The Mighty Niagara Film Fest proudly presents a two part series dedicated to the St. Catharines-born experimental filmmaker, Richard Kerr. Ground Zero: Homecoming of Richard Kerr celebrates this founding member of the Escarpment School — a loose collective of filmmakers with an interest in landscape and auto-biography. Kerr has produced an expansive body of work in analog film and digital video that has screened at festivals and has been collected by museums and galleries around the world. Now based in Montreal, this is the first showcase of his work in Niagara.
Two special event screenings in this year’s festival program include a focus on Kerr’s early works Canal + The Last Days of Contrition from the 1980s presented at RiverBrink Art Museum and his most recent film Field Trip presented at The Film House at PAC where the filmmaker will be in attendance and a Q+A will be hosted by Anthony Kinik of the Brock University Film Society at PAC.
Kerr’s film The Demi-Monde (2015), a digitized celluloid collage with Hollywood footage, will be projected nightly as a free media installation on the facade of the old Town Cinema in downtown St.Catharines.
This screening includes Kerr’s early works from the 1980’s:
Canada, 1981. Directed by Richard Kerr. 22 min. NR
The imagery of “Canal” captures the activity of freighters, ship’s crews, dock workers and the historical masonry that the original Welland Canal was constructed from… The film is about going into my “own world of youth” and spontaneously documenting the canal environment as an adult.
“Through Kerr’s use of both colour and black and white film stocks, selectively chosen to contrast present with past events, and also through his combination of imagery and text, he invokes the canal as a living presence. The canal itself becomes witness to all events that have occurred or will occur along it. Returned to over and over in ‘Canal’ is imagery of the passage of massive forms of freighters and rock formations as they enter the film frame, swell out to its edges, then ’empty out’ the frame in slow, deliberate movements. The film frame itself becomes a ‘lock’ for the flow of present images – particularities of light, texture and rhythm – as they reverberate in the memory of the filmmaker.” – From the program notes for “The Frontier,” PBS Buffalo
The Last Days of Contrition
Canada, 1988. Directed by Richard Kerr. 35 min. NR
Shot in the late 1980s in deserts of the American southwest, LAST DAYS is a poetic, harrowing vision of the apocalyptic consequences of militarism and the bankruptcy of the American ideal. Set after the fall, disembodied voices prophesize and attest over a swirling ménage of unsettling desert landscape, weaponry, and dystopian nationalist symbolism.