The Antimatter Film Festival

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3nr1nlTs3g[/embed] An international array of innovative and independent media art can be found at the 18th annual Antimatter Film Festival.

The Festival was filled with a variety of screenings, installations, live performances, and media hybrids, from Oct.16 to Halloween, in Victoria, B.C. Festival Director Todd Eacrett and the Curator, Deborah de Boer, initially developed the festival in 1998.  They had the intention to encourage a larger range of art exposure within the community by using the festival as a medium for underground, experimental art and films.

In the beginning, Antimatter took off on a small scale, solely featuring Canadian works, with  a majority of it being from the West Coast. Eventually, the festival gained international interest and praise. It wasn't long after the festival grew to the point that artists and filmmakers from all over world applied to participate. Eacrett credits the festival’s long history for its success. “Obviously, longevity helps, the longer you do something the more people get to know about it. Especially around the world. The word gets out,” he said.

Its goal was to portray interesting programming and a range of work that demonstrates what is happening throughout the globe. Through high quality programming, the festival provides audiences with the opportunity to immerse themselves  with art and media that cannot be found in the mainstream world.

“The idea is to try to get contemporary media work out there. Where people who aren't otherwise inclined to go into a gallery, or into a cinema, or into museum to see it. Can engage with it, as more of like an everyday occurrence,” said Eacrett.

Among the more stand-out pieces at the festival was the French-Canadian filmmaker, Francois Miron's, screening of his documentary film, Paul Sharits. The documentary tells the alluring story of the life and mysterious death of the legendary experimental filmmaker, Paul Sharits. Miron presented Sharits’ eccentric story from the perspective of the individuals he interviewed for the film, as well as showing clips of Sharits’ work. The indie film received admiration world wide, and was considered one of the most anticipated works featured at the festival.

Another Canadian filmmaker at the event was Thomas Kneubühler. With his short film Forward Looking Statements, Kneubuhler followed the festival’s mantra, by telling viewers what is happening in Canada, today. Forward Looking Statements brings light to a dispute over land in northern Canada that a major corporation wants to utilize as a iron mine, when it is a major hunting ground for the Inuit community of Aupaluk. He provides the company’s conference call as the only audio in the 4 minute piece, along with a perspective video of him travelling across the beautiful land. He provides an intimate look at the beauty of the environment, making viewers question the aftermath of the potential iron mine.

Alberta is another short film, created by the Toronto-based filmmaker Dan Browne, that was screened at the Antimatter Festival. The independent filmmaker created a short movie displaying the breath-taking nature that Alberta’s Banff and Jasper National Parks has to offer. It is a fast-pace piece that has a collage-effect of clips, making the movie extremely stimulating for the naked-eye.

Like these films, the Antimatter Film Festival introduced Victoria to new forms of art and entertainment. As well as, providing experimental artists, who are unknown by the general public, to have their moment centre stage.

“I think events, like what we do, that can really source, find, curate - I think what is maybe, quality work, strong work, challenging work, weird work, and bring it together in that kind of package. And put it together in a context that makes sense,” said Eacrett.

This festival ultimately helps reshape the idea of what art is to masses, exposing people to films, other than Hollywood blockbusters.