The fifth annual Gimme Some Truth Documentary Festival, hosted by the Winnipeg Film Group, will run from Mar. 14 until 17 at the Cinematheque; the festival will be showcasing a series of screenings from some of the most innovative filmmakers in recent years.
There will also be panel discussions, master classes led by visiting filmmakers, and networking event opportunities. The festival strives to highlight the work of both local and international artists alike, and acts as a public forum for discussing the art of the documentary.
“Let’s be honest – we’re stuck in the middle of Canada with no ‘big’ film festival. We’re trying to rectify that by bringing in some of the most exciting filmmakers in the documentary genre and at the same time celebrate the incredible community of filmmaking in Winnipeg,” says festival producer Jaimz Asmundson of the Winnipeg Film Group.
“I think it’s evident from the programming this year that documentary film is not synonymous with ‘after school special’ conventional storytelling. We have some very innovative storytellers in town this year that are pushing the medium to the limit.”
Visiting music documentary filmmakers Sam Dunn and Scott MacFadyen will be opening up this year’s festival with Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey. The film follows Dunn as he explores heavy metal culture in Europe and North America and contemplates the stereotypes associated with the genre. Dunn and MacFadyen are known for making documentaries on the heavy metal genre and have even filmed for the likes of metal rocker legends Iron Maiden and Alice Cooper. In addition to featuring their films, they will also be hosting a master class on their approach to the music documentary.
Jonathan Caouette’s documentaries, Tarnation and Walk Away Renee, will also be featured during the festival and he will play host to another master class. Caouette is internationally known for entrenching his documentaries with highly personal elements and chronicling his dysfunctional childhood and the teeter-totter relationship between him and his mother. Caouette’s class will be focusing on his approach to personal documentary filmmaking.
Many of the screenings lined up at Gimme Some Truth come from some of the city’s great local talent – University of Manitoba alumni Stéphane Oystryk is one filmmaker among them. Most documentaries on musicians tend to be made after they’ve hit it big, but his documentary Alors, t’as soif de quoi? (avec Mahogany Frog) drives the gears in reverse. Following the daily lives of local band Mahogany Frog, the documentary tells the story of a band with a day job that continues to make music that they’re passionate about, despite the lack of mainstream acceptance.
The closing screening of the festival, Dollar Store Dreams: The Films of Mike Maryniuk, will be featuring a compilation of Maryniuk’s short films. Maryniuk has been lauded for his unique take on the art of film documentary. His hybrid experimental style mixes bits of animation into traditional documentary.
“I kinda make these celebration documentaries, as opposed to explanation documentaries,” says Maryniuk. “It’s less about telling the story in kind of a linear fashion, and more about celebrating certain aspects about the person and kind of creating an experience as opposed to creating a narrative of events.”
Maryniuk says he also infuses his works with humour.
“I want people to enjoy the experience. I want people to kind of want to learn more about these people or this place afterwards and so humour is one way of getting those things across.”
Gimme Some Truth doesn’t just celebrate the art of documentary filmmaking; it also honours the power of storytelling and its ability to enrich the public.
“Documentary is a really important cultural and social tool. I mean, it can change the world,” says Maryniuk. “It has changed the world. [But] it can also be just purely entertaining and remind us of who we are as Winnipeggers, as Canadians, as fans of a certain genre of music, or just as humans.”
For a list of the full program screenings, visit gimmesometruth.ca/program-2013.