Art, Music + Travel
By Angela Jelicic
A unique and interactive experience for you to get close to independent filmmakers not only to enjoy their aspiring work but to get up front and personal with them and industry professionals. Make Paris your first stop for the European Independent Film Festival . The 7th Annual event is set to launch April 1 – 3, 2011. This year’s line up has some amazing offerings for you such as Damian Nenow’s, “Paths of Hate”, a powerful short animated film about the demons that slumber deep in the human soul and have the power to push people into the abyss of blind hate, fury and rag,” states the http://pathsofhate.com press info or the delightful, “Scottish Bob”, by Director Darren McFarlane, an entry competing in the new ECU category of Non-European Short Films. President and Founder of ECU, Scott Hillier declares that, “The European Independent Film Festival (ÉCU) has established itself as a fantastic arena for independent filmmakers from around the world to screen their films to large audiences made up of a cinema-loving public who are seeking alternatives to the offerings of major studios, as well as to agents, talent scouts, production company representatives, distributors and established producers looking for new projects and raw talent. Of course several hundred independent filmmakers from around the world will be in Paris to participate in the ÉCU.” Hillier founded the prestigious event in 2006 as “Europe’s answer to the Sundance Festival.” Hillier, hailing originally from Australia, has a string of professional credits in his long career in the film industry, and most formidably his work as director of photography on the Academy Award winning documentary, “Twin Towers”. The exciting part for festival goers in addition to seeing some of the most cutting edge work is the chance to participate in workshops, screenwriting labs and discussion panels. Unlike the Academy Awards and other high end functions, ECU allows attendees to get up front and personal with filmmakers. “I thought it was really great the way it started, cramming all the directors onto a boat and forcing us all to meet each other. So often at festivals you don’t really do that, by the last day you sort of know people but here it is different,” comments Josephine Mackerras, director of “Diva”. “I just thought that was brilliant. I’ve met a lot of people who are from other places in the world...it’s sort of a global community...I’d highly recommend this festival!” The 2011 Official Selection will “showcase the very best independent films from around the world,” says Eva Bearryman, assistant English language editor. All submissions will compete in 12 categories including features, shorts, documentaries, animation, music videos and experimental films. “While ÉCU’s goal is to bring worldwide attention to European independent filmmakers, there are also four foreign categories open to independent filmmakers from the Americas, Africa and Asia,” says Hillier. One lucky winner will walk away acclaimed as Europe’s Best Independent Film. The event will be held at Cinema 7 Parnassiens, a cultural extravaganza in the heart of Paris. A fantastic location in a beautiful city, in spring, at a world renowned festival! Hope you can make it for a truly extraordinary experience. You can check out submissions at http://ecuwebtv.com or visit the festival site at http://ecufilmfestival.com.
The outdoor temporary arts festival is a relatively new trend in the presentation of art across Canada, but it’s not a new concept. Since 1986, The Works International Visual Arts Society has produced The Works Art & Design Festival in Edmonton, Alberta, offering over 250 exhibits, performances, and special events to the public, and attracting artists and patrons from around the world. At the start of every summer, The Works boosts the energy and imagination of downtown Edmonton by showcasing cutting-edge design, fashion, media, art and interactive installations alongside traditional visual arts such as glass, painting, drawing and photography. Artwork can be found in hotel lobbies, commercial spaces, office towers and public buildings, as well as larger than life installations outdoors on Sir Winston Churchill Square. The Works also partners with local galleries and interdisciplinary arts presenters to bring focus to the city’s year round art scene at a time when over 300,000 patrons from all walks of life are excited about art and design. Here are the top 5 reasons that you should visit The Works this summer: It’s all there: the artwork ranges from traditional to interactive and immersive. The Works offers culturally diverse programming including contemporary indigenous artists in The Works Canadian Aboriginal Artist program. The Works’ main festival site has a multidisciplinary Street Stage, with ten hours of programming every day and an all ages licenced patio to sit and enjoy a variety of performances in between exhibits. Site #1 also features a market of Canadian made arts and crafts, culinary offerings from local restaurants and food trucks, and opportunities to create artworks for new and experienced artists of all ages. You will learn something: The Works integrates Education into everything it does, from the trained exhibit attendants and tour guides offering insights, to the artwork on display, to the opportunities to try your hand at a new arts technique. Each Spring, students and emerging artists from across Canada compete to participate in the Works to Work Program, one of the Enbridge art internships offered at The Works. In Works to Work, students learn the practical and theoretical aspects of arts presentation and administration, and then return the following summer to learn more and participate in teaching new recruits. This is the team that works alongside the presenting artists to bring the festival to life every June. It fits with your life and vacation plans: The Works is thirteen full days of free outdoor presentations and entertainment. All of the exhibits are on display for at least this length of time, with many holdover exhibits extended through the summer! With a bit of planning, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to see them all. It’s great for creatives: whether you are a professional designer, an emerging artist starting a studio practice, or a hobbyist looking for a new project, you can take advantage of meet the artist opportunities, volunteer with artists on site, see something new, and meet with other creative visitors to inspire your own work. The Works is the perfect opportunity to get out of the studio and collaborate with the public as a presenter, test out an idea, or make connections with people in your own and neighbouring disciplines. Did we mention it’s totally free? The Works runs a pay what you can donation program to support education programs and the continued accessible presentation of art and design in public. You’ll find opportunities to donate at exhibits with interpretive attendants, as well as on the main festival site, and no one is turned away from the public stage presentations, indoor or outdoor performances, exhibits, and even scheduled tours. With that, there’s almost no reason not to go, so plan ahead and add Edmonton and The Works to your summer festival schedule.
By Danielle S. Fuechtmann
Twenty-four year old Hayley Wright has a unique goal: to bring back the frequently ignored and forgotten art of fashion illustration. Trained in fine arts at the University of British Columbia and holding a diploma in Fashion Marketing and Merchandising from Vancouver’s Visual College of Art and Design, she’s doing a stunning job. A clear vision is apparent from her artwork; her signature use of ink and watercolours tie her range of work together. Hayley’s fashion illustration strikes a charming balance between capturing detail and concept, and expressing fluid movement and emotion. The subjects of Hayley’s artwork seem like they would be the charismatic cool girls working the room; with cheeky pouting faces and impeccable outfits, they ooze confidence from the paper. As she builds a stunning portfolio, selling prints and other interpretations of her art online on Society6 and independently as Paper & Ink Art, Hayley is becoming increasingly more popular. A simultaneous, albeit small, renaissance of fashion illustration spurred on by independent, art-friendly magazines and rising popularity of illustrators like Danielle Meder is helping to make fashion illustration a household word again. Artwork with personality, like Hayley’s, offers a beautiful alternative to static photography—sacrificing some accuracy captures the emotional essence of their subject. And isn’t art, and fashion, about feeling?
By Stacey Mullings
Watching the bustling intensity of the film award season as it came to a close with the Oscars on March 2nd left me in a reflective state. The films that stick out in my mind as gripping and moving have always incorporated strong, standout scores to support the storytelling process and impact the audience’s senses, heightening the experience. Regardless of the genre, a well-crafted, cohesive film score brings deeper dimension and feeling to each scene, and gives the audience a fuller understanding of the tone of the film. Danny Elfman, Alexandre Desplat, John Williams, James Newton Howard and James Horner are a few of the big names that come to mind when we talk about film music composers. A common theme we find amongst these composers is the great breadth and diverse involvement they’ve had with music over the course of their careers. Many of “The Greats” are multi-instrumentalists, producers, orchestrators or conductors, and often more than one. They’ve had the opportunity to experience music in various ways: listening, creating and arranging. This profound understanding of music and exposure to it in different forums is paramount to composing moving music that will coalesce with a scene. Think of the ominous and thunderous nature of “The Imperial March” in Star Wars. If John Williams was tasked to compose a piece of music to strike fear in the hearts of men (and aliens), I’d say he certainly succeeded. Three soundtracks that find their way into my rotation frequently are Amélie, Pan’s Labyrinth, and About a Boy. Amélie There is much to love about Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s 2001 release, Amélie. The sweetness of this film lies in the depiction of life in the Montmartre arrondissement, Amélie’s imaginative and whimsical nature, and of course, the fantastical compositions of Yann Tiersen. The Amélie soundtrack is comprised of accordion and piano rich instrumental pieces that capture the eccentricity and loneliness that is Amélie Poulain. The closing scene of this film, which is one of my favourites, is a great example of music and imagery working in tandem to convey a feeling. We see Amélie and Nino, two endearing misfits, riding through the streets of Paris, carefree and totally in love to “La Valse D’ Amélie.” For the viewer, there is feeling of relief when Amélie and Nino finally get together. Amélie’s ultimate display of courage to let love into her life is a triumph for her that is fervently felt by the audience. “La Valse D’ Amélie,” with its playful yet romantic accordion melody, contributes to these emotions of triumph and freedom, not only for Amélie and Nino, but also for many of the film’s characters that have overcome hurdles of their own. It is actually somewhat reminiscent of “J’y Suis Jamais Allé,” which plays during the opening scene. This lighthearted but sassy piece is immediately switched to “La Dispute,” a sad, foreboding piano instrumental for the opening credits. In this way, we are introduced to the multi-dimensional nature of the film within the first five minutes. In 2013 it was announced that Amélie will be made into a Broadway musical. However, Tiersen’s music will not feature in the adaptation. Pan’s Labyrinth Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth takes place in a tumultuous post-Civil War Spain and spirals between a dark, bleak reality and an even darker world of fantasy. There are a multitude of happenings and moods conjured up by this tale: the malevolence that marks this era, the cruelty and callus of Captain Vidal, and the spirit and bravery of the rebels and little Ofelia. Javier Navarette, who also composed the score for Guillermo del Toro’s earlier film The Devil’s Backbone, creates a haunting yet magical musical backdrop for the film. Writing a score to mirror a film with this much juxtaposition is likely no easy feat. There is the contrast between the innocence and determination of young Ofelia and her sinister but equally driven stepfather Captain Vidal. There is also this fantastical dark fairytale imagery, coupled with the captain’s macabre killings. Navarette’s score achieves this balance between the wonderful and the sad by employing a wide range of stringed instruments and the chilling hum in the lullaby “Long, Long Time Ago,” probably the most recognizable piece on the Oscar-nominated soundtrack. Through the storyline and graphic imagery, the film naturally evokes a lot of emotion from the audience. I recall leaving the movie theater completely awestruck. Years later, listening to just a few seconds of any track on the soundtrack instantly brings into mind the same harrowing emotions and images as if I had just seen it. About a Boy The UK’s Damon Gough, better known as Badly Drawn Boy, had already experience a great deal of success prior to scoring the film adaptation of Nick Hornby’s novel About a Boy. The original sound of his 2000 album The Hour of Bewilderbeast, an eclectic collection of indie, folk and experimental songs, garnered Gough a lot of attention and an expanding fan base, which included directors and brothers Chris and Paul Weitz. About a Boy centers around the development of a friendship between a very unlikely pair: Will, a seemingly self-absorbed and emotionally detached man who lives a life of leisure as he collects royalties from a popular song his father wrote, and Marcus, a quirky delight of a boy who contends with bullies at school and copes with a depressed mother at home. While there is a strong comedic presence in the film, there is also an awareness of the seriousness of the issues that Will, Marcus and his mother Fiona are facing. Each of the characters has this lovable peculiarity and it was important for the accompanying music to reflect this. Badly Drawn Boy’s score captures the beauty and friction involved in the burgeoning friendship, off center characters and events. The soundtrack is a mixture of dreamy instrumentals and songs that are more similar to the composer’s style found in his other works that feature his modest husky vocals. One of the most notable scenes is when Marcus’ mother Fiona returns home from the hospital after a suicide attempt. Observing her first interaction with her son after the tragedy and seeing her faced with readjusting to life, “A Minor Incident” plays and as the only real audio in the scene, is absolutely touching. You can just feel the fear and suffering; the lyrical content is spot on. There’s nothing I could say To make you try to feel ok And nothing you could do To stop me feeling the way I do And if the chance should happen That I never see you agai Just remember that I’ll always love you —“A Minor Incident,” first verse, by Badly Drawn Boy A good film score will provide accompaniment and an enjoyable background. Great and unforgettable scores intensify tone, emotion and imagery, as well as illuminate each scene’s narrative. Those are the ones that stick with you long after the ending credits have rolled off screen.
By Danielle S. Fuechtmann
- Photography by Javier Ortega India is traced with an intricate lace-work pattern of roadways that cover 3,516,452 km (2009). Essential to the growth and survival of rural areas, these roadways provide a link between villages or small farming communities and booming metropolitan centres. However, despite the importance of roads and land transportation, India largely lacks consistent driving regulations and road upkeep. Without regulations and funding, roads are very rough and narrow, major highways are only two lanes, and a significant part of the rural population does not have access to all-weather roads. Even so, travelling around India can be a very enjoyable and exciting thing to do. Public transportation, particularly India’s fast and efficient bus and train systems, is a very popular way to travel, especially through mountain regions inaccessible to car or motorcycle. Buses offer a fast and inexpensive way to travel, even taking regular stops for passengers to go to the washroom or get a snack. Some drivers do take riskier maneuvers though, particularly on quieter night routes, so it’s wise to travel during the day if possible. You can book tickets on state-run buses up to a month in advance, but it’s advised to nab a seat in between the axles to minimize bumping and shaking due to road conditions. India’s train system is an exciting way to travel, following extensive routes though the beautiful country. With approximately 17 million passengers travelling by train every day, in addition to freight, the Indian Railways is one of the world’s largest employers. The railways are always bustling, but the system is thoughtfully designed and quite efficient. While renting cars and hiring drivers is quite common, particularly in metropolitan areas, more flexible forms of transportation are often more well-adapted to India’s roadways. Bicycles and motorcycles are very popular forms of independent transportation, as they are nimble enough to dart through the congested roads and avoid rough patches. It’s a common sight to see several members of a family riding together on a motorcycle, as well as tourists taking advantage of this flexible form of travel. In response to the popularity of cycles, bicycles and motorized, parts and other related services can be easily found throughout the country. Although less common now because of the dominance of motorized vehicles, traditional rickshaws and other carts, sometimes pulled by animals, can still be found in quieter roadways and communities. Practical and simple, this long-standing way of travel makes up for speed with its endurance and the opportunity it gives to truly recognize the beauty and warmth of the country. Autorickshaws and their variations, the vikram or tempo, marry the traditional rickshaw with a motor, a hybrid able to carry more passengers and achieve greater speed. India is a bustling country; whether you are riding a train, zipping through the streets, or chugging along on an autorickshaw, the vibrant web of transportation provides a lovely window into the daily life and customs of different regions. While moving from place to place can be made more calming with a book and earplugs, taking the time to observe can show little snapshots into the daily life of someone else.
By Fransico Basconsela
When I’m in the middle of a project I feel like I’m totally inside my dreams, but when a project ends I can never help but feel like I still have a long way to go. How did you start? I started working when I was 16 years old in a store where I made fashion accessories. I worked there for two years and then took a contemporary jewelry course at an art school. Fashion Designer Ana Salazar invited me to create fashion accessories while I was still studying. Because I began my career working with Ana, my creative process has always been very connected to the parameters of fashion. What was your original mission with your work? To be able to live of my creativity and to share my visions with others. Do you ever create things that no one sees? Sometimes I develop work that does not get presented but it is part of my creative process. I call these works “Work in Progress” because that’s literally what it is. They’re four very distinct elements inside a machine that continue to give me ideas for other projects and exploration. How do you like to work? I have to admit that my creative universe works best in chaos; I don’t like to have every thing very organized because it affects the creative flow. I like to look around and see what’s available. I need to experiment with materials. Is experimentation crucial for you? Without a doubt. I’ve tried many different techniques and inspirations, from baroque to tribal, inserting them in different creative processes to see how it would work. I like to turn an ordinary material into something exquisite. At first glance a press-stud seems to only serve the function for which it was created, there’s nothing beautiful about it, but by applying them to a piece, I’m creating a beautiful and luxurious dimension, caused by the texture and achieved by the use of repetition of the same element. I now feel the need to get a little more experimental, even with materials. I don’t have as much time as I’d like to explore them. How do you choose the materials you’re going to work? In the beginning I would have an idea and then look for the appropriate materials to execute it. There came a time when I realized I could do the reverse as there are materials that give me ideas and bring relevant concepts. Now, the creative process happens both ways. It’s an enormous challenge to pick up an object and try to imagine how else it could work. It brings me great joy, when the original object becomes unrecognizable. During the creative process, do you make the distinction between your fashion pieces and art pieces? I know that many people look at my work and wonder if it’s wearable as some pieces can go from a fashion collection and can then be displayed in a gallery. The work process is the same but it makes sense to separate these two aspects of creation. Do you always keep in mind the commercial and marketable aspect of a piece? I don’t allow myself to be dictated by that. When I create a piece that’s not as commercial, I try to refine it in order to make it more wearable, which doesn’t make it any easier or less creative. It doesn’t lose its worth, but I know my customer and know what works. In my case I can’t oversimplify, otherwise it doesn’t capture the attention of those who like my work. You’ve always collaborated with other artists from different fields. Do you enjoy the creative exchange? I really enjoy it. I’m always touched when I conceive a piece that is then transported to the universe of a photographer. Its exciting and working this way can learn a lot. All my life I’ve worked in open studios shared with other artists and I find it far more constructive than working in isolation. Does the fact that every six months you have to present a new collection keep the creative juices flowing? Absolutely. And many ideas not fully explored in one collection can be put to use in another, it’s an ongoing process. There are techniques I discovered 2 years ago that are still to be applied, and I will return to them, the process is never just six months. Your 20 year career was celebrated with a retrospective exhibition in 2010. How did it feel looking back at your work? It was complex when it came to collecting all the pieces. Much has happened in 20 years and it was good to look back... The pieces enabled me to visualize who I once was; it’s interesting to see the evolution of my work. At the end, the pieces had to interact with each other and I must admit it was an interesting dialogue. What are hardships you experienced being an artist? The biggest difficulty is to work without financial support. Particularly at the beginning of a career You really do have to learn from your mistakes. In school, you learn to draw, work with materials, and develop a project, but no one teaches you how to sustain a creativity-based business. It’s very hard to focus on your work when you have to do all the equally crucial things like contacting clients and collectors, promote your work, etc. All without which success is rather impossible. What is you ultimate mission? To show people my creative world within. Are you closer to realizing your dream? When I’m in the middle of a project I feel like I’m totally inside my dreams, but when a project ends I can never help but feel like I still have a long way to go.
By Drake Garnitz
that Sunday on a corner in la Bastille Max roller-skating leader of the pack leading us leading me across the bridge across the Seine but pas sufi for Max and me it is not enough so we continue to Sacre-Coeur and there is no film needed no flash required to capture our journey this camera is internal every second a portrait imprinted as we move through light through dark sans wheels into the night the day the week our dance spilling onto the balcony spinning atop the roof twirling high above the boulevard together we dance nearly naked in body so naked in spirit we continue over then under le Pont-Neuf across le Pont-des Arts up, up, up among the very lights of la Tour Eiffel we continue to continue the dance our dance the beat our beat and this picture of Max and me framed internally can be carried from here to there to any of my imprinted anywheres. - Photograph by Fani Kanawati
By Danielle S. Fuechtmann
At the age of fourteen, Deolinda Bernardo decided she wanted to dedicate her career to keeping the Portuguese tradition of fado music alive. Deolinda began singing at a very early age, cultivating a love and passion for music. Although she spent the first years of her musical career singing contemporary styles such as pop and rock, her difficult childhood made the emotion and power of fado an appealing creative outlet. Fado’s origins trace back to before the nineteenth century, spreading out from Lisbon to other regions in Portugal, gradually developing distinct regional styles. A bit like North American blues music, fado requires precise and delicate technique to tell very passionate and emotional stories. The music requires active listening, leading it to be compared to opera; fado songs often require some knowledge of the tradition and subject matter carries emotional significance. In Lisbon, fado music has developed a modern flavour, with influences from Africa and Brazil, the style in this region has developed a unique urban feel. The northern areas of Portugal take on a Celtic sound, while the middle regions of Portugal absorb inspiration from their southern neighbor, Spain. In the southern-central countryside of Alentejo, the music has North African influences. These influences reflect Portugal’s interesting pattern of trade and political relationships with the countries surrounding it. The most distinct of the regional styles comes from Coimbra, and is occasionally referred to as student fado. This style is recognizable for it’s exclusively male voices, and was made popular by the large student population in the city. Deolinda developed a love for music and singing at a very early in her life, and it was a constant in her difficult childhood. At 3 years old, separated from her mother, she began listening to the radio at her grandmother’s home where she was living. As she grew older she began singing, primarily in rock, jazz, and pop styles while working in a factory. Around this time she began to delve into the fado tradition, finding herself able to connect to the emotional stories the songs shared. When she was about fourteen, she recognized that her passion was something she truly wanted to share, and despite the difficult path pursing music would entail, she decided to follow it. As a young single mother, the life of a musician was not easy. She spent much of her twenties singing in hotel piano bars. These nights were difficult and often thankless, but she learned many things about performing and developed as an artist. Fado is a very technical music form with significant regional variances, and Deolinda took care to learn about all of them, becoming proficient in many of the styles and learning an extensive repertoire of classic songs. She performs with great enthusiasm and joy, educating her listeners about the traditions and songs as she is singing. Luckily, youth are beginning to develop an interest in fado again, with artists like Mariza, who performs a pop-fado fusion, performing to large audiences and generating new interest into the traditional style. As a result this traditional music is experiencing a resurgence. Currently, she performs weekly in Obidos, a castle in central Portugal. The castle is unique, as it is one of few that people still live in. The perfect location for Deolinda to share her traditional music, Obidos has a vibrant culture, hosting markets and medieval fairs requiring period dress. She performs at Troca-Tontas each Monday night, a small intimate venue serving traditional food. Despite singing with no microphone, her voice fills the room with ease. Deolinda loves performing and watching the eyes of her audience and soaking in their energy, and this shows through her endearing nature and charisma. She will also be performing and leading a seminar on the first Monday of each month at PHABRIK in Serra del Rei, which will be open to all ages. For the last 15 years, Deolinda has travelled and performed with her partner and best friend, Jose Piras, a fellow musician. Sharing a core musical philosophy has made it natural for them to work together. An excellent musician in his own right, he frequently accompanies her singing, covers male parts, and writes his own music. Together, they share an intense performing schedule, frequently performing more than once a day, as well as travelling, within Portugal and internationally.