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Experimenting with media art

Screenings, performances, installations at Antimatter film festival
Frames from Woodcarver by BEARwitness, screening as part of the 15th annual Antimatter Film Festival Oct. 12 - 20.

A short film made in response to the lack of justice in the murder of First Nations woodcarver John T. Williams by a Seattle police officer is making its Western Canadian premiere at the 15th annual Antimatter Film Festival (Mon., Oct. 15).

The short, Woodcarver, by BEARwitness of Canadian Aboriginal music collective A Tribe Called Red features looped video taken from the dash camera of the police officer’s cruiser layered with a video of an aboriginal man running.

“The song came first,” says BEARwitness. “When the officer was acquitted of any charges, that was the moment where we decided something needed to be said about this. We were starting to see some success at the time and we wanted to do something with that new voice that we were finding.”

As a tribute to Williams, ATCR started researching the story and came across a ton of news footage online.

“We started sampling those tracks,” says BEARwitness, and ATCR turned those samples into one of their trademark “Pow Wow Step” sounds.

The result is a stimulating, but not sensational, piece of media art.

“You have a street-involved aboriginal man walking down the street with a legal blade, he was deaf in one ear and a cop walked up to him, yelled at him and then shot him three times in the back — and then he got off. He is no longer on the force, but he was also never charged and that was the hardest part. It was awful that he was shot … it was broad daylight, it was on film … it’s that feeling that it’s still okay to kill Indians.”

Woodcarver is just one of several politically-charged films screening at Antimatter this year. Other themes include environmentalism, music, analogue techniques, found footage and more.

The festival, curated by Deborah de Boer and directed by Todd Eacrett of Deluge Contemporary Art, is a showcase of experimental cinema and international media art featuring performances, installations and screenings of feature-length and short films from as far away as Iran, Finland and Japan. The festival found a new home this year, taking over the 200-seat Vic Theatre (808 Douglas) with its 24-foot screen, clear sight-lines and professional projection and sound.

Also new this year is the democratic pay-what-you-can ticket structure, allowing anyone to enjoy any of the featured programs running Oct. 12 - 20 (suggested donation $5-8).

An installation of fictional film posters by Julio Orozco of Tijuana, Mexico will be on display in the back-lit poster boxes in the Vic Theatre’s lobby, while Adan De La Garza’s Methods for Composing Random Compositions will be featured in the Deluge gallery.

Also new this year is Tourist Season: Victoria Home Movie Day (Oct. 20, 2pm at 636 Yates), where everyone is encouraged to bring in their home movies shot in Victoria. If you have 8mm, Super-8 or 16mm film, contact organizers at or 250-385-3327 to arrange a drop off.

For full schedule visit M


The Antimatter Film Festival runs Oct. 12-20 at the Vic Theatre and Deluge Contemporary Art.


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