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Home > Festivals & Events > Café Ex 2010-2011 > Testing Screen: Films by Chris Gehman
Testing Screen: Films by Chris Gehman
dir. Chris Gehman
Canada, 120 minutes

Café Ex 2010-2011
Club SAW, Friday, November 19, 2010, 7:30 pm
"The seventh gate is the gate of projection, which will take off all veils that have been upon the most Holy place, where we may enter, as all knowing in wisdom’s mysteries and wonders." 
– from Contrafacta 

Chris Gehman has been involved in experimental filmmaking, exhibition, criticism and advocacy for over 20 years. Although most of his time in the field has been devoted to work as a curator, organizer, editor and critic, he has occasionally found the time to make an actual film; this survey of several of Gehman’s films (on super-8mm, 16mm and 35mm) is the first program ever devoted solely to his work. He tends to approach each film as a unique object exploring a particular set of ideas, images and methods, rather than as one example of a consistent style; he has always resisted the idea that an artist must repeat and refine the same basic idea over and over. His films play with images, symbols and sometimes with narrative, as well as with the mechanics and structures of filmmaking, and behind their experimentalism lies a mischievous sense of humour. Many of his films use some form of frame-by-frame construction, but only a few of them would usually be described as "animation": the trilogy of 16mm collage films First Dispatch from Atlantis (1993), Non-Zymase Pentathlon (1996) and Contrafacta (2000). (The latter two were co-directed with the late Roberto Ariganello.) In Cityscrape (1987, super-8mm), for example, he creates rapidly shifting overall textures within static compositions by shooting architectural surfaces one frame at a time. Refraction Series (2008, 35mm) uses the optical printer to recombine, slow, reverse and layer experimental footage shot in the studio on 16mm Kodachrome film; it attempts to get “inside” such fundamental optical phenomena as refraction and diffraction. In Rostrum Press: Materials Testing (2008), Gehman turns the 16mm Oxberry animation camera (at which he has spent hundreds of hours working) into a mechanism of destruction.

Chris Gehman is an independent filmmaker, curator and critic based in Toronto. His films have screened at venues across Canada and in the USA, Europe and Asia, including Anthology Film Archives, Semana de Cine Experimental (Madrid), EXiS (Seoul), the Toronto International Film Festival and Ottawa International Animation Festival. From 2000 to 2004, he was Artistic Director of the Images Festival (Toronto), and he has also worked as a programmer for Cinematheque Ontario and the Toronto International Film Festival. As an independent programmer he has curated events for Image Forum (Tokyo), the Ann Arbor Film Festival (Michigan), Winnipeg Film Group and others. His writings on film and media have appeared in periodicals such as Cinema Scope, Millennium Film Journal, Take One and Fuse, as well as anthologies on the films of Philip Hoffman and John Porter, and he is the author of the catalogue Japan Focus: Japanese Independent Film and Video Today (2001). In collaboration with Steve Reinke, he edited the anthology The Sharpest Point: Animation at the End of Cinema (YYZ Books, 2005). Chris received an MFA from the Film Department at York University in 2009, and also holds a BAA with Honours in Media Arts from Ryerson University.

Chris Gehman will be in attendance to introduce and discuss his work.