They’re off the beaten path, but they’re beat
Literary movement inspired films
IF Winnipeg’s festival of experimental film has an overriding theme in its seventh year, it might be: The beat goes on.
Beat cinema, the subset of experimental film structured around the beat poets of the ’50s and ’60s, is highlighted in three programs at WNDX over its intensive four-day schedule of screenings.
That is in keeping with the festival’s penchant for paying homage to past stars of experimental cinema (such as George Kuchar in 2010 and Joyce Wieland in 2011) while simultaneously showcasing innovative new work.
This year, the phenomenon of beat cinema is represented by Australian author Jack Sergeant, who curated and introduces three programs of film featuring beat icons such as William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso and Jack Kerouac.
“I’m a big fan of Jack Sergeant’s work on beat cinema,” says founding programmer Jaimz Asmundson, adding that some of the movies in the program, such as the 1960 film The Flower Thief (screening Friday at 11 p.m. alongside the seminal beat film Pull My Daisy) may be seen in a relatively pristine film transfer, as op- Cinematheque and other locations Opens Thursday, to Sunday Tickets to screenings: $6-$8 Full program at www.wndx.org posed to mediocre video versions.
“They’re meant to be seen on film, on what they were shot on,” Asmundson says.
This year, a name change to “Festival of the Moving Image” indicates the event is more all-encompassing in its mission to present new works from artists, not just in Manitoba or Canada, but around the world. That work may incorporate live performance, such as Thursday evening’s Magic Lantern Ceremony (at 9 p.m. in the Black Lodge on the third floor of Artspace).
The festival has also added an extra day, which means this may be the most imposing WNDX yet, with an unprecedented volume of work. That’s OK with Asmundson.
“We had twice as many submissions as we had last year,” he says. “And we have to show this work because it’s so incredible.”
Above, beat icon Williams Burroughs; below left, filmmaker Deco Dawson, whose work is featured at WNDX.