Detail from Gimme Some Truth Film Festival (Cinematheque)
The festival also examines tricky ethical and philosophical questions, which apply not just to art-house docs but to the world we all live in.
—Alison Gillmor, CBC Reviewer
Gimme Some Truth, Winnipeg's documentary film festival, offers four days of screenings and programs that track the genre's ever-expanding field.
Once expected to be a sober purveyor of objective fact, the documentary now encompasses hybrid categories like the docudrama, the docu-fantasia, animation and autobiography.
The fest also examines tricky ethical and philosophical questions, which apply not just to art-house docs but to the world we all live in. What's the line between fiction and non-fiction, between private and public material? How do you represent truth, and who gets to say what is true?
New York-based filmmaker Jonathan Caouette, who is in town introducing his work and participating in panels and workshops, should be a conversation starter -- and then some.
Caouette's 2004 debut Tarnation (Friday, March 15th, 7:00 p.m.) is a harrowing and weirdly dazzling look at the filmmaker's loving but deeply damaged family. Described as part autobiography and part acid trip, it was created mostly from whacked-out home movie footage that Caouette had been obsessively compiling since 1984.
Edited on his Mac using the iMovie program--a no-budget method that at the time was revolutionary--the film is emotionally raw and jammed with audio-visual stimulation, bringing the confessional film to a level where everything just vibrates with nervous energy.
In Walk Away Renée (Saturday, March 16th, 7:00 p.m.), Caouette goes on a bumpy road trip with his mother, Renée, who lives with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. He loves his mom--that's absolutely clear--but he also puts her on camera all the time, exposing her in ways that are mesmerizing but wildly uncomfortable. In both films, Caouette raises intriguing issues about truth, responsibility and personal boundaries in a life filtered through omnipresent media.
Also in town are Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen, who will be introducing two of their films, both irresistible bundles of academic analysis and fanboy fever. Dunn brings his anthropologist's eye to metal culture, tracing its roots in working-class disaffection in Metal: A Headbanger's Journey (Thursday, March 14th at 7:00 p.m.)
Global Metal (Saturday, March 16th at 9:00 p.m.) looks at metal as it moves, through the forces of cultural globalism, into places like China, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia. (Think of it as a travelogue with a really heavy soundtrack.)
This year's Winnipeg component includes Indie Game: The Movie (Friday, March 15, 4:00 p.m.). This smart, crafted doc from local filmmakers James Swirsky and Lisanne Pajot got a lot of attention on the festival circuit with its quirky look at independent game designers. The film is also notable for its own indie outlook: It was financed through Kickstarter and distributed mostly online.
And the fest closes with Dollar Store Dreams (Sunday, March 17th, 7:00 p.m.), a program of short films by Winnipegger Mike Maryniuk. In his defiantly distinctive work, non-fiction subjects fuse with funny, original and expressive animation.
Packing Up the Wagon (with John Scoles) taps into our city's deep well of restaurant regret with an elegiac little doc about the last days of the Wagon Wheel diner, long-time purveyor of the best clubhouse sandwich on Earth. (Oh, that real roast turkey.)
Gimme Some Truth Festival runs March 14 - 17 at Cinematheque in the Exchange.
Related link: Banger Films brings metal to the masses