February 11, 2013
by Canadian Architect
The 10th annual Reel Artists Film Festival (RAFF), which takes place from February 20 to 24, 2013, presents a selection of international feature-length and short documentaries that address challenges and questions raised by artists both in front of and behind the camera. Through these films, subjects are revealed, experimental processes unfold, and events are staged. It is with these three categories in mind – subject, process, event – that we celebrate RAFF’s anniversary and anticipate its future.
The opening night screening and celebration on February 20 revisits the legendary art collectors Herbert and Dorothy Vogel in a special excerpted version of Megumi Sasaki’s new film HERB & DOROTHY 50X50. Next in the program is Jef Cornelis’s Documenta 5 from 1972, a film essay covering this seminal event in contemporary art history, which gave new perspective on the idea of exhibition as spectacle.
In line with RAFF’s tradition of presenting films that document the lives and works of contemporary artists, 2013’s lineup offers a glimpse into the complex personalities of, among others, David Altmejd, Valérie Blass, Damien Hirst and Mickalene Thomas. These films reveal the singular inspirations, experiments and techniques of some of the world’s most compelling artists.
Contemporary art practices often transcend cultural and disciplinary boundaries, forging new relationships between objects and subjects, spaces and times. Artists who play with the idea of documentary show how cross-disciplinary connections can revitalize the medium, reigniting its creative potential. Simon Starling does this engagingly in two RAFF offerings, Black Drop and Project for a Masquerade (Hiroshima).
Like contemporary art, the documentary presents, constructs and reshapes reality – the very meaning of which changes through our encounter with it. In this way, a documentary can be a work of art. Films such as Picasso in Palestine, Tea and Somewhere to Disappear tell us about actual events, and provide an aesthetic perspective through which to view them. The film itself becomes the event.
These films will be presented alongside a special program of talks by international and local filmmakers, artists, curators, critics and collectors that will generate an expanded public engagement with 21st-century art and artists.
For more information, please visit www.canadianart.ca/raff and to purchase tickets, please visit www.canadianart.ca/raff/tickets.
still from beginnings: mickalene thomas courtesy di san luca films