Why make movies in Winnipeg?
Guy Maddin may be one of Canada's best-known unknown filmmakers. From his early, improbable success with "Tales From the Gimli Hospital," the director has relied on near-extinct film techniques to convey both a heavy dose of melodrama and a sly sense of humour. Maddin now works with international stars, but his humble origins are with the Winnipeg Film Group — a filmmakers' co-op that, over 30 years, has brought global acclaim to many Manitoba moviemakers.
• CBC Radio also profiled the Winnipeg Film Group in 1991. Geoff Pevere of the program Prime Time interviewed Greg Klymkiw, Guy Maddin and John Paizs.
• In the interview, Pevere asked if it was important that the films were made in Winnipeg. "I don't think the films could have been made anywhere else," said Klymkiw. Paizs added: "Working out of Winnipeg distinguishes you from the rest. It seems interesting to people."
• In the fall of 1990 five of the co-op's shorts, grouped together as Tales from the Winnipeg Film Group, toured 11 U.S. cities. The films, said a New York Post review, were "neither manic nor sharp-edged. Instead, they are warped in a sort of Canadian way. They are subtlety, almost politely weird."
• In 1993 the Centre Georges Pompidou, an art gallery and cinema in Paris, hosted a Canadian retrospective featuring the work of several WFG filmmakers.
• One of the Winnipeg Film Group's better-known films is a five-minute music video, seen briefly in this clip, called We're Talking Vulva (1990). In the film, a woman in a life-size foam-rubber vagina costume performs a rap song about the functions of female genitalia.
• Filmmakers Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan made the video through the Winnipeg Film Group but were funded by the National Film Board for its compilation film Five Feminist Minutes.
• Not all Winnipeg filmmakers are members of the Winnipeg Film Group, but many have made their first films with the group before moving on.
• Aaron Kim Johnston (The Last Winter, For the Moment), John Paskievich (If Only I Were an Indian), Noam Gonick (Hey, Happy! , Stryker) and Sean Garrity (Inertia) are just a few filmmakers who have enjoyed critical or commercial success with films made outside the Winnipeg Film Group.
• More recently, Winnipeg has become popular as a production centre for American TV movies and big-budget studio films. Many of the local crew on these films gained experience as members of the Winnipeg Film Group.
• In the summer of 2003 Miramax's Shall We Dance?, starring Jennifer Lopez, Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon, was shot in Winnipeg. The city masqueraded as Chicago.
Program: The Journal
Broadcast Date: July 4, 1991
Guest(s): Bruce Duggan, Shereen Jerrett, Guy Maddin, John Paizs, Geoff Pevere
Reporter: Paul McGrath
Film credits: Cinephile, Ordnance Pictures, Winnipeg Film Group, Extra Large Productions
Last updated: February 17, 2012
Page consulted on January 8, 2013
All Clips from this Topic
Three films from the group - an animated film and two documentaries - ...
The neophyte director builds a set in his family's former beauty shop.
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A CBC Winnipeg film critic shares his opinion of Guy Maddin's first fe...
Maddin talks about the "noble medium" of black-and-white film and the ...
Guy Maddin, Greg Klymkiw and John Paizs talk about their start in the ...
A Toronto reporter tries to understand why the city may be "the best h...
Winnipeg Film Group member Shereen Jerrett documents people and their ...
As his third feature Careful debuts, Maddin explains why film is his c...
A mini-Maddin retrospective from The Dead Father to Twilight of the Ic...
Would-be filmmakers pool their talents to form the Winnipeg Film Group...
Maddin films the Royal Winnipeg Ballet's version of the famous vampire...
Cowards Bend the Knee an art-gallery installation, is Maddin's most au...
A six-minute short wins raves and far outpaces Maddin's expectations.
Maddin gives Winnipeg the Hollywood treatment in his movie The Saddest...
Guy Maddin may be one of Canada's best-known unknown filmmakers. From ...