Keeping it Reel: Art Docs from Around the World
Keeping it Reel: Art Docs from Around the World

The Allied Arts Council of Lethbridge and the Gallery at Casa are excited to be presenting a unique and visionary film series called Keeping it Reel: Art Docs from Around the World.  These films feature rare and fascinating documentaries on contemporary visual artists.  The screenings will take place every Wednesday at 7pm on YouTube.

In an unprecedented gesture, filmmakers from around the world have generously donated one-time screening rights to the Allied Arts Council allowing us to stream these films into the homes of people in Lethbridge.  We have been able to personally connect with directors from Switzerland, France, the UK, the United States, the Netherlands and beyond.

This series includes films you may never have the chance to view again; some unreleased, others without distribution, and a few that have been sourced directly from the filmmakers themselves.

These films cover a range of artistic disciplines including photography, sculpture, installation, painting, and public art.  We hope you will take the opportunity to watch these interesting, educational and engaging documentaries.

April 29: Bending Space: George Rousse and the Durham Project
(Directed by Kenny Dalsheimer, 2007, USA, 58 mins.

What happens when a visionary conceptual French photographer meets the creative spirit of a former Tobacco Road town in the midst of downtown revitalization? A singular grassroots arts project emerges that confounds expectations and takes the city of Durham, North Carolina by storm as buildings from a past incarnation of the city are transformed into temporary canvases for dramatic public art.

May 6: Paolo Ventura – Vanishing Man
(Directed by Erik van Empel, 2015, Netherlands, 47mins)
With the relics of a human life – objects found in a flea market – Italian artist Paolo Ventura fights the fleeting nature of life.  Costumes, hand-painted backdrops, and miniatures are used to create a new melancholic world. Paolo Ventura gave up a successful career as a fashion photographer because he just had to photograph the images that haunted him. Images that the artist had imagined as a child when his grandmother told him about her adventures during the war. In a barn on top of a secluded mountain, he creates a timeless melancholic world that resonates with the isolation in which he grew up. But is it a dream world or a nightmare?

May 13: Double Take – The Art of  Elizabeth King
(Directed by Olympia Stone, 2018, USA, 61mins)

Double Take: The Art of Elizabeth King engages the viewer in the work of sculptor and stop-action motion Elizabeth King, who embarks on each new project by posing a single question to herself: “Can this be physically done?” Tracing King’s creative flow, curiosity and obsessive drive to solve the inevitable series of artistic and technical problems that arise in creating her disconcerting sculptures and animations, this documentary film explores King’s passion about the mind/body riddle, the science of emotion, the human/machine interface, and those things a robot will never be able to do. From studio to exhibition, and in conversations with fellow artists, curators and critics, the film asks what looking at and seeing one another means in an increasingly mediated world.

May 20: Bending Sticks: The Sculpture of Patrick Dougherty
(Directed by Kenny Dalsheimer, 2014, USA, 55 mins.)
Bending Sticks celebrates the twenty-five year career of internationally renowned environmental artist Patrick Dougherty, who has created hundreds of monumental, site-specific sculptures out of nothing more than saplings. The film follows the artist and his collaborators during a year of stick work and reveals Dougherty’s process,  personal story and inspirations.

May 27: I’ll Be One With The Pumpkin: Francoise Jolivet
(Scotto Productions, France, 2011, 52mins)

Any gardener knows that pumpkins, when wounded, heal by growing scars. Harking back to an early childhood memory, French sculptor Françoise Jolivet etches designs and writing into all sorts of pumpkins, which emerge as the pumpkins grow. the result is so amazing that she refuses to watch her works rot and disappear over winter. The artist then embarks on a quest for a means to save them…

June 3: Luber In Der Luft: Heinrich Luber
(Directed by Anna-Lydia Florin, Switzerland, 2007,  82mins)

This stunningly photographed film captures the various works of Swiss artist Heinrich Lüber, for whom the world is a museum. Rather than set up his work—which usually involves his own body contorted into an unbelievable stance—in a gallery, he plays with the perception of public space, with onlookers becoming part of the art. Their slack-jawed gaze heightens the surreal nature of his installations, as we see him suspend himself off the side of buildings or hold an enormous bird in his mouth in a crowded subway station. The film not only captures the work and the onlookers, but also provides us with a behind-the-scenes look at the modelers and engineers who aid Lüber in developing contraptions that allow him to defy proportion, gravity, and, in some cases, comfort. We follow Lüber through dozens of works, as he stretches the limitations of the body as well as those of our own amazement.

June 10: Call her Applebroog: Ida Applebroog
(Directed by Beth B, 2016, 70m)

*mature content*

This deeply personal portrait of acclaimed New York–based artist Ida Applebroog was shot with mischievous reverence by her filmmaker daughter, Beth B (Exposed). Born in the Bronx to Orthodox Jewish émigrés from Poland, Applebroog, now in her 80s, looks back at how she expressed herself through decades of drawings and paintings, as well as her private journals. With her daughter’s encouragement, she investigates the stranger that is her former self, a woman who found psychological and sexual liberation through art. As Beth B finds a deeper understanding of her mother as a human being, Applebroog shares a newfound appreciation for her own provocative work.

June 17: Salamander Complex: Patrick Neu
(Directed by Stéphane Manchematin and Serge Steyer, France, 2014, 80mins)

The French artist Patrick Neu lives in a remote island village to the north of the Vosges, far from all of the central focal points of the art world. He creates his pieces slowly, with the patience and precision inherited from Flemish artists. He works with materials not often found in the world of art: bee wings, soot on glass, ink sculpture, butterfly wings, shed snakeskin, eggshells, painting on ashes. One day, the director of the prestigious Palais de Tokyo in Paris pays him a visit: after following his work for fifteen years, he wants to commission him with his first individual exhibition. Neu accepts, but on the condition that he will not have to change his methods in any way. The film follows him as he leaves the safety of his studio and prepares to produce his exhibition in Paris.

June 24: John Virtue: London
(Directed by Jake Auerbach, UK, 2005, 47mins)

Artist John Virtue spent twenty years in rural isolation as a landscape painter, first in the North of England and then Devon.

In 2002 he responded to a request from the National Gallery in London and decided to move to the capital and paint the city itself. The project took over two years to complete; this film follows the artist at work from Greenwich to Trafalgar Square; and includes witnesses such as Lord Rothschild, Frank Auerbach and Charlie Gillett. The result is a unique and intimate portrait of the painter’s working life.