me, this is a learning experience. I want the film to be the best that it can be, but for me the most important thing is not that it’s the best film I’ll ever make, but that it’s the first one.

So you just walked into this totally green.
Yep! I mean, I’ve worked on crews. I started off in makeup and wardrobe and I did some production work and took a lot of different workshops and I’ve always been around the film industry in some way.

Were you nervous when you applied? Do they scrutinize your script and accept you and all that?
Yeah. I think if you have a pretty solid idea, they will help you through it. But yeah, I was glad I got a good response on the script, that made me happy; people seemed to like it and to want to support it.

What did you guys do in the filmmaking course?
You learn the basics of scriptwriting, camera, editing, some post production stuff, sound. Everybody in the course gets a chance to try the different elements. And then we write a script together and make a film together.

So for someone who just wants to make a movie and has no experience, this program would work for them?
If you have the passion and the desire to tell a story, and you think film is the medium you want to use, that’s enough. This program will teach you the skills you need, and we have a supportive, mentoring community here. What you get out of the program will be dependent on how much passion you have for the idea of making your own film. Because it’s not an easy thing to do. I think Paul Pope said at the Women’s Film Festival one year that it’s a miracle that any film ever gets made. That’s true: it takes a lot of energy and it takes a lot of dedication. So, I would say that if you have that and you really feel that film is the best way to tell your story, then you need to have that drive.

A film needs a lot of people coming together, it’s a lot of organization — it really is a little miracle.

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By Posted on: Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

A happy coincidence and a happy filmmmaker: meet Tamara Segura

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This past July, the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival put out a call for submissions for the 2014 RBC Michelle Jackson Emerging Filmmaker Award.

This past July also happened to be filmmaker Tamara Segura’s twelfth month living in Newfoundland.

Tamara grew up in Cuba and came to Canada in 2010 on an exchange. During that time, she decided to become a permanent resident, which meant applying for political asylum. It’s a complicated and agonizing process. For a while, she wasn’t a resident of any country at all, and she was unable to apply for funding to make films or even legally have a job.

So her one-year anniversary in Newfoundland was a big deal — it qualified her to apply for the RBC MJ Award. She applied with a script for a short film called “Before The War.”

We were SO excited to tell her she’d won.

I caught up with Tamara to get her whole story and to talk to her about “Before The War.” There is a salsa dance party fundraiser for her film this Saturday, at Turkey Joe’s, beginning at 7pm.

How did you get into making movies?
I got into the film industry by accident.

When I was 17, I was in high school, and it was a science high school. I’m from a province in Cuba where there isn’t much cultural life, so I never knew anything about film, or arts in general, but I used to read a lot, and I always knew that I wanted to be involved with the arts. I thought that I would be a journalist. But when the time came, I didn’t pass that exam.

A few months later, they opened a new career option, and they called it Audio-Visual Media. I didn’t know what it was about, but I knew it was related to the arts. I did the test, I passed, and all of a sudden I was studying film, but I didn’t know anything about film. I had been in the cinema there maybe three or four times in my life. But I realized that I loved it.

So you’re in Cuba, doing this program, and what happened?
I started at the university for radio, television and film. I started to do my work in the school and tried to do things on my own. It’s very hard because we didn’t have the resources: you can have a lot of ideas and write scripts but you find yourself stuck because we don’t have the ways to produce movies, so it’s very hard. It’s very controlled by the authorities, they make sure that you talk about things that are politically correct.

But in Cuba, we also have the International School of Film and Television, which was created by Gabriel Garcia Marquez in 1986. It’s amazing, it’s totally incredible — in Cuban society it’s totally different.

And it’s not controlled by the government?
No. It’s a private school, but since it’s in the Cuban territory, Cuban students are allowed to study there without paying.

Did you go there?
Yes.

So you got to do your own thing, for real.
Yes, when I was in the fourth year of university, I passed the exams for the international school and I went there for three years.

Wow, was that amazing?
Yes, it was, it was very important, it was a turning point in my life.

It must have felt so different to have all that freedom.
It was so different. And the most exciting thing was knowing people from all over the world out of a political context. We were filmmakers. From Guatemala, Spain, all over the world. That was very inspiring.

Tell me about some of the projects you worked on there.
In that school, I was studying screenwriting. I wasn’t being a director at the time, which was a very good thing because it gave me a good complement. I wrote screenplays for my classmates, that’s the way we worked, and also two documentaries.

So, you’re at this school, and then what happened, did you come here?
This school had a program with an exchange with different schools around the world and one of them is Concordia University and I got that scholarship — I was like, wow, this can’t be happening — and that’s how I came here. My school applied on my behalf to the government, so I got permission to get out of the island. And I never went back.

I imagine you had family in Cuba, and you had to decide to leave all of them. That must have been awful.
It was terrible. When I left them, I was just leaving for six months and they were expecting me to go back. My family is also very engaged in the revolution. Just my mom knows my situation, the rest of my family thinks that I am studying.

It was very hard living here [in Canada, in Montreal], I was alone, and I didn’t speak any English or French. I met a classmate at Concordia, from Brazil, and she was my support through the process. I went through it, and for some reason I just blocked some periods of that because I think it was so hard.

How did you wind up in Newfoundland?
That’s another funny story. When I finished at Concordia and I had no more support from anybody, the money was gone, I wasn’t part of anything, I was on my own. I started volunteering and really pushing myself hard to not abandon filmmaking, but it was very very hard. It’s a hard world, there is a lot of ego, and when you are an immigrant and you don’t know many people, it’s very hard. So after a year and a half, I realized that it was almost impossible. In order to be a filmmaker there, I needed to learn two different languages, there was a lot of competition, there are four different film schools in Montreal, it was very, very hard. I would work wherever I could to make a little bit of money. I had a friend in Newfoundland who is from Cuba, and she wanted to produce a film. She asked me to come over and help her with the screenplay for two months. My husband and I, we talked and thought, well, there is nothing in Montreal to make me stay there, Montreal is kicking me out, so let’s try in a different place and see how it goes. So we came, initially it was for two months, but I found a job with the NFB. Then I moved to St. John’s because I was living in Mount Pearl, and I knew that I never wanted to go back to Montreal. So I moved to Newfoundland in June of 2012.

Tell me about your film, “Before The War.” It’s about a family torn apart when the father returns from war.
It’s one of those ideas that’s always in your mind, but you know it’s not the time to tell the story — you are not prepared emotionally so you postpone the idea. But after three years in Canada and after going through many hard moments, I felt I was mature enough to talk about these things. The story is not exactly autobiographical, but it has a lot of me in the story. My father went to war, and there are a lot of images and feeling from there in the story. I missed my family so much at that point, I wanted to talk about them, I wanted to talk about my family. And when I started learning how to drive, I used to go around the island and the landscape is so expressive. It gave me that idea of love and hate because it’s beautiful, but it’s cold and you can’t fully enjoy it — it’s very ambivalent what it provokes in you. But I knew that was a moment, that was a moment, even though it was hard to put all that out.

But you did, and it’s awesome! And you’re going to make this movie.
Yeah! It’s the right moment, I feel prepared and I feel like the environment is very supportive.

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By Posted on: Sunday, September 1st, 2013

Stephen Dunn’s done it again

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For the second year in a row, there’s a Newfoundland filmmaker in the final round of the CBC Short Film Face Off.

Ka-pow.

Stephen Dunn’s “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me,” a warm, charming film about a young girl coming of age while under the custody of her eccentric grandfather, played by Gordon Pinsent, and his pet pug, King Henry, is up for the $40,000 top prize. The film has won numerous awards, including the Best Live Action Film Student Showcase Award at TIFF, the Student Visionary Award at Tribeca, and the Arte Film Prize at the Munich International Film Festival.

Last year, Jordan Canning’s brilliant stop-motion animation film “Not Over Easy” was in the finals.

The winner of the Short Film Face Off is determined by a public vote, which is presently underway. So head on over to the CBC Short Film Face Off website and click in your vote for “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me,” and tell all your friends to do the same. Each IP address gets five votes, and voting closes in just a few hours.

If he wins, Dunn plans to use the prize money to make his very first feature film, “Closet Monster.” In the meantime, his latest short film, “We Wanted More,” makes its world premiere at TIFF this September.

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By Posted on: Thursday, July 11th, 2013

That’s a wrap on FRAMED Drama!

For the past four days, a team of mighty St. John’s high school students have been hard at work with mentor Jackie Hynes making a short film. They wrapped yesterday and are now upstairs in the editing suite learning Final Cut on our fancy new computers.

Not a bad way to spend a few days, eh? Here are some shots from their adventures.

Art. Dept.

Learning

Focused

Group-cast and crew

Their as-yet-unnamed film will premiere at this year’s St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival, which runs from October 22 to 26.

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By Posted on: Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

RBC MJ Award on two square feet

Tonight, at opening night of the Nickel Film Festival, you’ll be able to see Ruth Lawrence’s warm, quirky, Jeanne Beker-led film, “Two Square Feet.”

It’s a wonderful film, and it has a special place in our hearts here at the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival.

Ruth made the film with the RBC Michelle Jackson Emerging Filmmaker Award, founded in 2010 in honour of St. John’s filmmaker and mentor Michelle Jackson.

It’s neat timing, too, because the 2013 RBC Michelle Jackson Emerging Filmmaker Award is now open for submissions. Any emerging female filmmakers residing in Newfoundland and Labrador who have not yet directed a feature film are encouraged to apply.

You can find all the details, regulations and application forms here.

In the meantime, check out these stills and shots from the set of Jackie Hynes’ 2012 RBC MJ Award-winning film, “The Passenger.” This haunting tale of a woman forced to unload her baggage will premiere at this year’s St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival.

Perhaps it will follow in “Two Square Feet’s” two square feet and open the next Nickel, too.

The following stills were taken by Victoria Wells.

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By Posted on: Monday, March 11th, 2013

Louise Moyes contributing to RBC Michelle Jackson Emerging Filmmaker Award

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Do you know people so incredibly smart and creative that, every once in a while, you do a double-take and think, “Holy crap, I can’t believe this is someone I wave to on the street?”

Louise Moyes is one of those people for me. Seriously, she combines dance and documentary filmmaking (what?) to create these rich, beautiful shows about women and feminism and life and love (WHAT?).

She’s amazing. And brilliant. And it’s always enlightening to talk to her.

Lucky for me, there’s a good reason to interview her: Moyes has a new show opening at the Hall on March 6th called Moore-Gallant: A Docudance. She acts out a short story by Lisa Moore, via dance and storytelling, and then she uses three shorts films and dance to tell one of Mavis Gallant’s short stories.

She’s also going to donate proceeds from her opening night performance to the RBC Michelle Jackson Emerging Filmmaker Award. Jackie Hynes, this year’s RBC MJAward winner, will read from her script before the performance starts. Moyes also has Elisabeth de Mariaffi reading on the 7th, Sara Tilley reading on the 8th, and Wanda Nolan reading on the 9th.

I caught up with Louise to hear more.

How is all the preparation for your show going?
It’s going well, I’m at the point now that I’m really looking forward to getting in the theatre because then that conversation happens with the audience. I’m working with several different directors and outside eyes and that is a delicious relationship, but I’m looking forward to telling stories.

I just read an article about Mavis Gallant in the New Yorker, where they printed excerpts from her diary from when she was living in Paris and had no money and was so hungry, waiting desperately for this cheque to arrive from having one of her stories published.
Yeah, she was a pre-feminist feminist, she was a journalist in Montreal and she wrote short stories and she said I’m moving to Paris and I’m going to starve if I have to. She was literally starving.

She was, yeah!
And she had one of her stories published in the New Yorker and her agent had been trying to hide the fact that she’d been published and the money. So, and apparently, she has lived from her writing ever since and been the most published woman of any genre in the New Yorker.

And that’s an impressive feat.
Isn’t it?

How did you get into her?
You know, the book I have, I got at Afterwords for two dollars a long time ago.

Note the importance of the independent used book store, everybody.
[laughing] And I did English Lit at University, Canadian Lit with Noreen [Golfman]. And I was having an interesting chat with Noreen a few weeks ago and she was saying that as a young prof, it was challenging to try to present Mavis because she is so complex. We were talking about how she is so good at portraying, in very subtle ways, self deception. As a younger person, when I was 19 or 20 reading the stories, I didn’t know what self deception was, I was trying to understand myself. Now that I’ve been reading her for over 20 years, and the emotional layers of her stories become more and more revealed to me as I get older, I don’t think I understand her fully yet. But this project helps me understand her more.

Why do you think self deception in particular intrigued you?
It’s not a topic I often deal with in my shows, I tend to focus on the light and people actually gaining self-knowledge, I think. So, it’s a darker look at humans than I often take. I think we want to understand the light and the dark. And she’s got a good sense of humour about it, too. That is a lovely thing about her, is that while her characters aren’t always aware of everything she’s revealing about them, she does it with a sense of humour.

So how do you express all this through dance? How do you express Mavis and self deception and her humour through dance?

This is both dance and theatre. This story is a love triangle and it’s a series of four short stories that are connected. This man is in love with two very different women, one very exotic and very voluptuous, the other quite prim and conservative, but both equally passionate in their way. So I play the prim wife on stage, and Lisa Porter is the other woman. [Lisa Porter is shown in three short films, directed by Moyes and shot by Paul Pope. - ed]

Some sections are overt theatre where I play a character; I play the man on stage, in a theatrical way.

I would say, for the dance — I think it’s the movement that really helps me get to the layers of emotion and the self deception, it’s the body language, it’s the things that aren’t said.

Can you tell me a bit about those movements?
We set it up so that there is a prelude where I do Juliette’s Dance — she is the prim wife — to music by Duane Andrews. His music is throughout the piece, he was natural partner to work with on the composition side because his music is half Parisian. We’re working with some of the pieces he has already made and the kernel of the story he scored like a film score, so he put in sound effects and also music. And one of the pieces he had already made, called D.D.’s Blues, we use as a prologue. So, we see the movement and the emotion of Juliette and then those movements are repeated in the story and are familiar to the audience — that is the hope, anyway, that they will connect and say ‘Oh, I saw that movement before, and that’s what this movement means now.’” That they’ll connect the movement and the word.

Okay, so this is an exploration of Gallant’s work and also of Lisa Moore? How does she fit in?
I had read a story of Lisa Moore’s in a magazine that reminded me of Mavis Gallant’s work. And I had known for a while that I wanted to work with Mavis Gallant’s story, but that I needed something to balance it, and one afternoon I was in studio rehearsing to some Parisian-style music and the idea just balanced it, it was like the right hand and the left hand. I asked Lisa and she was thrilled — I hadn’t realized that Mavis is her short story heroine and when Lisa teaches writing at MUN, she works with Mavis as an example of superior short story writing style, and that she defended Mavis Gallant in Canada Reads. And Gallant has actually written to Lisa, through her agent, to say that she admired her work.

Wow!
Yeah, that was a really nice full circle.

So, I left a message for Lisa and she called me back, laughing, saying you won’t believe, but the Walrus magazine just phoned me and said they were reprinting a verbatim conversation from Canada Reads, which is people of all different backgrounds, and apparently there was one fella on the jury who was saying that he couldn’t read Mavis Gallant because she is too old-fashioned. Lisa said she lept across the table and pointed at him and said, “You are a lazy reader!” And the Walrus thought it was a wonderful thing, and reprinted it. So it was a lot of great happenstance.

So, when all the funding was in place, she and I met in my kitchen and she gave me a brand new story and she said, ‘I think this is a really good visual story to work with.’ And it is, I’m so happy to work with it. It’s layered in a different way than the Gallant is, this one is more layered in its ideas. It’s about a gorilla escaping from a zoo and it’s about when man and animal meet. It’s also about self deception, and there are some interesting ideas about the character’s place in the world. There are philosophical ideas, there’s biological study and there’s the emotional life of this main character, Harry.

Do you do the Gallant story first?
No, I do the Lisa Moore story first, because it’s a shorter presentation and it’s more focused. It’s really sculptural, it’s just one pool of light, and me — it’s a lot of limbs and legs, and a fake fur coat and piece of plexiglass. I learned the whole story verbatim and I’m telling the whole story, kind of like contemporary story telling.

Is there a film accompanying this one?
Nope, just a little bit of music. I think it will be a complete contrast in a satisfying way.

The evening will open with a writer, so that will set the tone of the evening. As you know, the Michelle Jackson night, March 6, Jackie Hynes will read from her screenplay, and short story writers will read on the other nights.

Tell me a bit about why you decided to donate to the RBC Michelle Jackson Emerging Filmmaker Award.
Michelle made a short film for a show that I do called Florence, and I had been doing this show this spring, so Michelle has been with me. And I love the community aspect of performing, I’m a solo performer but I’m very social and also we come from a community that does work interdisciplinarily and works together, so because there’s film in the show, too, I wanted to embrace the film community in some way and I think the award is a very important award.

Moore-Gallant: A Docudance opens on March 6th at the LSPU Hall and runs until March 9th. Tickets are available at the RCA Box Office or at the Hall.

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