Film Farm: 25 Years of the Mount Forest Independent Imaging Retreat

Exhibition, Film Screenings and Book Launch
TIFF Bell Lightbox
350 King St W, Toronto

Exhibition: June 25 – July 19
Film Screenings: July 10 + 11
Reception & Book Launch: July 11


Swell (dir. Carolynne Hew \ Canada 1998 \ 5 min. \ 16mm). Courtesy of Phil Hoffman.

TIFF Wavelengths Programme:
“Film Farm: 25 Years of the Mount Forest Independent Imaging Retreat”
Curated by Chris Kennedy
SCREENING ONE: We Are Going Home
Wednesday July 10, 9 PM | FREE

See the exhibition before the screening!
Exhibition hours extended July 10 until 8pm. Film Reference Library.

Films by:
Cecilia Araneda, Lyndsay Bloom, Jaene Castrillon, Jonathan Culp, John Greyson, Carolynne Hew, Helen Hill, Deirdre Logue, Daniel McIntyre, Cara Morton, John Porter, Jennifer Reeves, Dawn Wilkinson, Christina Zeidler.


About Flight: The Surly Bonds of Earth (dir. James Gillespie \ Canada 2003 \ 10 min. \ 16mm > Digital). Courtesy of Phil Hoffman.

SCREENING TWO: Crashing Skies
Thursday July 11, 6:30 PM | FREE
Films by:
Scott Miller Berry, Maia Cybelle Carpenter, Christopher Chong, Amanda Dawn Christie, Marcia Connolly & Angela Joosse, Pouyan Jafarizadeh Dezfoulian, David Gatten, James Gillespie, Srinivas Krishna, Penny McCann, Jeremy Moss, Heidi Phillips, Sami van Ingen.
Introduced by Kim Knowles, Aberystwyth University, Wales, UK

July 11, 8PM | FREE
Film Reference Library, TIFF Bell Lightbox, 4th Floor
Process Cinema: Handmade Film in the Digital Age, co-edited by long-time Film Farm contributors Scott MacKenzie and Janine Marchessault.
Dreamed up at the Film Farm, Process Cinema is the “first book to trace the development of handmade and hand-processed film in its historical and contemporary contexts, and from a global perspective” (McGill-Queen’s Univ. Press). The book features articles by, and about, Film Farm participants and staff including Deirdre Logue, Helen Hill, Jennifer Reeves, Hart Cohen, David Gatten, Chris Gehman, Kim Knowles, Brett Kashmere, Terra Jean Long, Janine Marchessault, Lisa Marr, Phil Hoffman, Jeffrey Paull, Brenda Longfellow, Scott MacKenzie, Angela Joosse, Sami van Ingen, Sol Nagler, Clint Enns, and more…

EXHIBITION: Film Farm: 25 Years of the Independent Imaging Retreat
June 25 – July 19
Curated by Michelle Lovegrove Thomson
Film Reference Library, TIFF Bell Lightbox, 4th Floor
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 12-5 PM | FREE
Hours extended to 8pm on Wednesday, July 10.
Featuring films, video diaries, and a new work from founder Phil Hoffman, the exhibition celebrates and documents the impact of the Film Farm on artisanal filmmaking in Canada.
Reception and book launch: Thursday July 11, 8 PM.


Photo Credit: Rob Butterworth

Conceived in 1994, Phil Hoffman’s week-long Independent Imaging Retreat — known colloquially as the Film Farm due to its location on Hoffman’s property outside Mount Forest, Ontario — has been an important catalyst for a resurgence of artisanal filmmaking worldwide. Looking to circumvent the fading industry of photochemical labs, every year Hoffman and his volunteer team of fellow filmmakers guide the attending artists through the delicacies of hand-processing analogue film, conveying an appreciation for craft, method, and chance that, in some cases, has provided the impetus for a radical change in the artists’ practice. Having now produced almost 300 “graduates” (of whom almost two-thirds are women) and over 100 completed works (with many more still “in development”), the Film Farm has helped sustain a spirit of discovery and risk in contemporary experimental filmmaking, particularly in Canada (which has furnished over two-thirds of the Farm’s attendees).

The featured works in the exhibition Film Farm: 25 Years of the Independent Imaging Retreat include fifty-six films handmade at the Film Farm (1994–2018), video diaries shot during the retreat (1994–2018), and a 35mm projection of a photogram film. The exhibition highlights a different programme of films from those included in the cinema screenings. The exhibition is anchored by Hoffman’s new film, vulture (2019), which was hand-processed organically using the juices of flowers and a salt bath. The exhibition evokes and locates the films and processes in the physical environment of the Film Farm, and highlights a sustainable “green” DIY practice that further distances hand-processing from professional labs.

The films in the first programme, We Are Going Home, of this two-night series tend to focus on aspects of personal revelation and the formation of the self, while those in the second programme, Crashing Skies, move outwards to consider larger histories of imagery and form (archival films scavenged from the Farm’s collection serve as source material for many of these works). Viewed together, these disparate works offer a strong representation of the rough-hewn personal poetics and adventures in process that continue to be nurtured and developed at the Film Farm.

The Film Farm gratefully acknowledges the generous and essential support of the Ontario Arts Council’s (OAC) Media Arts project funding program. The OAC is an agency of the Government of Ontario.

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