Delve inside the captivating and visionary world of top visual artists at the Reel Artists Film Festival

The eighth annual Canadian Art Reel Artists Film Festival has grown in 2011 to include four days of documentary films on top contemporary art and artists, including world, North American and Canadian premieres, screening for the first time at Toronto’s TIFF Bell Lightbox. This year’s opening night screening is the world premiere of KOOP, Katherine Knight’s highly anticipated documentary which explores the science of vision, colour and creative perception through the imagination of acclaimed Canadian painter Wanda Koop.

Taking place in Toronto from February 23-27, 2011, the festival showcases 17 films on the world’s top contemporary visual artists. Members of the Toronto art community will introduce the films, directors will hold post-screening Q&As, and there will be a free day of films for students on Friday, February 25, 2011

The festival presents the world premiere of Picture Start, which documents how a small group of artists, including Jeff Wall, Rodney Graham and Ian Wallace put Vancouver at the leading edge of contemporary art. The world premiere of Nam June Paik: Open Your Eyes showcases the work of the Korean-born media artist, one of the most influential of the 20th century, and is introduced by Heather Keung of the Reel Asian International Film Festival. Curator Nancy Campbell introduces Ai Weiwei: Sunflower Seeds, in its North American premiere. The film documents the production of the controversial Chinese artist’s installation of millions of porcelain seeds at the Tate Modern last fall.

The festival’s seven Canadian premieres include William Kentridge: Anything is Possible, about Kentridge’s preparations as director and set designer for the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Shostakovitch’s The Nose. The film is introduced by Alexander Neef, Director of the Canadian Opera Company. The spectacular visual experiments of the famed Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson are the subject of Notion Motion – Olafur Eliasson, and Mexican artist Damián Ortega’s DIY aesthetic is showcased in Damián Ortega: Do It Yourself, both introduced by curator Catherine Dean. Sol LeWitt: Wall Drawings, on the minimalist master, will be followed by a conversation between director Edgar B. Howard and Sarah Robayo Sheridan, co-director of Mercer Union – A Centre for Contemporary Art. Critic Sarah Milroy introduces the Canadian premiere of The Colour of your Socks: A Year with Pipilotti Rist, which sheds light on the creative process of the Swiss artist. This Not That: The Artist John Baldessari, an intimate portrait of the renowned American artist, is introduced by artist Lisa Steele, while AGO curator Sophie Hackett introduces Andreas Gursky: Long Shot Close Up, an insightful glimpse into this lauded photographer’s creative and technical processes.

Other festival highlights include Aakideh: The Art & Legacy of Carl Beam; Ghost Noise, which visits the magical world of Inuit artist Shuvinai Ashoona and is introduced by Nancy Campbell; and – straight from screenings at the Louvre and Tate Modern – About Jenny Holzer, which follows the artist renowned for her striking LED signs and billboards, and is introduced by artist Joanna Householder. The Possible Lives of Christian Boltanski is introduced by artist Sara Angelucci and The World According to Ion B., a moving journey into the world of self-taught Romanian artist and drifter Iaon Barladeanu, is introduced by Canadian Art assistant editor David Balzer. Finally, China, the Empire of Art? tracks China’s rise as the third largest art market in the world, and is introduced by University of Toronto assistant professor Yi Gu.

The Canadian Art Reel Artists Film Festival’s opening night screening is KOOP, a film by Katharine Knight that joins Canadian painter Wanda Koop, whom the Toronto Star’s Murray Whyte calls “a creative force,” aboard a freighter and in her Winnipeg studio as she prepares for two, 25-year career retrospective exhibitions at the Winnipeg and National Art Galleries. The opening-night screening and celebration will be held at the Royal Conservatory, TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning, Koerner Hall.

“With our move to the new TIFF Bell Lightbox, we are thrilled to present more films than ever to our growing audience,” says festival organizer and Canadian Art Foundation executive director Ann Webb. “And we are especially pleased to be able to present some of the most current films available about some of the most important visual artists of our time.”

The festival is generously presented by RBC Wealth Management. “RBC believes in the power of the arts to enrich lives and enhance communities,” says Tamarie Dobias, Director, Wealth Management Brand and Marketing at RBC Wealth Management. “We are proud to sponsor the Reel Artists Film Festival as it offers audiences a unique opportunity to explore and learn about the visual arts, while showcasing the exemplary talent of Canadian artists and filmmakers.”

The festival launches on Wednesday, February 23, 2011, with an opening night screening and celebration at the Royal Conservatory, TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning, Koerner Hall, located at 273 Bloor Street West in Toronto. The world premiere of KOOP is at 7:00pm sharp in Koerner Hall.

There will be a post-screening Q&A with director Katherine Knight, Wanda Koop and critic Jane Perdue. The screening will be followed by a celebration. Tickets are $175 in advance only. Order opening night tickets online at or by phone at 416.368.8854 x101.

All other screenings will be presented at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, Reitman Square, located at 350 King Street West in Toronto. General admission tickets are $12, and $8 for students and seniors with valid ID. Order festival passes and single tickets online at, by phone at 416.599.TIFF (8433) and 1.888.599.8433 (toll-free), or in person at the TIFF Bell Lightbox Box Office (open from 10:00am to 10:00pm daily).

For more information and the full film festival schedule, please visit