Images Festival Announces 2020 Line-up


Now, At Last! Ben Rivers (2018)


Images Festival invites audiences to experience new and independent voices from Canada and across the globe at its 33rd edition, taking place from 16–22 April, 2020.

As one of the most enduring and respected platforms in the world for the exhibition and discourse of independent film and media art, Images continues to explore how moving image works are created, exhibited, and received in the current socio-political moment, with 17 screenings, 14 gallery exhibitions, and four live performances across Toronto.

Two feature-length debuts bookend the 2020 festival. Our April 16 OPENING NIGHT FILM is the widely anticipated first feature by Sky Hopinka, entitled maɬni — towards the ocean, towards the shore (2020). Making its Canadian premiere, Hopinka’s hybrid documentary offers a poetic portrait of two Indigenous protagonists and their relationships to ritual, community, language, and nature in the Pacific Northwest. The festival’s CLOSING NIGHT FILM on April 22 is a presentation of Nimtoh (Invitation) (2020). This mesmerizing debut of Mumbai-based filmmaker Saurav Rai explores the social dynamics in a remote mountain village through tender cinematography and earnest performances by a non-professional cast, including many of Rai’s own family members.

Expanding the moving image to spaces outside of the cinema, this year’s dynamic LIVE lineup features artist, writer, astrologer, and musician Joanna Hedva. Their performance Black Moon Lilith in Pisces in the 4th House—an ode to their mother— is part mystical grief ritual, and part droned-out metal concert. As part of an ongoing project entitled Red, Berlin-based Indigenous artist Tiara Roxanne will use performance to illustrate the colonial implications in the relationship between Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Indigeneity.

This year’s annual KEYNOTE LECTURE will be delivered by film critic and scholar Girish Shambu, who will expand on principles introduced in his influential essay Manifesto for a New Cinephelia.

This year’s Canadian Spotlight features Mohawk multimedia artist Skawennati’s work TimeTraveller™ (2008-2013), a web-based work of machinima that follows a time-travelling Mohawk man who tours through key historical moments of his people’s past and present, and witnesses possibilities for their future.

Throughout the festival, audiences will be invited to experience works and be part of conversations with artists that engage political topics that range from sex work to tenant rights. UK artist Ayo Akingbade will present her recently completed social housing trilogy No News Today at Vtape. Across three short films, the artist explores the contemporary public housing landscape in London, UK. The shorts program Good Look Now features works that centre the natural world, and the things that live within it: Ishu Patel’s 1977 animated short Bead Game suggests how political patterns impose a limitation on our planetary moment, while Ben River’s Now, At Last! (2018) is a durational portrait of a loveable sloth named Cherry. Patrick Staff’s The Prince of Homburg (2019) examines the exhausting effects of state oppression as relfected in America’s prison system and gender discrimination, while our Student program in support of sex work, guest-curated by Almond Lindenbach, celebrates a cross-section of contemporary works by and for sex workers.

Two recent mid-length works from London-based filmmaker, artist, musician, and curator Morgan Quaintance—South (2020) and Letter from Dakar (2019)—make use of documentary techniques to explore the power of individual and collective voices in anti-authoritarian and cultural spaces in South London, Chicago, and Dakar. The Counter-Image is a program that combines short works by the singular German filmmaker Harun Farocki with a series of video essays by filmmaker and video-essayist Kevin B. Lee. Yashaswini Raghunandan’s That Cloud Never Left (2019) is a lyrical rumination on the unusual lifespan of Bollywood, Tollywood, and B-grade films in a small rural village in Bengal, India.

The festival is pleased to be co-presenting 14 original exhibitions across the GTA, including Galia Eibenschutz (Red. Blue. Orange. Yellow. Linescapes) at YYZ Artists’ Outlet; Beck G-Osborne, Maddie Alexander, Nala Ismacil and Dana Buzzee (behind the curtain) at Xpace Cultural Centre; Ayo Akingbade (No News Today: The Social Housing Trilogy) at Vtape; Tiara Roxanne (Into the Red) at Trinity Square Video; Luther Konadu (Camerawork) at Hamilton Artists Inc.; Jess Dobkin (Wetrospective) at the Art Gallery of York University (AGYU); Silvia Kolbowski (A Few Howls Again, guest-curated by Magdalyn Asimakis, Jared Quinton, and Alexandra Symons Sutcliffe) at Gallery 44; Aleesa Cohene (Kathy) at shell; Ricarda Roggan (KINO) at Goethe Media Space at the Goethe-Institut Toronto; Danielle Hyde, Jaene F. Castrillon, Kate Meawasige, Louis Esmé (Thaumaturgy) at Tangled Art Gallery, co-presented with Charles Street Video; Johanna Hedva, Black Quantum Futurism (Rasheedah Phillips + Camae Ayewa / Moor Mother), Susan Blight, Justin Barton + Mark Fisher, Midi Onodera, Shattered Moon Alliance (Christina Battle + Serena Lee), Andy Slater, Simon M. Benedict and Vera Frenkel (Postcards from the Antipodes) at Toronto Media Arts Centre (TMAC); Charlotte Zhang (Pine Street); Native Art Department International (Bureau of Aesthetics) at Mercer Union; and Evelyn Lambart (Begone Dull Care: Nine Fables and Abstractions) at the MOCA.

In an ongoing effort to make Images more accessible to our community, the following services will be implemented for select events in 2020: closed captioning, vibrotactile technology, relaxed screening spaces, ASL interpretation, and a festival-long Chill Space at our Innis Town Hall screening venue.

For tickets and full programming lineup, please visit our website:

For media specific inquiries please contact Samantha Chater:

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Images Festival acknowledges that the land on which we gather and organize is the territory of the Anishinaabe, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, the Huron-Wendat, and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. Today, the meeting place of Toronto is home to many Indigenous people.

Images Festival acknowledges the generous support from our public funders: The Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council, the Department of Canadian Heritage, and Telefilm Canada.