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8Fest. Photo: Amy Desjarlais

MUSKRAT Magazine checked out the 8 fest hosted at the Polish Combatants Hall in Toronto, Jan 30, 2015. As a relative newcomer to the film and media arts scene, I found myself curious about this Small-Gauge Film Festival. I respect any artist who chooses to express his or herself through their chosen medium. The eclectic array of short films in the “Canadiana” collection ranged from 2mins to 11mins, with each piece resonating in its own unique manner. It appears that 8fest aficionados are hoping that Super 8, 8mm, 9.5mm media will do for film what vinyl does for the music lovers which is to maintain a depth of quality, texture and connection to the medium while creating an unforgettably rich atmosphere and an unmistakable visual ambiance that small format film lends to each artist’s story.

Clayton, Alek, Lulu, and Lindsay Photo: Amy Desjarlais.
Curator Clayton Windatt and filmmakers Alek Belanger, Lulu Keating, and Lindsay Sarazin Photo: Amy Desjarlais.

I had a chance to speak with 17 year old emerging artist, Alek Belanger from New Liskard and Curator, Clayton Windatt from North Bay while I was there. Here is what they said:

MM: What’s the significance of this project?
AB: For Beyond the Edge, I wanted to emphasize the north, because I have a lot of peers who whine that there is nothing to do in a small town. I started to get into that negativity. I turned all negative emotions into one character, to discover the beauty of the north. It’s your choice.

From “Beyond the Edge” by Alek Belanger


What was it like working with Super 8 (film)? I didn’t use the Super 8 camera, though they transferred my film (from digital) to 8mm. It sounded like a complicated process, though it (super8 film) added this vintage and rustic look to it. It was my first time (seeing the film) at the 8fest.

You filmed in digital, it sounded like a long process were there any challenges?
AB: In the short film, we had to drive everywhere in Temagami & New Liskard (for locations). One other hurdle was the editing process, my Mac didn’t have enough memory, it was telling me how there wasn’t enough space left. Though luckily I was able to publish it

Canadiana Curator Clayton Windatt: “8fest was a great experience for me, I found working with a mixture of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal artists to be a great way to represent the North and attempt to look at regional identity. If helped me to better understand who is doing work in each region and also see the need for increased resources to those regions as technology is rarely available to the artists working there.”

Curator Clayton Windatt. Photo: Amy Desjarlais
Curator Clayton Windatt. Photo: Amy Desjarlais

Words from the filmmakers:

(Saying of small gauge films) “It totally revitalized (for me), the film message because there is such a beauty and  texture to it that cannot be replaced” – Lulu Keating, dog=god  & Wedding on Mussel Island

“The texture and look of it, really interesting.” – Dan Sokolowski, Eh to ZED

“It’s really great that we have a space to showcase (our) work” – Lindsay Sarazin, Lost & The Trade    

From "Beyond the Edge" by Alek Belanger
From “Beyond the Edge” by Alek Belanger
From "Beyond the Edge" by Alek Belanger
From “Beyond the Edge” by Alek Belanger
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