Experimental, low-fidelity cinema

Open City Cinema presents: Basement Media Fest

On Tuesday, Sept. 3, Winnipeg’s Raw Gallery will be hosting the Basement Media Fest, a screening event showcasing experimental, low-fidelity cinema. The annual show, which was first conceived in 2010 by LJ Frezza and Nicholas Tamburo of Brooklyn, NY, is a travelling program of experimental cinema. Basement #3—the current iteration of the festival—has so far played in New York and Baltimore, Maryland and will be showing in Boston after its stop in Winnipeg.

Open City Cinema is a collective aiming to introduce Winnipeg to experimental and underground cinema, with an emphasis on showcasing local artists. In June of this year, Open City Cinema screened the first Winnipeg Underground Film Festival, and more recently began a screening series called Open City Lite, featuring “debatable classics that are unintentionally watchable based almost entirely [on] how bad they are.” Basement Media Fest continues the focus on experimental cinema and features work from local artists Clint Enns and Scott Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick is part of Open City Cinema, and is involved in organizing the event. His piece for Basement Media Fest is “an ode to a misunderstood font” entitled Wingdings Love Letter. The film was made in Microsoft paint and animated by printing directly onto 16mm film.

Enns’ films, which are often created using broken or outdated technology, have been shown at festivals and microcinemas in Canada and internationally. His piece for Basement Media Fest, entitled Ten S-K-I-E-S, was made by doctoring director James Benning’s 2004 film, Ten Skies. The original film contains only ten 10-minute shots of sky edited together, while Enns’ version removes the portions containing sky, “leaving nothing but clouds.”

The 10 films featured in Basement Media Fest are described as “low-fi, low-def, low-tech.” Several found-footage films will be making use of source materials as diverse as home movies, archival footage, old 16mm film scraps, and recent Hollywood blockbusters. Other films in the festival use analog techniques and repurpose outdated or easily accessible technologies.

I Can’t Wait to Meet You There, by Texas-based Michael A. Morris, combines footage of Kurt Cobain with images from a guitar-playing video game to create an elegy for the deceased musician and a comment on public mourning. Another piece, from Toronto’s Christine Lucy Latimer, is made using specialized analog techniques, by projecting found film footage through a broken glass plate and recording the projection using two video cameras. The film, titled The Pool, shows 1950s footage of swimmers diving into “video-infested waters.” Live Free or Die Hard (Project 12 8/12) by Dirian Lyons repurposes recent footage by inserting statements from President Barack Obama into the fictional presidential montage from the 2007 Hollywood film of the same name.

Other artists showcased in the event include Vancouver-based Josh Hite, Alan Riley, Jon Perez, Ohio-based Jonathan Johnson, and Paul Turano.

The films being showcased through Basement Media Fest use accessible technologies to create works of experimental art, with tongue-in-cheek nostalgia and a do-it-yourself approach to filmmaking.


Basement Media Fest will be showing at the Raw Gallery at 290 McDermot Ave on Sept. 3. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.