When the 19th annual Victoria Film Festival hits local movie screens between February 1st and 10th, Fine Arts students will once again have their work seen alongside more than 150 tantalizing Canadian and international films.
Connor Gaston’s Bardo Light
Primary among them is Department of Writing graduate student Connor Gaston, who made local news late last year when his short film Bardo Light was accepted into the Toronto International Film Festival and another of his shorts, Stuck, screened at the Whistler Film Festival. (TIFF programmer Magali Simard described Bardo Light as “a modern-day chiller that merges Mary Shelley with the Tibetan Book of the Dead, [this] is a bold and unique experience.”)
Victoria audiences will now have the opportunity to see Bardo Light—which stars Department of Theatre grad Shaan Rahman and features a cameo by Writing chair Bill Gaston—as part of the “Little Horrors” shorts program at 9:30pm Saturday, February 9, at the Vic Theatre.
Emily Piggford in Frost
You can also see Department of Theatre grad Emily Piggford as part of that same “Little Horrors” night when she takes the lead in the short film Frost, created by Pacific and Asian Studies alumni Jeremy Ball. Frost has been described as “stunning” and “epic,” thanks to its barren, snow-covered landscapes and dystopic sci-fi edge. (Check out this article about Ball by Michael Reid, film writer for the local Times Colonist).
Catch a video interview with Piggford here from when Frost also played at TIFF, or you can read an interview with her here. And proving that not all filmmakers come out of Writing or Theatre, recent UVic biology grad Julia Hostetler has her own short film Quiescence on view as well. Catch it as part of the shorts program “Kids Amok!” at 2pm on Sunday, February 10, also at the Vic.
Also of note is the work done behind the scenes by student jurors Charles Wagner, Caitlen Jessen and Max Johnson, as well as busy local filmmaker and Writing prof Maureen Bradley, who was once again on the VFF programming committee and will be doing a workshop as part of the annual Springboard industry discussion series. She’ll be participating in “The Drama Workshop” session, which runs from 2-3:30pm Saturday, February 2 at the Vic. “I’ll be presenting work and discussing narrative filmmaking for emerging filmmakers,” says Bradley.
UVic’s annual Concerto Concert is coming up fast on Friday, January 25, and this year’s winners are highly anticipating the rehearsals and performance with the Concerto Orchestra. Comprised of School of Music students, faculty and alumni, the Concerto Orchestra has been backing up concerto competition winners since the early 1980s.
Congratulations go out to this year’s Concerto Competition winners: Jiten Beairsto (violin), Sabrina Sun (flute), Daniel Jordan (piano) and Erin Ronningen (mezzo-soprano).
Performing Ernest Chausson’s ever-popular Poème for violin and orchestra, Op.25, is third year performance major, Jiten Beairsto. “I decided I wanted to play the piece years ago, but it wasn’t until last spring that I mustered the courage to properly learn and perform it,” says Beairsto. Having performed in a variety of orchestras, including the Victoria Symphony and the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, this will be his debut as a soloist. “I really don’t know what to expect, but my guess is that it will be equal parts nerve-wracking, challenging, and thrilling.” Beairsto has had a “thoroughly positive” few years at UVic and credits his instructor, Sharon Stanis, along with the Lafayette String Quartet, for their guidance.
Performing Frank Martin’s one-movement Ballade, second-year graduate student, Sabrina Sun, was drawn to “the intensity of the piece as well the technical challenge” of performing such a wide range on the flute. A popular work in twentieth century flute repertoire, Sun has spent several months mastering the wide leaps while trying to retain the melodic lyricism of the piece. Her instructor, Suzanne Snizek “has been great,” says Sun. “She has experience in both performing and teaching and I have learnt so much from her.” Following graduation, Sun hopes to enter a DMA program while continuing to teach the flute.
Less frequently performed than the second and third concertos, fourth year piano major, Daniel Jordan, is looking forward to bringing Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 1 to the stage. Originally written in 1891 when the composer was 18 years old, Jordan will perform the revised version of 1917, which he enjoys for its “heightened emotionality.” Jordan has been working on the concerto for over a year, and thanks his instructor, May Ling Kwok, for her “tremendous support and perseverance” as well as the UVic community for providing inspiration and introducing him to many new concepts.
Mezzo soprano, Erin Ronningen, has been practicing Maurice Ravel’s Shéhérazade since last spring under the tuition of her instructor, Anne Grimm. “The music is an exotic and colourful narrative of yearning for fantastic adventure,” describes Ronningen. “The experience of singing this piece with an orchestra is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m ready to jump into the colourful sea that Ravel created.” Ronningen is in her fourth year at UVic and aspires to sing with orchestras and continue to study performance techniques with great teachers upon graduation. “Anne Grimm has been an inspiring, dedicated and worldly teacher and mentor,” says Ronningen. “Professor Benjamin Butterfield’s enthusiasm for performance is also very contagious.
The Concerto Concert takes place on Friday, January 25 at 8pm in the University Centre Farquhar Auditorium. Tickets are $17.50 & $13.50 and available through the UVic Ticket Centre and at the door.
Two Department of Writing grads have made the prestigious Waterstones Eleven list of debut literary stars of 2013. Both Marjorie Celona and D.W. Wilson found themselves not only on the list along with a baker’s dozen of other international authors, but also in the same location when the announcement was made at Waterstones Piccadilly in London, England, on January 14.
Marjorie Celona (standing, centre) and D.W. Wilson (right, in hat)
Now in its third year, the 2013 Waterstones Eleven list featured writers from six different countries. “The Waterstones Eleven puts new writing at the forefront of the literary calendar and has quickly become a celebration our readers trust,” noted Waterstones Managing Director James Daunt at the event.
Wilson, the previous winner
of the likes of the BBC Short Story Prize and the Man Booker Prize Scholarship, makes the list for his debut novel Ballistics
. Celona, meanwhile, earned the accolade for her 2012 breakthrough novel Y
, which was longlisted for the Giller Prize.
Previous Waterstones Eleven authors have gone on to dominate the publishing world both critically and commercially in the year that followed. Rachel Joyce‘s The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
, was 2012’s best selling debut, as well as being longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, whilst The Land of Decoration
by Grace McCleen won last year’s Desmond Elliott Prize. The inaugural Waterstones Eleven included the top ten book of 2011, When God Was A Rabbit
by Sarah Winman, and Téa Obreht‘s Orange Prize-winning The Tiger’s Wife
.Here’s the full Waterstones Eleven 2013 list:
Pig’s Foot by Carlos Acosta (Bloomsbury), Idiopathy by Sam Byers (Fourth Estate), Y by Marjorie Celona (Faber and Faber), The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence (Hodder & Stoughton), Burial Rites by Hannah Kent (Picador), The Fields by Kevin Maher (Little, Brown), The Son by Michel Rostain (Tinder Press), The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan (Doubleday Ireland), Marriage Material by Sathnam Sanghera (William Heinemann), Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi (Viking), Ballistics by D.W. Wilson (Bloomsbury).
A wee sampling of Collier’s current exhibit
If you missed Allan Collier‘s public talk last week—the first visitor of 2013 in the long-running Department of Visual Arts Visiting Artist series—don’t worry: you can still catch his great exhibit of post-WWII Canadian design in the Visual Arts building’s Audain Gallery through to January 25. Collier has curated several exhibitions on the topic in Vancouver, Winnipeg, and Victoria, with the most recent local exhibit being the AGGV’s 2011 The Modern Eye: Craft and Design in Canada 1940-1960. Collier will also be spending some time each day sitting his exhibition, so be sure to drop by the Audain Gallery and say hello. Bet you see something that was in your house when you were growing up!
An installation by Ed Pien
This week’s Visiting Artist is Ed Pien. Born in Taiwan, the now Toronto-based artist Pien has been drawing for nearly 30 years, and has exhibited nationally and internationally. He has taught at ECAD, NSCAD and OCAD, and is currently teaching at the University of Toronto. Pien is in town as part of the AGGV’s January exhibit, Traces: Fantasy Worlds and Tales of Truth. Catch him at 8pm Wednesday, January 16, in room A162 of the Visual Arts building.
Hot on the heels of that session, Visual Arts will have their second Visiting Artist of the year when Blue Republic pops in. Blue Republic—also known as collaborative multidisciplinary artists Anna Passakas and Radoslaw Kudlinski—will talk about their fascinating history working with other artists, groups, and international centres of independent artistic research. That’s at 8pm Wednesday, January 23, in room A162 of the Visual Arts building. They’re in town to open Crystal Palace, an exhibit at Deluge Contemporary, through to March 2.
Baden’s “Tender Trepanation”
While February’s Visiting Artist roster is still being established, we already know that sculptor Mowry Baden will be coming. One of Victoria’s most acclaimed—and often controversial—artists, the Governor General’s Award-winning Mowry Baden has influenced a generation of sculptors in Canada and the U.S. with his engaging, participatory installations. For over 40 years, he has challenged contemporary sculpture through a staggering number of projects and artworks that borrow from psychology, architecture and performance—and he also helped build UVic’s Visual Arts department into the well-respected school it is today, and he remains a Professor Emeritus to this day.
Baden has had solo and group exhibitions across North America, including Los Angeles, Mexico City, Montreal, Vancouver and New York (including MoMA), and his work is represented in collections in Canada and the U.S. He has been commissioned to create public art works in Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Pittsburgh, Washington and Victoria, where he lives. Hear him speak at 8pm Wednesday, February 13
Room A162 of UVic’s Visual Arts building.
Robert Chaplin with an enlarged image of his nanobook
Also appearing in February is Visual Arts alumnus and Guiness Book of World Records record holder Robert Chaplin. The Vancouver-based Chaplin stepped into the media spotlight by creating the smallest reproduction of a printed book. As reported in the Vancouver Sun, Chaplin’s children’s book Teeny Ted from Turnip Town was “etched onto crystal-line silicon using a focused ion beam with the training and equipment of Simon Fraser University scientists in 2007.” But the 1990 Visual Arts graduate only found out this year that he had been honoured by Guinness.
You’d need very, very strong glasses to read this story to your kids
Chapin’s $20,000 one-of-a-kind “nanobook” measures 0.07 mm by 0.1 mm and is made of 30 linked micro-tablets—but no matter how good your vision is, you’ll need an electron microscope to read it. And in order to make a more generally accessible print version of Teeny Ted, Chaplin launched a Kickstarter campaign to create a “large print” version and successfully raised the $17,000 needed to produce it. Talk about thinking big with a small project!
Robert Chaplin will be on campus from 9:30am to noon on Saturday, February 9, in UVic’s David Lam Auditorium as part of the annual Alumni Week events.
Coming up in March: Dave Dyment (March 6) and Sarah Anne Johnson (March 13).
Who doesn’t love Grim and Fischer?
Department of Theatre grad Kate Braidwood returns to Victoria with her award-winning co-production Grim and Fischer: A Deathly Comedy in Full-Face Mask. Appearing as part of Intrepid Theatre’s new Winterlab theatre festival, Braidwood’s hilarious, delightful and surprisingly moving Grim and Fischer plays 8pm January 30-31 at Metro Studio.
Braidwood—co-artistic director of the WONDERHEADS theatre company—is an actor, deviser, teacher, director and a professional mask maker. She’s the one responsible for the giant creations used in WONDERHEADS’ work and whose masks are used on stages, in films and in classrooms around the world. As an actor she has performed nationally and internationally, including credits with Portland’s Miracle Theatre, locals Theatre SKAM, California’s Dell’Arte Company and Four on the Floor, and Japan’s Furano Natural Studio, among others.
Phoenix grad Kate Braidwood unmasked
After graduating from Phoenix with an acting BFA, Braidwood went on to earn an MFA in Ensemble Based Physical Theatre from Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre, where she trained as an actor-creator, studying the development of original, physically driven work in ensemble. It was at Dell’Arte that her passion for mask was truly ignited and developed, during which time she trained in the Italian form of Commedia Dell’Arte, studied mask design with Bruce Marrs, worked with Berlin-based mask company Familie Flöz, and created her own thesis project in the style of larval mask. Committed to developing joyful, sublime and truly magical work for the stage, she teamed up with another Dell’Arte graduate, Andrew Phoenix, to create the WONDERHEADS in 2009.
Grim and Fischer is a new dish made of old ingredients. It is performed in full-face mask—a wordless, whimsical form rarely seen on North American stages which audiences have described as watching a living cartoon or “live-action Pixar.” When Death comes to visit Mrs. Fischer, this tenacious granny isn’t ready to breathe her last, resulting in multi-award winning physical theatre comedy that confronts important questions like, what is it to know your end is nigh? Can you escape death? And can you hit death in the face with a frying pan and get away with it?