Media City will showcase Yoko Ono's work, among other rarely seen films

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Windsor Star/Craig Pearson


When you enter Media City, you encounter a world of artistic but rarely seen films — this year including Yoko Ono’s.

The 22nd annual Media City Film Festival — which screens in Windsor and Detroit, and is the only festival in the world to annually present films on both sides of an international border — starts Wednesday with a wide range of short, artistic fare. The venues are the Capitol Theatre and, for the first time in five years, the Detroit Institute of Arts.

“We do something special that doesn’t really happen in many places,” Oona Mosna, Media City program director, said Tuesday. “The Toronto International Film Festival and the New York Film Festival have sidebar programs for this type of film. But we’re specialized, in that we show nothing but this.”

The Films of Yoko Ono, which offers six short pieces — including two she made with John Lennon — kicks off the festival at the DIA’s film theatre Wednesday night at 8 p.m. Ono has been sick the last year and won’t likely attend, though it hasn’t been ruled out.

Either way, Mosna said Ono’s work makes for a great opening night, since her films will show in this area for the first time and because they come with a live performance by Canadian-American violinist Malcolm Goldstein.


“There has been a lot of buzz about it,” Mosna said. “I think it will be pretty packed, since it’s a rare show.”

Thursday night kicks off with an open-to-the-public party at 6 p.m. at the Capitol Theatre, followed at 7:30 p.m. by The Circle of Time: A Tribute to Artavazd Pelechian, an Armenian filmmaker.

“They’re really wonderful documentaries,” said Chris Kennedy, who helped program the Pelechian films. “They document agrarian life in Armenia in the ’50s and ’60s. And they’re very poetic.”

Kennedy, a Toronto-based independent film programmer who works on contract for the Toronto International Film Festival among others, has attended Media City for 15 years — always with an eye toward the unique.

“Media City is a very important film festival,” Kennedy said. “Over the last 20 years they have done a great job of finding new and interesting work that you don’t necessarily see elsewhere.

“A lot of other programmers look to them to see what’s new and interesting. So it’s often a fertile place for new discoveries.”

Media City — a competition-based festival put on by Windsor’s own House of Toast film and video collective — offers discussions, lectures and performances, as well as narrative and non-narrative pieces alike in a variety of formats.

“There are different stories being told,” Kennedy said. “But the way they’re told is a little different than what you’d see in most festivals. It’s a little more poetic. A little more lyrical.”

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