Vertical Features presents:
Directed by Ryan Ermacora & Jessica Johnson (in attendance)
Since 2015, filmmakers Ryan Ermacora and Jessica Johnson have worked collaboratively and independently on a series of lush and enigmatic non-fiction shorts that engage with interrelated questions of landscapes and duration. Working in the lineage of icons Sharon Lockhart and James Benning – filmmakers that privilege the contemplative over the chaotic – Ermacora and Johnson most often turn their camera to the sylvan unceded territories of interior British Columbia.
In films like Einst, Empire Valley, and E&N the filmmakers offer wordless examinations of places and gestures, while other works like Ocean Falls and Johnson’s Scotland-shot Hazel Isle incorporate interviews to produce intimate portraits of people in their lived spaces. Visually stunning, with an enveloping beauty enhanced by the filmmakers’ commitment to shooting on film, the tranquil nature of the films belie a troubled temporal and spatial palimpsest.
About Vertical Features
The name Vertical Features serves to evoke the idea of work that exists adjacent—even perpendicular—to conventional cinema, works that risk oversight. The series hopes to promote vital non-fiction film and video that has had little or no Toronto exposure, including documentary, essay films, hybrid experiments, and artists’ moving image, placing contemporary films in dialogue with historical rediscoveries. Supplemented by introductions and discussions with guest scholars, artists, and critics, Vertical Features serves to highlight and situate these exceptional works.
Vertical Features is a project by Jesse Cumming, Olivia Wong, and Dan Browne.
Empire Valley (Ryan Ermacora, 2018, Canada, 13 min, Digital)
Ocean Falls (Ryan Ermacora/Jessica Johnson, 2015, Canada, 13 min, Digital)
E&N (Ryan Ermacora/Jessica Johnson, 2015, Canada, 4 min, Digital)
Einst (Jessica Johnson, 2016, Canada, 12 min, Digital)
Hazel Isle (Jessica Johnson, 2018, Canada, 14 min, Digital)
Toronto Palestine Film Festival:
Directed by Saburo Hasegawa
Ryuichi Hirokawa is a human being first, a photojournalist second. He considers journalism the right to know, and relief work the right to live—two things that have informed his character and career. Recently retired from Days Japan magazine as editor-in-chief, the septuagenarian goes back into the field and revisits the sites and stories of his past. He returns to Israel and Palestine, and remembers a Lebanese refugee camp massacre—images burned into his brain that sent shockwaves around the world. Then he travels back to Chernobyl, where he was the first Western journalist allowed to enter the no-go zone after the nuclear disaster. But all roads lead home, where his focus now rests on fundraising in the wake of Fukushima.
FRI, SEPT 21 9:00PM TBLB C2
City of Toronto & Great Gulf present:
Doors Open Festival
A 90-minute curation of family favourites from Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival. These films deal with the changing Toronto environment, exploring lakes and illuminating urban landscapes. Local wildlife are represented in “Bird City Lights” and “Fix and Release,” which showcase documentaries as a catalyst for conservation. Explore Indigenous Ontario’s cottage country in “Lovesick” and ancient agriculture in “The Three Sisters Community Garden”. Light-hearted shorts will be screened including “FIXED!” which chronicles Toronto’s volunteer-run Repair Café, where beloved items are given a new lease on life.
Where: Kingsway Community Life Centre, 186 Spadina Ave. Toronto, ON M5T 3B2
When: May 26 10am-5pm & May 27 1-5pm
Christie Pits Film Festival:
Directed by Lucy Walker
In 2009, internationally renowned Brazilian photographer Vik Muniz began an ambitious project to make large-scale artworks in collaboration with workers at Jardim Gramacho, the world’s largest landfill, on the edge of Rio de Janeiro. The workers scour the landfill to triage its recyclable materials, effectively making up a guerilla-style environmental programme. The award-winning documentary Waste Land is a deeply moving portrait of urban gleaners living on the geographical and social margins of a city, yet whose work is integral to the environmental sustainability of the metropolis.
SUN, JUL 29 9:00PM CHRISTIE
Italian Contemporary Film Festival:
The Last Prosecco
Directed by Antonio Padavan
The story unravels on the rolling hills where Prosecco grapes are grown; a winemaker Count, fighting to protect his territory, a stubborn half Italian half Persian police inspector; the manager of a cement plant, killed by three gunshots; and a crazy man who scrapes the rust from the tombs in the cemetery. A story about the inheritance of beauty and the value of quality. In 2010, north-east Italy began to feel a recession which nobody had expected. Only one productive sector resisted: Prosecco. This film forces us to remember that anyone who destroys the land destroys the future for everyone.
SUN, JUNE 17 8:45 PM TIFF
Hot Docs International Documentary Film Festival:
Directed by Sasha Friedlander & Cynthia Wade
While multinational Lapindo was drilling for natural gas in Indonesia’s East Java in 2006, they hit an underground mud volcano, unleashing a tsunami of hot mud that covered an area twice the size of Central Park. Roads, factories and homes were destroyed, 20 lives were lost and nearly 40,000 people displaced. In a film that inspires one to fight against injustice, we see that over a decade later the mud still flows and neither Lapindo nor the government have made the reparations that they promised. The mother/daughter duo, along with many neighbours, fight against the corporate powers accused of one of the largest environmental disasters in recent history.
MON, APR 30 8:30 PM SCOTIA
WED, MAY 2 12:30 PM TBLB
SUN, MAY 6 10:00 AM BADER
Excavated Narratives: Shorts Program
The Private Property Trilogy: A Survey of the Life and Films of C.B. by Nicolás Pereda (in attendance)
The Private Property Trilogy is a performance lecture that surveys the life and work of C.B., a multifaceted artist, political activist, amateur archaeologist, self-proclaimed anarchist, and creator of a mining museum in the Northern Mexico desert.
AAA Cargo by Solveig Suess
Following the expansion of infrastructure and distribution networks along the New Silk Road—the highly politicized trade corridor linking China and Europe—AAA Cargo maps the the flow of human and non-human agents across this vast landscape.
Bad Mama, Who Cares by Brigid McCaffrey
Bad mama, who cares depicts the domestic ecology of a geologist who has moved into a housing complex at the intersection of a rail yard and an interstate.
SUN, APR 15 9:30 PM INNIS