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FIFA Festival: Our 5 film picks include Kraftwerk, railway taggers and Quebec illustrators

Crédit photo : KRAFTWERK-POP ART
FIFA Festival: Our 5 film picks include Kraftwerk, railway taggers and Quebec illustrators
The FIFA (Festival international du film sur l’art) is a little like Wikipedia, live: an encyclopedic program of films on the arts, broadly defined to include everything from theatre, dance, music, and cinema to cooking and architecture. This year’s edition offers films from 34 countries, in addition to events such as exhibitions and talks. Documentaries, especially profiles, form the bulk of programming, but there are also installations as well as original animated and experimental films. If the 270-film catalogue seems overwhelming, here are five picks to get you started:
1. Google and the World Brain
The debate over the ownership of books in the digital realm is nothing short of a battle for the power over the “world brain,” according to this 2013 documentary by director Ben Lewis. Do Google’s digitization projects make it a Robin Hood figure, democratizing the accessibility of ideas? Or is Google just in first place in today’s equivalent to the space race, eager to situate itself as the gatekeeper to planetary memory? Following the March 25 screening, Le Devoir journalist Fabien Deglise will lead a roundtable discussion with UdeM law professor Ysolde Gendreau, Culture Libre editor Olivier Charbonneau, Copibec Executive Director Hélène Messier and the Director of Digitization of BAnQ, Tristan Müller.

2. Kraftwerk – Pop Art
The trippiest party of the festival will take place on March 27, when a documentary on Kraftwerk, the reclusive German band that revolutionized pop by pioneering its earliest electronica, will be blasted on six screens simultaneously at the SAT. Once the film has gotten you in the mood, DJs Alex Ortiz (We are Wolves), Soundshaper and Mathieu Beauséjour will spin music by and influenced by Kraftwerk, who were awarded a Lifetime Achievement Grammy this past January.
3. Freights / Van Horne Waverly
This double bill of short local docs runs on March 21 and 23. First up is Freights, which follows Montreal native Patrick O’Connor on the trail of railway taggers; the moving canvases of these graffiti artists often go unseen by urbanites. Then there’s Geneva Guérin’s ode to Mile End’s prominent creative scene. Van Horne Waverly (see image below) visits the neighbourhood’s “Twilight Sculpture Garden,” home to fifty-plus artist squatters.

4. Alan Yentob Tribute
Alan Yentob is a leading force in British culture. Born in 1947, he worked his way up at the BBC, eventually heading both BBC One and BBC Two. He is now BBC’s Creative Director. Yentob will be in town for a masterclass on March 29, which will follow a screening of I Thought I Was Smaller – A Short History of Mel Brooks. This is one of nine films that will screen throughout the festival in honor of Yentob. The films, profiling David Bowie, Andy Warhol, Orson Welles and Werner Herzog, among others, feature Yentob in many roles: director, writer, producer, narrator.

5. BD QC
After a showing of three episodes of ARTV’s BD QC on March 21, comic book lovers will get to meet local authors Michel Rabagliati, Jean-Paul Eid and Thierry Labrosse and schmooze with the filmmakers at a vernissage of a comic exhibition that runs until the end of May. The series, hosted by Sophie Cadieux, profiles the province’s graphic novel artists.

International Festival of Films on Art (FIFA)
March 20 to 30 | artfifa.com