Co-presented by Cinevolution Media Arts Society and the City of Richmond, the 3rd Annual Your Kontinent: Richmond International Film & Media Arts Festival is a community-wide celebration of intercultural connectivity and progressive global perspectives through the medium of independent film and multidisciplinary artistic practice. The festival has profiled some of Canada’s most notable contemporary media art pioneers and international and emerging visionaries in film and media art. This year, the organizers have expanded the festival from three days to nine.
The decision was in large part due to public opinion. “After last year’s event, the feedback from audiences was overwhelmingly that the festival was too short,” said Festival Director Ying Wang. “Even though everyone liked a different aspect of Your Kontinent, they all agreed it should be longer. So that’s what we did.”
With its reputation for innovative and forward-thinking artistic programming, Your Kontinent has quickly been recognized as a rising star in the Metro Vancouver’s artistic community. In addition to putting art and film in unexpected spaces ― like the Art in Containers exhibition and the sensual delight that is Dim Sum Movie ― the festival has profiled some of Canada’s most noted creative visionaries while showcasing emerging young talent.
This year’s Featured Artist Program explores synergies between various Indigenous cultures. Dana Claxton will be exhibiting three site-specific works during the festival. Her four-channel video installation, Rattle and two-channel projection Video Tipi will be unveiled at a public opening on Friday, July 19. The 30-foot diameter structure will light up with Claxton’s ephemeral video projection by night and double as a hub for community gatherings, small workshops, live performances and artist talks by day.
On Saturday July 20, Claxton will lead the community in constructing a large Medicine Wheel and collaborate with International Artist Pisui Ciyo on a multidisciplinary performance (July 26) involving audience members in a secret project. Ciyo is an award-winning Atayal theatre director, playwright and flamenco dancer from Taiwan. Her multidisciplinary theatre piece Her Silent Innermost (Inllungan na Kneril) will be on display throughout the festival. In addition, a line-up of indigenous films from Canada (Barefoot), USA (On the Ice), China (The Sun Beaten Path), Taiwan (A Year in the Cloud), and Venezuela (Eternal Ashes) will bring a broad international perspective into this theme.
Culture is truly in the foreground in the festival’s special programs, but the organizers also had youth on their minds. One of the most exciting numbers on the bill this year is the (YOU)TH+(ME)DIA Day (July 20). Designed for aspiring filmmakers and media producers ages 14-19, this intensive full-day program is a rare opportunity for youth to connect with seasoned industry professionals. Guest speakers include Emmy nominated and Webby award winning animation and documentary filmmaker, Jeff Chiba Stearns; Little Mountain Project creator, David Vaisbord; local YouTube superstars I F*cking Hat That (IFHT); and Kyle Hollett and Lloyd Choi, who founding partners of The Herd Films. Workshops range from a handson Mock Movie Set with professional equipment to a demo and discussion style forum on Hyper Local Documentaries. The program costs $15, lunch included.
From July 19-27, as part of The International Film Program, the festival offers a selection of films from Russia (Chapiteau Show), Germany (Dragon Girls), Philippines (Harana), South Korea (Doomsday Book), Italy (Shun Li and the Poet), Denmark (Teddy Bear), just to name a few. Dragon Girls, the winner of the Best International Documentary Award at the most recent Hot Docs is making its BC premiere at the festival. Local filmmakers are also highlighted in this year’s Short Film Program. A selection of short action films and animations will be shown at the festival’s “Cutting Edge Night” and local award winning filmmakers Karen Lam and Baharak Monir will have their films premiered.
The Your Kontinent Festival also holds Industry Talk, “Into the Realm of 3D”, where the festival provides an opportunity for participants to gain a solid foundation of digital skills at one of the their affordable Community Workshops on songwriting and audio recording, poster design, amateur filmmaking and digital storytelling. For family friendly art booths, performances and an open-air cinema, check out Theatre Under the Sky (July 20). Also offered is a rotating selection of craft beer and artisan wine in the beautiful Rooftop Beer Garden, an intimate licensed outdoor venue on the second Floor of the Cultural Centre overlooking downtown Richmond. Finally, for those seeking a dose of Greater Vancouver’s underground music and media art scenes, Digital Carnival (July 27) is the night we bid Your Kontinent a fond farewell with an evening of dance and digital displays, at least until next year.
For more information on the festival, check out their website at ykfestival.ca.