DIM Cinema illuminates Canadian film
Deanne Beattie, Sad Mag | 8/27/2010
Monthly experimental film event at Pacific Cinémathequè strives to keep Canadian film alive in Vancouver
“You probably couldn’t name 10 Canadian filmmakers,” Amy Lynn Kazymerchyk challenges me. “That aren’t Atom Egoyan, I mean. Most people on the street, I don’t think, could name 10 Canadian filmmakers.”
Kazymerchyk is the founder of DIM Cinema, the Pacific Cinémathequè’s monthly experimental film event. She estimates that in the two years the program has been running, DIM Cinema has built up a steady attendance of 20 to 40 people per screening—more if the event is screening an international work. She has noticed that in Canada’s contemporary arts climate, it is more common that film fanatics will recognize an international filmmaker over a Canadian filmmaker, but that hasn’t diminished her resolve to screen important Canadian cinema.
Pacific Cinémathequè, 1131 Howe St., Vancouver | Map
Third Monday of every month.
Tickets $9.50, $8 for students (plus membership to Pacific Cinémathequè, $3)
“Even if people don’t know 10 Canadian experimental filmmakers, there are actually quite a few of them,” she says. “If you were to look at the way that some of them have contributed to an international film movement, I would say that people internationally would be more familiar with Canadian filmmakers.”
Arts funding cuts and the Canadian film industry
“We just don’t have the same industry for it,” says Kazymerchyk. “In Canada, I don’t think we approach cinema culture the same way they do in America, or in Europe for that matter.”
Against the entertainment mega-industry of the United States and the cultural legacies of European countries, Canada’s film industry can’t quite compare—especially after drastic cuts to government funding for the arts.
Cinémathequès, she explains, along with cultural institutions such as the Canada Council for the Arts and the National Film Board, were founded in the 1960s to support creation of Canadian culture, and by extension, the core of the Canadian identity.
“The Cinematheque doesn’t make money off of the night that I do, that’s for sure—they definitely lose money,” says Kazymerchyk, “But the importance of why they choose to support it is the importance of screening national work, and the importance continuing to support a cinematic practice that is artistically and materially focused.”
Vancouver venue closures stunt local arts and culture
“I started this because I had seen there really wasn’t an experimental cinema centre after the Blinding Light shut down. For me, I really just wanted to see a space where it could happen,” she says. The Blinding Light!! was an underground cinema in Vancouver that, like many artist-run centres, thrived for only five short years.
“In the city of no space, how can we use the spaces that we have?” asks Kazymerchyk. Herself a filmmaker as well as a staff member at VIVO, Kazymerchyk can count dozens of venue closures that have impacted the arts community here and prevent any real, continued cultural development in the city.
“It’s not how much money you are making or how many people are going that’s determining its worth,” she says of DIM Cinema, and more broadly, of artistic initiatives in Vancouver. “It’s the committed community of people who are in a deep engagement with the conversation.
“How are they determining the meaning of it?”
IMAGE BY: Brandon Gaukel
Amy Lynn Kazymerchyk of DIM Cinema.