by Sylvain Comeau
Rival film schools may start thinking that the fix is in.
Once again, as with almost every year, Concordia made a strong showing at the Student Film and Video Festival, part of the Montreal World Film Festival. Cinematic creations by Concordia students took four of the 11 awards given out at an awards ceremony last Wednesday.
One of the biggest winners was Jonathan Inksetter, a part-time film student whose Music Videos won the VIACOM Canada Award for Best New Canadian Student Director, and the Best Experimental Video award.
Inksetter's film is actually a series of three four-minute vignettes in which music and images are linked, in a style loosely patterned after MTV fare. The jury responded, Inksetter believes, "because I think my films have ideas and depth, but are presented in a flashy, entertaining way. I think film juries want to be entertained, like any audience."
The "music" in the videos was created in an innovative, jump-cut style. In one of them, Skin Drum, a song is created from a video montage of people tapping on their chests.
"I took six people, and asked them to 'play their chests' and vocalize, and I filmed them from their mouths to their waist. Then I took the people and interchanged them with half-second cuts, and the sounds they made created a song."
Inksetter is one of the few students lucky enough to show a profit on his film, thanks to the $2,500 prize accompanying the award. "That will pay for my next movie, as well." Yes, he hopes to direct music videos professionally.
Third-year film student Laurence-Amˇlie Montpetit won the Best Documentary Film award for En Amour avec L'Amour, a tribute to Quebec mime Claude St-Denis. Montpetit gives much of the credit to St-Denis, who she says was a collaborator as well as a subject.
"My film is an honest portrayal of an artist who exposes his inner self through his art, and it's a meditation on the fine line between an artist's personal life and his art."
St-Denis is listed as a co-scripter, because there was no script; the text emerged from informal interviews between Montpetit and St-Denis.
"Usually, profiles of artists look at the surface, the fa¨ade. But in my film, he isn't wearing any masks. I started by asking him, 'Tell me all about you.'"
Concordia's winners beat out some heavy competition this year, according to student film festival jury member Michel Coulombe, a local journalist and author on cinema.
"After seeing all 60 films in the student festival, I was struck by their level of professionalism. I made student films myself, and although I'm not ashamed of them, I feel they were good only as a learning experience. However, many of the films in the festival have meaning, cinematic value and technical proficiency. And when we saw the best of them, we thought, 'This director has the gift.'"
Another winner from Concordia was Mike Pelland, who won the Best Animation Film award for Sh‰t Mat.
Film Grads shine at international festival, too
Concordia graduates were everywhere at the Montreal International Film Festival last week. Here's a list of competitors with a Concordia connection, supplied by Cinema Chair Peter Rist.
My Grandmother Ironed the King's Shirts competed in the Shorts section. The Norwegian animator, Torill Kove, was a Concordia student some years ago.
In the World Cinema competition, there were two grads. The Mating Habits of the Earthbound Human is by Jeff Abugov, whom The Gazette last week called Concordia's best-known film alumnus, along with Christian Duguay. Seducing Maarya is by grads Hunt Hoe, director, and Michael Wees, cinematographer.
In the Panorama Canada section, there is Winter Lily, by Roshell Bissett (winner of the John Spotton award at the Toronto film festival two years ago for Cotton Candy as Best Canadian Short film); Stuff, by James Dunnison (also the subject of a Gazette article); and the shorts Angˇlique, by Michael Jarvis, a current student and Ecstacy, by Mark Wihak.
In the Films for Television section, we had Sombre dans l'oubli - L'Histoire de l'Empress of Ireland, by Alain Vezina.
Student Laurence-Amélie Montpetit, working on En Amour avec L'Amour, an homage to mime Claude St-Denis. Despite having no sound on the work print submitted to the jury, she was given the Best Documentary award in the student division.