Exploring the unknown

Local filmmaker’s experimental film to screen at popular U.S. festival

A scene from Cam Woykin’s My Life in Dreams.

A local filmmaker’s latest project has been accepted to screen in competition at the prestigious Ann Arbor Film Festival.

Cam Woykin’s experimental drama My Life in Dreams will be shown at the festival, which takes place in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Mar. 24 to 29. It is the second oldest film festival in North America.

Inspired in part by an episode of the TV series Alfred Hitchcock Presents, My Life in Dreams is an eight-minute journey through a middle-aged man’s subconscious. Woykin uses different forms of film, from the traditional and grainy 16 mm to the clarity of mini-DVD, to depict the man’s different stages of sleep. A haunting score accompanies the black and white, dream-like imagery to create a dark atmosphere.

“It’s dark in terms of the unknown. The unknown scares us,” Woykin said by phone last week.

Born in Calgary, Woykin originally attended the University of Lethbridge to study fine arts and play baseball. It was not until he was midway through a BFA in photography and video that he realized he wanted to make films. In retrospect, Woykin says his segue into filmmaking made sense, even if it was not always his goal.

“I was always telling stories… I made comic books when I was younger [and] I told stories with photographs,” he said.

It’s dark in terms of the unknown. The unknown scares us.

Cam Woykin, filmmaker

Since graduating in 2003, Woykin has made 16 short films which have been screened in Canada as well as internationally. But the Ann Arbor Film Festival is the largest event he has been involved in. A festival of this magnitude gives artists the opportunity to screen their works to a large industry audience, but also provides them with a chance to create industry contacts and liaise with other filmmakers.

“It`s important as a filmmaker to have that exchange,” Woykin said. “There is a lot of growth.”

Even though he is not a native Winnipegger, Woykin has immersed himself in the local arts community. He is currently the training and outreach co-ordinator for The Winnipeg Film Group and works to organize the several workshops and seminars that the organization puts on.

He’s also scheduled to teach a class for the Forum Art Institute this spring and has been nominated for the Winnipeg Arts Council`s On the Rise Award – an award given to an emerging artist in any discipline whose career span has not exceeded five years.

Currently, Woykin is working on a feature film and has been accepted to several Master of Fine Arts programs for the next school year. He is eager to return to the academic environment and focus on making films, confident about what his future has in store.

“If you are passionate about what you do, you`ll be successful at what you do,” he said.

Published in Volume 63, Number 25 of The Uniter (March 26, 2009)

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