Public art exhibition celebrates Canadian filmmakers

Engagement manager Marta McDonald discusses ‘Film x Design’

Outdoor art installation features work from local artists.
Credit: 
Supplied by KCFF

A public art exhibition called Film x Design has been unveiled through the Kingston Canadian Film Festival (KCFF). Exhibition pieces are on display in Kingston at Paved Paradise on Brock Street, across from Market Square and at the Broom Factory at 305 Rideau St.

The installation is a celebration of Canadian filmmaking, with art pieces dedicated to different Canadian directors who have influenced cinema.

The Journal spoke with Marta McDonald, KCFF engagement manager, about the production and unveiling of Film x Design.

“[Our team] just selected six [directors] they thought showed a vast range of style and aesthetic in Canadian film, and [we] let the artists go from there,” McDonald said.

Curator Emily Sanders, PhD candidate in Queen’s Screen Cultures and Curatorial Studies program, worked with KCFF to select the filmmakers highlighted in each art piece.

“Emily wrote about each filmmaker and the impact that they’ve had on Canadian film in general, like historically and how it will impact Canadian film in the future,” McDonald said.

For the accompanying artwork, Film x Design features work by Kingston-based artists GHY Cheung, Grace Dixon, and Benjamin Nelson. Each artist was assigned two directors to highlight: Cheung was given Alanis Obomsawin and Deepa Mehta, Dixon was given Atom Egoyan and Denys Arcand, and Nelson was given David Cronenberg and Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers.

The three artists were free to create their pieces based on their own interpretations of the work of their assigned directors.

“I like something that has a referential point,” McDonald said.

“You can sort of say, ‘Oh, I wonder if that means this, or if that came from this.’”

Film x Design began its development when KCFF’s director and associate director were thinking about how they could marry the idea of film with other mediums.

“We run a film festival in March, and obviously it’s showing films in the cinema,” McDonald said. “[They considered] what other mediums could be used to showcase film, Canadian film specifically.”

The installation can be enjoyed by people with varying levels of film knowledge. For many, it will expose them to directors they haven’t heard of before. 

McDonald hopes the exhibition’s audience is inspired to further research the featured directors and their cinematic work.

“[Film x Design] just takes the artist's interpretation and gives [audiences] a starting point to explore someone in Canadian film,” McDonald said.

She hopes Film x Design will have another iteration in the future. 

“I think it’s twofold, in that it’s a great way to showcase the styles in Canadian film and different directors that people may be unfamiliar with, but also showcase Kingston artists.”

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