WNDX Festival of Moving Image screens innovative films

Showcasing local talent and exposing Winnipeg to international selections

A promotional poster for the 2021 WNDX Festival of Moving Image. Supplied photo.

The WNDX Festival of Moving Image has brought innovative images and films to Winnipeggers since 2005. The festival exposes audiences to both international works and films from the Prairie provinces, featuring groups often overlooked by mainstream festival circuits.

Co-directors Hagere Selam “shimby” Zegeye-Gebrehiwot and Heidi Phillips of WNDX are excited to present this year’s festival from Oct. 6 to 10.

“We at our core are experimental,” ZegeyeGebrehiwot says of the festival. “We try to prioritize work that challenges the norm and is groundbreaking in some sense.”

This year’s festival is a hybrid model. Striving for accessibility, the organizers have both virtual and in-person events, as well as a pay-what-you-can model, so that cost isn’t a barrier. Zegeye-Gebrehiwot says the festival’s vision is planned years in advance, with an open call released in the spring leading up to it.

“We get anywhere from 400 to 100 films that we go through and synthesize into four to six short programs,” ZegeyeGebrehiwot says. “It’s exciting to get familiar with people’s practices and be able to deliver that to Prairie audiences.”

While Phillips highlights the global aspect of the festival, Zegeye-Gebrehiwot adds that the festival stays true to its Prairie roots as well, featuring the work of filmmakers from Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

“We bring in international experimental shorts to a Prairie audience. That is something that is rare across the Prairies, to have that kind of programming,” Phillips says.

“We have a focus on Prairie regional work as well. There are a couple of Winnipeg filmmakers that are going to have shorts in the programs,” ZegeyeGebrehiwot says.

With both screenings and workshops, WNDX has something for everyone. Zegeye-Gebrehiwot is ecstatic for the Phytogram workshop with visiting artist Franci Duran. Phytogram is a photographic process “that uses the internal chemistry of plants for the creation of images on photographic emulsion.”

“Franci is coming in, and we are partnering with a (group) called Harbour Collective, and it is going to be a bit of an extravaganza. (Duran) will be giving that workshop on Saturday, and our workshop model ... is one that we consider a professional-development opportunity,” Zegeye-Gebrehiwot says.

Experimenting with analogue and eco-processing techniques, ZegeyeGebrehiwot adds that participants “will learn how to use plant material and other objects to make prints directly onto 16mm high-contrast film.”

Phillips is excited for opening night. The screening of the One Take Super 8 event, in which participants shoot and screen Super 8 films, is one locals are often excited for and is considered a community event.

The application process for workshops has been streamlined to a more simplified, accessible email approach and is no longer a complicated process involving CVs. “You can get the same amount of information with a more simplified process,” ZegeyeGebrehiwot says.

WNDX Festival of the Moving Image runs from Oct. 6 to 10. For information on when, where and how to attend, visit wndx.org.

Published in Volume 76, Number 05 of The Uniter (October 7, 2021)

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