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Home > Festivals & Events > Café Ex 2010-2011 > In Between: The Video-Films of Penny McCann
In Between: The Video-Films of Penny McCann
dir. Penny McCann
Canada, 120 minutes

Café Ex 2010-2011
Club SAW, Thursday, October 28, 2010, 7:30 pm
Penny McCann’s is a cinema of watching and waiting; not waiting in a single spot or a securely defined topos, however, but a space – or spacing – in between, where to watch and wait, in fact, is to move.  In dialogue with other experimental autobiographical-travelogue filmmakers such as Philip Hoffman, Clive Holden and Nikki Forrest, McCann’s experimental work often takes the form of a kind of indefinite journey, where landscapes of memory and dream track across the frame in flashes of light and colour.  The horizon is a central visual and conceptual trope, suggesting at once the projection of a sublime destination and an impossible experience of time and memory fulfilled.  Reinforcing and embodying this between-ness, McCann’s work combines multiple formats and textures (High 8, Super 8, 16mm, video, miniDV) to register shifts in perspective and subjectivity, triggering different affects, moods and epistemologies.  In McCann’s work the intertwined processes of remembering and forgetting pertain at once to the question of finding a place, a home, in the future as well as the past at the same time as “acknowledging an irrational, inexplicable world,” as the artist puts it.  These themes also find articulation in the artist’s dramatic works, often based on Maritime folktales, where, performatively, “the tale takes place in the telling.”

Scott Birdwise

This Café EX presentation brings together a selection of Penny McCann’s work in both experimental and dramatic modes, with a focus on her newly completed – and ten years in the making – video essay, In Between (remembering and forgetting).  Works to be shown: THE SISTERS (1993), MARSHLANDS (2000), and HELPLESS (2001); as well as suites of In Between, including: GROSSE ISLE; FOLEY MOUNTAIN; LOT 22, CONCESSION 5; QUEEN OF THE SEAS; TOURIST OF MEMORY; TRACES (IN 3 PARTS); LAKE ONTARIO (IN MY HEAD); and AWAY FOR CHRISTMAS.

Since beginning to make films and videos in 1990, Penny McCann has received numerous grants for her work, most recently from the Ontario Arts Council, the City of Ottawa, and Bravo!FACT. A long-time member of SAW Video, Penny became director in January 2004. In 2007, in recognition of her contribution to the Ottawa media arts community, she was awarded the Victor Tolgesy Award for achievement in the arts.  Penny attended Philip Hoffman’s Independent Imaging Retreat in 2008 and 2010.

Penny McCann will be in attendance to introduce and discuss her work.

In Between: The Video-Films of Penny McCann

2000 / experimental / 6:07 / BetacamSP
A psychic’s prediction of impending disaster underlies this experimental mediation set the marshes of Sackville, New Brunswick.  Shot on Super 8, 16mm and video, MARSHLANDS moves elliptically from a present steeped in memory to an uncertain future.

1993 / drama / 17:45 / BetacamSP
Etched on a gravestone are the stark facts: three sisters who drowned on the same summer day in 1917.  A haunting drama about the events leading up their deaths.

2001 / drama / 21:40 / 16mm to BetacamSP
Based on a folktale from the work of Maritime folklorist Helen Creighton, HELPLESS is set in a fogbound world of superstition and magic.  When a strange and terrifying illness befalls Walton Collins’ son, the fisherman turns to a mysterious stranger with elemental powers to heal the helpless boy.

----- INTERMISSION -----

In Between (remembering and forgetting)
2010 | 38:30 min | DVcam | stereo

A video essay composed of nine film and video chapters made between 2004 and 2010, In Between (remembering and forgetting) journeys through an abstract and poetic landscape demarcated by half-glimpsed memories and fragments of the past. Using multiple film and video formats and a fluid episodic structure, the work expands beyond the personal to create an enigmatic piece where the viewer's own experiences and memories resonate. The result is a sustained poetic meditation on family, place and time.

The nine chapters of In Between (remembering andforgetting: Grosse Isle; FoleyMountain; Lot 22, Concession 5; Queen ofthe Seas; Going Back to Shire; Tourist ofMemory; Traces in 3 Parts; Lake Ontario(in my head), and Away for Christmas.