Fine Local Product: Women-made videos from 1990

  • Event

Fine Local Product: Women-made videos from 1990

Sun, 11/11/2018 - 20:30 to Mon, 11/12/2018 - 14:15

“Fine Local Product: Women-made + queer shorts from 1990”

TWO screenings! Two cities! Two artists in attendance at TWO festivals:

RIDM (Montreal): 11 Nov. 2018, 8:30PM at Cinémathèque Québécoise 

Inside Out (Ottawa): 12 Nov. 2018, 2:15PM at National Gallery of Canada

This historic program marks a vital year in short form film by Canadian and Québécoise women. Grouping an array of documentary, PSA, and experimental work, “Fine Local Product” takes its name from a recap by NOW! Weekly writer Cameron Bailey of the 1990 women-made bumper crop of works which he considered “criminally underexhibited.”  From M. Bociurkiw’s unforgettably camp essay about lesbian experience Bodies in Trouble, to M. Mohabeer’s dialogic women of colour short Exposure, and queer-Montréal-defining Sex Garage doc We’re Here We’re Queer We’re Fabulous, bold treatments and political awareness were central to all. The confessional/documentary Récit d’A and animated testimonial “Prowling by Night” further show artists working under the urgency of threats to their queer communities’ survival: police brutality and AIDS, internalized homophobia and racism are addressed with honesty and witty activist aesthetics.

Debbie Douglas and Gabrielle Micallef’s women-focused AIDS documentary AnOther Love Story makes a special return here, after many years in the archives. We are proud to co-present this program with Inside Out Ottawa in collaboration with Carleton University as a reprise of its recent screening at the Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montréal. The screening will be followed by a discussion with Toronto-based filmmakers Marusya Bociurkiw and Michelle Mohabeer, moderated by Prof. Laura Horak.

In addition to presenting at the RIDM Talent Lab on Nov. 10, Prof. Bociurkiw will also launch her new book, Food was her Country at L'Euguélionne, librairie féministe, Sat. 10 Nov. 3pm, at 1426 rue Beaudry

Curated by Jordan Arseneault for the Queer Media Database Canada-Québec Project with the support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.


Laura Horak (moderator) is Associate Professor of Film Studies at Carleton University. Her first book, Girls Will Be Boys: Cross-Dressed Women, Lesbians, and American Cinema 1908-1934 (Rutgers UP, 2016), uses archival research to overturn long-standing assumptions about gender and sexuality in American film history. She is currently researching the history of transgender, Two Spirit, nonbinary, intersex, and gender-nonconforming filmmaking in Canada and the United States and creating a pilot online database to promote these filmmakers.

Marusya Bociurkiw is writer/director of 10 films and videos, including Bodies in Trouble (1990), and the author of five books, including the award-winning Comfort Food for Breakups: The Memoir of a Hungry Girl. She is a longtime media activist: her multi-genre work, which links issues of ethnicity, nation, sexuality, and social justice, has been presented on four continents. She is associate professor of media theory, and director of The Studio for Media Activism & Critical Thought, at Ryerson University in Toronto. Her essential feature-length doc This is Gay Propaganda: LGBT Rights and the War in Ukraine (2015) was the culmination of fieldwork and grassroots documentary evident in What’s the Ukrainian Word for Sex? (2009) and The Women Stayed: The Untold Story of the Euromaidan (2014). Released in fall, 2018, Food was her Country: Memoirs of a Queer Daughter (Caitlin Press) is a personal and political account of her tempestuous, and culinary, relationship with her mother.

Michelle Mohabeer, born in Guyana/South America is a Toronto based award-winning filmmaker, film scholar, teacher, writer, curator, and former music programmer/DJ on CKLN radio. She has also worked as a film programmer and arts administrator in the Toronto arts community. Michelle earned her PhD in Culture and Communication, with a Film Studies focus (University of Toronto, 2005), an MFA in Film Production, York University, (1998), BA honours in Film Studies, Carleton University (1986). Her films which include EXPOSURE (Five Feminist Minutes NFB/Studio D, Omnibus project), Child-Play, Coconut/Cane & Cutlass and others have garnered numerous accolades. She has taught Film Studies at Innis College, Cinema Studies (University of Toronto), at York University, and Film Production at Ryerson University (Continuing Education). She has participated in conferences as a presenter and moderator across Canada, the US and the Caribbean. Mohabeer’s experiment dialogic Blue in You (2008) is an intellectual and sensual journey that fulfilled many of the themes in her previous work. She is currently in production on a new video piece, sure to be watched attentively by the many admirers of the intellectuality-plus-embodiment that has become her signature.

Récit d’A

Esther Valiquette

| Canada/Québec | Minutage : 20 | Langue et sous-titres : Français et Anglais avec sous-titres bilingues

This experimental film combines animation techniques with images lifted from medical scans and still images of a desert. Le Récit d'A has become a canonical tape about the AIDS virus and the corporeal degenation it causes. The pun in the title (the "Story of A" sounds like "the Story of AIDS" in French) is deliberate reference to Valiquette's own battle with the disease


“Prowling by Night” - from Five Feminist Minutes

Gwendolyn & Co.

1990 | Canada | Minutage : 12 | Langue et sous-titres : VOA

Produced as part of the National Film Board’s Five Feminist Minutes, this collaborative work between Gwendolyn and fellow sex trade workers is an examination of police harassment, safe sex education and sex worker’s rights. Well received by the public and the critics, the film also won the award for Best First Short Film at La Mondiale de films et vidéos réalisés par des femmes in April 1991. 


Bodies in Trouble

Marusya Bociurkiw

1990 | Canada | Minutage : 15 | VOA

Bodies in Trouble exposes the lesbian body as a battlefield in the context of a right-wing backlash. Juxtaposing sexual passion with visceral fear, the lesbian eroticism presented by Bociurkiw is inscribed with danger and courage. Using the 1990's summer raid at the Sex Garage (and Polytechnique Massacre and the Oka and AIDS crises) in Montreal as a backdrop, Bociurkiw positions her film as a vibrant and pointed critique of the political and social abuse against queer communities.



Michelle Mohabeer

1990 | Canada | Minutage : 8 | VOA

Exposure is an experimental documentary that explores issues of race, sexuality and cultural identity. A dialogue between two lesbians of colour (Japanese-Canadian and Afro-Caribbean women) is intercut with photographs, texts, paintings and voice-over.


We're Here, We're Queer, We're Fabulous

Maureen Bradley & Danielle Comeau

1990 | Canada | Minutage : 28 | Anglais et Français avec sous-titres bilingues en alternance

A documentary video about the violent police attack of a peaceful lesbian and gay demonstration, in Montreal in 1990. Going back and forth between archive footage of the violent events and the month-long social gatherings that came out of the police raid on the Sex Garage underground queer party night, the doc-duo demonstrate the strong and liberating effects of community.


AnOther Love Story

Debbie Douglas & the late Gabrielle Micallef

1990 | Canada | 29 | VOA

The first black-(co)-authored video about HIV made in Canada. Part safer sex public-service announcement, part low-key dramatization about lesbian relationships during the crisis, this mid-length tape is a rare, key video for this period in its depiction of black lesbian characters that eschew standard tropes. The believable, endearing script and classic queer fashions make AnOther Love Story both a prevention-messaging time-capsule and a document of the attitudinal and representational shift from the height of the AIDS crisis.