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JUNE 3  |  7:00 PM  |  Dave Barber Cinematheque

The sequel to a special Halloween shorts block presented by Open City Cinema over 10 years ago —at the very beginning. Rather than form a tight perimeter around the concept of “horror” as a genre, these 7 films run the gamut of the spooky, weird, and eerie. Paranormal activity, natural phenomena, and digital hypnosis are among the unsettling delights on display.

Effulgent Gleam, dir. Leonardo Pirondi
2022 | BR/US | 7 | 16mm on video | Canadian premiere
A cave named 'Gruta de las Pesadillas' was known to be a place whereby entering the cave with a torch or lamp, you would see your darkest nightmares reflected onto the shiny minerals from the inside. I was given access to a written document describing the experience of a man at the cave in 1914. He writes about leaving his house, going to the cave, and his experience there—This film is a visual and sonic recreation of the described event.

An Example of Lee Roth Fog Under Laboratory Conditions, dir. Ryan Betschart
2022 | US | 3 | 16mm on video | Manitoban premiere
Spiritual mists are a stand in for the nuts and bolts details surrounding the life of enigmatic Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth. A personality perfectly captured in eruptions of ecstatic sound.

Soft Rio, dir. Zara Joan Miller

2020 | UK | 4.5 | 16mm on video | Canadian premiere
Soft Rio plays between erotic and erratic productions of layered movement and sound. Inspired by Audre Lorde's 1978 essay "Uses of the Erotic", the film was shot on the stage of the Rio Cinema in London (once a striptease stage) featuring dancer Astrid Sweeney and sound by @xcrswx.  

Horror Vacui, dir. Fritz Polzer
2022 | DE | 12.5 | video | Canadian premiere
Using both an artistic and ethnographic approach, we are led to a seance in a basement gym outside of Toronto, Canada. A group meets up to speak to ghosts and spirits. This is a fairly unmasked expression of the haunting character of the hyperreality Western culture has become but simultaneously feels like a type ur-cultural act of coming together. So maybe it is an examination of the human trait to build up a story together and believe in what we would like to believe in.

camera is the culprit, dir. Karissa Hahn

2023 | US | 5 | video | World premiere
Are you seeing dead bird carcasses in front of your house? If so, how many have you found and in what period of time? Next is to identify which species you are finding on the ground in front of the camera. Are we talking about mourning doves, pigeons, house finches, sparrows, etc? Lastly, it should be obvious that the camera is the culprit. Your door-cam is killing the birds and you need to take it down immediately.

The Kittens' Tea Party, dir. MiruFiyu
2022 | CA | 10.5 | video | Canadian premiere
In a quiet residential neighbourhood, the tension between domestic, wild and work animals is caught on home security camera, recorded through windows and souvenired in old postcards. A found-footage piece made as a reaction to the internet's obsession with pets, The Kittens' Tea Party allegorizes speciesism.

Blue Light Blue
, dir. Anna Hawkins
2021 | US/CA | 15.5 | video | Manitoban premiere
In Blue Light Blue, the blue light emitted from the backlit LED screens of cellphones, tablets and laptops is materialized and personified in a pseudo-horror film. The perceptions of day and night are confused and the private space of the bedroom is transgressed. Here, screens masquerade as mirrors or windows or light sources, all the while surveilling us as we gaze into them.

lee roth fog.png

Stills from: Leonardo Pirondi's Effulgent Gleam, Ryan Betschart's An Example of Lee Roth Fog Under Laboratory Conditions, and Anna Hawkins' Blue Light Blue

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