Thirty is a landmark year. For most people, it can mean the beginning of regular mirror checks for wrinkles, getting a real adult job and relinquishing the shield for their mistakes known as “well, I was in my twenties…” Inanities aside, the bigger picture is that, like wine, things get better with age. So don’t wait for tantrums from the International Festival of Films on Art, which hits the big three-zero this month.
The festival, which spans over 11 days in nine venues this year, celebrates all kinds of art forms captured on film, including “painting, culture, architecture, but also design, fashion, photography, literature, dance, music,” noted FIFA director and founder René Rozon. “So it’s open to all the arts, of all periods.”
The festival was born out of Rozon’s realization when he was abroad in Europe. He noted that there were films on art that most people wouldn’t see simply because they were unaware of their existence.
“I was working for an art magazine and so I used to see a lot of exhibitions, go to art fairs, and I used to see quite a good number of films on art, which never even came here, which nobody even heard of,” he recalled. “So I thought, after a few years, maybe I should bring these all together and start something, start a festival.”
FIFA debuted in its first year with just 50 films from 12 countries and a single venue. In contrast, this year’s edition will see 232 films from 27 countries, with over 35,000 attendees expected.
Like most people celebrating their 30th, FIFA is going all out by introducing special films and events. This includes Une idée folle—Un hommage au FIFA, a film by Alain Fleischer that looks back at the last 30 years of the festival.
“It’s a film about the 30 years, so there will be the people who know the festival well, professionals are being interviewed, and there will be excerpts from a selection of films within the film to celebrate our 30 years,” explained Rozon. “So that’s a gift from the filmmaker to us, we had never planned to make a film ourselves.”
Keeping with the new James Cameron-approved cinematic trend, the festival will also be presenting its first 3D film, Lost Action: Trace. Its opening film, Pieter Bruegel’s The Mill and the Cross, features special effects as well.
“Sections of paintings are animated alternatively, and it’s fascinating,” said Rozon.
FIFA will also give spectators a break from the screen by holding art installations, such as Jim Verburg’s Séquence/Still, at the Cinémathèque québécoise, that will be ongoing throughout the festival’s run.
For students looking to dip their feet in the FIFA pool for the first time, Rozon suggested beginning with films close to one’s comfort zone. He mentioned Wild Thing, a rock ‘n’ roll doc featuring Iggy Pop, and branching out from there.
Most of all, Rozon wants to see the biggest possible number of people experiencing films on art, fulfilling his mission for starting the festival.
“I’m looking forward to having as many people [as possible] taking advantage of the festival, which was created, really, to enhance our lives,” he said. “Because the artists always have a great vision of life, and it’s fascinating, it brings us into a new world.”
The International Festival of Films on Art runs from March 15 to 25. Venues include Concordia’s J.A. De Sève Cinema in the LB building. For more information, check out www.artfifa.com.
Five films worth your buck this weekend
Cinémas d’horreur: Apocalypse, virus et zombies
Cinémathèque québécoise, Salle Claude-Jutra, room 11, 8:30 p.m.
Place des Arts, 5e Salle, room 15, 8:30 p.m.
Il était une fois… A Clockwork Orange
Cinémathèque québécoise, Salle Claude-Jutra, room 42, 8:30 p.m.
Behind the Poster
Goethe-Institut, room 44, 8:30 p.m.
Blue Alchemy: Stories of Indigo
Cinémathèque québécoise, Salle Fernard-Seguin, room 66, 6 p.m.