From film fest to media art

Antimatter film and arts festival brings 150 films from around the world to the city in a non-competitive environment

Dominik Spritzendorfer and Elena Tikhonova explore the makeshift technology used behind Russia’s Iron Curtain to make synthesized music in Elektro Moskva, showing Oct. 18 at Deluge Art Gallery (634 Yates), as part of the Antimatter Media Art festival.

Todd Eacrett would be the first to tell you the Internet is a weird place.

But while most people gravitate to cute cat YouTube videos online, Eacrett and his colleagues dive head-first into the fringes of the visual arts in search of the most intriguing, challenging and forward-thinking projects from around the world to present each year at Antimatter, a 17-day film and arts festival in Victoria.

“With the Internet, everyone has access to everything all the time, but it’s also overwhelming” says Eacrett, festival director and a graphic designer by trade. “This festival provides an opportunity to look at a small part of that in a way that has been contexualized and selected for people’s enjoyment.”

Eacrett and curator Deborah de Boer have chosen more than 150 films from 20 countries for the 16th annual Antimatter, a condensed sampling of feature-length and short films to be shown at six venues throughout downtown Victoria.

The majority of films, including opening night’s Elektro Moskva on Oct. 18, take place at Deluge Contemporary Art, 634 Yates St. The film explores Russia’s electronic music pioneers under a Communist regime, where homemade synthesizers and drum machines spurred an isolated genre from behind the iron curtain.

The by-donation screenings are a celebration of alternative visual art, and as such lack the judging component of a traditional film festival.

“It’s just nice to see what the rest of the world is doing,” Eacrett says. “It can be kind of difficult here with the size of the city and the isolation to know what’s going on elsewhere.”

New this year, Antimatter is partnering with the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and Legacy Art Gallery.

On Oct. 25, the AGGV will host a live performance of Jodie Mack’s Dusty Stacks of Mom: The Poster Project, billed as part animated rock opera, part love letter to a mother’s slowly disappearing poster business.

Also of interest at the AGGV is The Auroratones Project, a bizarre and failed attempt by experimental filmmakers to create videos for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder following the Second World War.

“It was based on pseudo-science so it’s presented a bit tongue and cheek now,” Eacrett says.

Other feature films include the Canadian premiere of U.K. artist Jennet Thomas’ School of Change, Scott Stark’s The Realist and the world premiere of Irene Lusztig’s The Motherhood Archives.

Legacy Art Gallery will also be screening some recently restored films by local filmmaker Karl Spreitz, an important figure in Victoria’s film scene of the 1970s and ‘80s.

Antimatter runs Oct. 18 to Nov. 3.

For a downloadable program and more information, visit antimatter.ws.

 

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