2009 Canadian Art Reel Artists Film Festival

The sixth annual Canadian Art Reel Artists Film Festival, held in Toronto from February 26 to March 1, 2009, features 14 films on internationally renowned artists.


The 6th annual Reel Artists Film Festival showcases two world premieres and five Canadian premieres, and a free day of films for students on Friday, February 27, 2009. The films are The Universe of Keith Haring, an in-depth look at the pioneering graffiti and drawing artist; General Idea: Art, AIDS and the fin de siècle, on the legendary Toronto art collective; and Our City Dreams, by young filmmaker Chiara Clemente about five women artists: Swoon, Ghada Amer, Kiki Smith, Marina Abramovic and Nancy Spero.


Other festival highlights include the world premiere of Michael Blackwood’s Georg Baselitz: Making Art After Auschwitz and Dresden. Over the course of his 50-year career, Baselitz has created imagery that deals unflinchingly with his position as a postwar artist. In the fall of 2007, a retrospective exhibition of his work opened at London’s Royal Academy of Arts curated by Norman Rosenthal, who had first exhibited paintings by Baselitz in the early 1970s. In this film, Baselitz and Rosenthal tour the exhibition discussing the paintings and sculptures, the artist’s beginnings and progress. In the course of their conversations during the walk-through, Baselitz’s struggle to find a way to make art in Germany in the post–World War II era becomes evident.


Julien Devaux’s Wide Details: On the Traces of Francis Alÿs explores the work of this contemporary Belgian artist – a painter, videomaker and urban interventionist all rolled into one. A resident of Mexico City for more than 15 years, the city has played an important role in Alÿs’s artistic practice, which often examines the act of walking through an urban environment. Devaux delves into Alÿs’s unique and poetic work, focusing particularly on the artist’s relationship to the city he inhabits.


Isaac Julien’s film on his friend, artist/filmmaker Derek Jarman, is a moving collage of rare home movies, film clips and interviews, as well as a cinematic loveletter from actress Tilda Swinton written a decade after Jarman’s death. The film tells the story of Jarman’s life and chronicles everyday England from the 1960s to the early 1990s. It also includes clips of Jarman’s feature-length and Super-8 films. Swinton’s input serves as the poetic overlay, telling the whole truth about the life Jarman led and the cultural abyss left by his absence.


Filmed over several months, Antony Gormley: Making Space is an intimate portrait of one of Britain’s most celebrated sculptors, as he prepares for a major exhibition. The film follows Gormley as he makes three ambitious new works and shows how he produces his art – from casting moulds of his own body to collaborating with makers and eventual installation in the gallery. Exploring both the premise of his sculptures and the ups and downs of the creative journey, Making Space gradually builds a picture of both the pressures and the compulsions that lie behind Gormley’s work.


Also included is the Canadian premiere of Herb and Dorothy, a documentary by Megumi Sasaki about a postal clerk and a librarian who built one of the most important contemporary art collections in history. This film launches the festival on Thursday, February 26, 2009 with an opening night screening and celebration at 7:30pm in Baillie Court at the Art Gallery of Ontario. The subjects of the film – Herb and Dorothy Vogel, along with director Megumi Sasaki and associate producer Takeshi Yamasaki will be in attendance. The screening will be followed by a celebration with delicious food from Anne Yarymowich, executive chef at the AGO’s Frank restaurant. Tickets are $150 in advance only: please call 416.368.8854 x102 or visit www.canadianart.ca/reelartists/tickets.


All other screenings take place at the Al Green Theatre, Miles Nadal JCC, 750 Spadina Avenue

(at Bloor Street), Toronto. General admission tickets are $10 in advance, and festival passes are $65 in advance. Rush tickets, if available, are $12 ($7 for students/seniors with valid ID) 15 minutes prior to each screening. Order tickets online at www.canadianart.ca/REELARTISTS/tickets

or call 416.368.8854 x102.


The Canadian Art Reel Artists Film festival is a project of the Canadian Art Foundation, a charitable organization established to foster and support the visual arts in Canada. The foundation celebrates artists and their creativity with a nationwide educational program of events, lectures, competitions, publications and other initiatives.