Everybody Needs a Good Hat

October 27, 2006

Here are a couple of articles from today’s Guelph Mercury that will give you a taste of what Dannielle has been up to lately.


Film festival entry called ‘anti-Catholic’

SCREENING TIME; Images offend city couple; organizers will show film at River Run Centre Nov. 3

Dannielle Dyson, director of programming for the Guelph International Film Festival: Festival of Moving Media 2006, looks through a marked guide box in the projection room at the Bookshelf Cinema. The film festival runs from Nov. 3 to 5. See story on the festival lineup on page B1.

GUELPH (Oct 27, 2006)

The 2006 Guelph International Film Festival hasn’t even begun and already it’s stirring up controversy.

Guelph residents Dwayne and Stella Mott are angry the film “The Art of Resistance” is playing on opening night, Nov. 3, at the River Run Centre.

They say the film is loaded with “anti-Catholic” imagery and shouldn’t be shown at a city-owned facility

“Some of the stuff that we believe in just looked like there was a mockery being made of it,” said Dwayne Mott, who along with his wife is a practising Catholic.

Mott was most offended at scenes from a trailer of the movie, that can be seen at www.alefilms.com/prod-ENG-arts-movie.html.

The film preview shows a crucified Christ on a war plane. Other images show the Virgin Mary as a voodoo doll, Christ popping out of a toaster and the late pope John Paul II in implied association with Adolf Hitler, the Motts said.

“To see something like that was just bothersome,” he said, adding the film should not be shown.

The Motts have sent letters to River Run Centre board members, Mayor Kate Quarrie, some city councillors, and people in charge of the film festival.

There has been some positive response from the River Run Centre about their concerns, he said last night.

Mott said he hopes his beliefs will be respected, just as he and his wife and society are asked to respect other religious faiths.

“If it’s good for other groups, we would hope that the same thing would hold true for us,” Mott said.

But the film festival’s director of programming insists seeing parts of the film out of context in a movie trailer misses the point.

“It needs to be contextualized,” said Dannielle Dyson after reading a letter to the editor from the Motts in Wednesday’s Mercury.

She said “The Art of Resistance” presents a variety of Argentinian artists working in different forms. The sculptures are “just one part of the film.”

Dyson said Leon Ferrari, the Argentinian artist who made the sculptures in question, is considered one of Argentina’s most important conceptual artists. And he is indeed a controversial figure who explores power relations, especially in religion.

But the film is not just about Ferrari, Dyson said. It’s about the closing of an art exhibit in Argentina and the protests that ensued.

“The film shows all sides of the argument. The sculptor is just one part of the film.

“The film will be shown,” she said.

Mott said the decision to show the film sends the wrong message, and the film should not be shown in a “civic environment” like the River Run Centre.

“You want to believe that the world is a certain way, and there’s acceptance for things that are important to other people, as long as they don’t affront you personally. And I don’t see the relevance of turning Mary into a voodoo doll.

“I just don’t understand that.”



Guelph’s film festival Ready to roll

With a name change in the works and renewed vigour, Guelph’s filmfest promises ‘intellectual stimulation’

Dannielle Dyson, director of programming for the Guelph International Film Festival, eagerly awaits next week’s opening of the festival. This year marks the fourth edition of the revived event.

GUELPH (Oct 27, 2006)

In its continuing evolution, the Guelph International Film Festival is changing its name to the Guelph Festival of Moving Media — moving forward, moving pictures, moving hearts and perhaps even moving audiences to action, said the festival’s director of programming.

“Guelph is the best place for a social action film festival,” Dannielle Dyson said earlier this week. “We have a real social activist kind of audience here.”

The Guelph International Film Festival is eventually going to become the Guelph Festival of Moving Media, but for now the new moniker is a subtitle.

Film lovers have lots to choose from over the run of the festival, which runs Nov. 3-5: eight different venues plus opening night at the River Run Centre and pre-screenings at the University of Guelph; more than 30 films including some geared to children and youth; and three panel discussions featuring directors of some of the films.

“It’s kind of like Christmas — so much work and it’s over in a weekend,” Dyson said with a laugh.

The theme of this year’s festival is art and how people turn to art when they are struggling. It debunks thinking that places art among the frivolous or as something that comes after basic needs are met.

“In these films we see that art is inspiring and people turn to it when times are worst,” Dyson said.

And so there are films like “Songbird,” a documentary about women in a prison in England who find solace in singing about their situation. And “Refugee All Stars,” that tells the story of six Sierra Leonean musicians who come together to form a band while living as refugees in the Republic of Guinea.

Jennifer Baichwal said audiences seem to have a growing appetite for documentary films and is thrilled to see more film festivals like the one in Guelph, “that allows films like mine to get to places and people who normally wouldn’t see it,” she said.

Baichwal is the director of “Manufactured Landscapes,” that will be screened at the Bookshelf Cinema Nov. 5 at 6:45 p.m. Baichwal herself will be in attendance and will field questions after the film.

The film documents Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky on a photo shoot in China.

Burtynsky favours photographs of quarries, recycling yards, factories, mines and dams — the man-made landscapes that inevitably follow industry.

For this film Burtynsky headed to China to capture the industrial revolution.

“We went with him, to document Ed taking those photos,” Baichwal said.

“His work is very powerful and very seductive anesthetically. You see these beautiful photographs and then you see the detail and realize you are looking at waste.

“What’s happening in China is extraordinary because it’s on a massive scale and it’s happening so quickly.”

Baichwal said audiences once expected only to be entertained by movies, but today, “I think people want to be intellectually stimulated.”

And after working on her film for three years, and spending the past eight months isolated in the editing room, “it’s enormously gratifying that audiences are seeing this thing I’ve been working on for so long. And we’ve had some very intense Q&As after screenings,” she said.

Tim McSorley is also bracing for strong and opposing viewpoints after “Wal-Town” is screened during the festival.

McSorley is one of six student activists who travelled across Canada to document the effect Wal-Mart has on small town economies, labour policies and local businesses.

He said given the 10-year court challenge residents of Guelph had against the giant retail store opening in this city, “Guelph makes a significant part of the film,” he said yesterday, from his home in Montreal.

“In many way the Guelph segment is typical because it clearly shows Wal-Mart’s tactics to influence municipal councils. But Guelph is also atypical because it held out so long. We felt it was an important story to tell.”

He said documentary filmmakers like Michael Moore have done much to bring documentaries to mainstream cinema.

“(Moore) showed people that documentaries are not just what you see on the nature channel,” McSorley said. “They can be entertaining and relevant and far more in-depth than the news.”

Dyson said it was through a real community effort four years ago that the Guelph International Film Festival was revived after being dormant for 13 years. In 1984 GIFF was one of the world’s first documentary film festivals and it carried on until 1990.

Audiences will be charmed, challenged, inspired, entertained and educated by this year’s selection, she said, adding the festival hopes to grow its audience this year.

“People complain documentaries are too heavy, but these films are uplifting and the issues are relevant. Every one of them is a gem,” she said.

There will be pre-festival screenings at the University of Guelph: “Mardi Gras: Made in China” on Wednesday evening and “Wal-Town: The Film” on Thursday.

There will also be an opening night gala at the River Run Centre on Friday, when “The Art of Resistance” and “The Refugee All Stars” will be shown, followed by a party featuring Mambo Nation.

Children’s films will be shown at the Guelph Public Library main branch and the Early Years Centre in Stone Road Mall. Ed Video is opening its screening space for films geared to youth, including “Change Now For the Future,” a film made by youth at the Change Now drop-in centre and emergency shelter in Guelph.

The rest of the films will be shown at the Bookshelf EBar, the Bookshelf Cinema, the Albion Hotel, Norfolk Street United Church and Dean Palmer Photography.

Tickets cost $60 for a weekend pass, $24.50 for the opening night gala, $9 for films at the Bookshelf Cinema and Norfolk Church, and $5 for all other screenings. Children and youth programs are free.

Tickets and passes are available at the River Run Centre, the Bookshelf and Planet Bean.

Pass-holders are asked to arrive at least 15 minutes before screenings. Rush seats will be sold after that.

For a full schedule plus information about the films, visit www.guelphfilmfest.org.



What: Guelph International Film Festival: Festival of Moving Media 2006

When: Nov. 3 to 5 with pre-festival screenings Nov. 1 and 2 at the University of Guelph

Where: Various venues in Guelph: Opening gala at the River Run Centre Nov. 3

Tickets: Weekend passes $60,

Friday night gala $24.50, Bookshelf Cinema and Norfolk Church screenings $9. All other screenings $5, while children and youth programs are free.