On my introduction to The 8 Fest and three films.


by Jacqueline Valencia

The 8 fest One of the things I’m passionate about film, but I’m particularly passionate about experimental film. However, it’s hard to define what is experimental film these days or even what is film. It’s a malleable medium and an evolving art form that in many ways has become a language of its own with so many dialects that is often hard to discern precise definitions.

I was introduced to The 8 Fest via local Toronto experimental filmmaker Stephen Broomer. Through him I met interdisciplinary artist and 8 Fest co-ordinator, Andrew J. Paterson.

The 8 Fest is a festival in that focuses on small gauge film. That film can be 8mm, Super 8, and 9.5mm. This also includes installations, loops, and ‘proto-cinema devices’ like zoetropes. It’s almost like a carnival of small film. There are personal, handmade, experimental, animations, diaries, essays, collages, cut-ups, performance/film, and music film.

Just by the description and the interactions I’ve had with Paterson and Broomer, I’ve reconnected with my roots in exploring cinema for the pure need to define within myself what I enjoy about it. As noted earlier on this site, I’m a big Stan Brakhage fan who was filmmaker who used film as a textured art medium. Much of the small films at 8 fest don’t really have a neat definition that places them in one genre or another. However, what connects these films together isn’t just that they’re small gauge films. They’re films that try to capture moments or create moments that we often miss: the forgotten or hidden landscapes around us; the visual memories of someone’s childhood, the rampant artistic expressions within the concrete beneath our feet; or the fantastical fleeting worlds from within the mind of film viewer. It’s all there and more.

As we cover 8 Fest, I’ll be talking about a few films I’ve seen and blogging about some of the events I’ve attended. There’s a lot to take in in the three days of the festival, so I’d like to start with three films featured there.

(All screenings for The 2014 8 fest will be held January 24-26, 2014 at SPK Polish Combatants Hall, 206 Beverley Street, Toronto)



Emmalyne Laurin is “a craft artist and filmmaker based in Toronto. Her work explores embellishment, materiality and abstraction.” She has a wonderful blog at http://fancifuldetail.wordpress.com/


A still from Therrien.

Her work at the fest is a piece called, Therrien. Natural setting around the home she grew up in are filmed in black in white with bright natural lighting. There’s something both nostalgic and illuminating in the frames. It’s almost as if the camera were a child scanning her surroundings, marvelling at the immense brocade of leaves and labyrinth branch formations that encompass her. The textured maze of childhood and the process of growth are reflected and give the viewer a pause to wonder.

Super8mm, 2 minutes, silent. 

Therrien is playing as part of “Bagerooo,seven! Volume two” on Sunday, Jan. 26,   9 PM

2.  Eva Kolcze “is a Toronto-based artist who uses celluloid to create works that explore memory, architecture, nature and the body.”


Film still from Badlands

Badlands is filmed at the Cheltham Badlands which are exposed geological formations that once lay beneath an ancient lake. The focus in the film is tension and expanse and textures featured in such settings. The hand rendered parts of the film are moving portrait of the living earth renewing and deteriorating the anything in its path. These scenes are contrasted with the still finish of a hill, the result of many years of movement and friction.
HD, 16mm and super 8, the film also features celluloid that has been decayed in soil and water. Silent.

Badlands is playing as part of   Bagerooo, seven! Volume one Friday Jan. 24, 11 PM

3. 5129730_300

 Cameron Moneo is a Toronto-based experimental filmmaker born in Saskatoon.

thereapuppy copy

Still from There A Puppy.

There A Puppy is a home video feel of a movie. As playful music plays, we are treated to a montage of kind puppy faces and the carefree world of our animal best friends. The description reads “A film to delight & stimulate feelings & emotions.” There’s something warm and inviting in grainy and sometimes obscured dog faces, but we know fun doesn’t stay still or focused anyway. Through pictures and live action Moneo manages to capture the moments we remember from our puppy pals.

Super8 on video, 3:42, sound

There A Puppy is playing as part of “Bagerooo, seven! Volume one”  Friday, Jan. 24th  at 11pm

For more information and schedule of The 8 Fest, go here: http://www.the8fest.com/

Our film fest coverage continues….






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