Feb 13, 2018

Big Meat Eater, April 18th, Canada Film Day


Big Meat Eater, Bytowne Cinema, 9:15pm, PG, 82mins




"Pleased to meet you! Meat to please you!"

1982
Directed by:
Chris Windsor
Produced by Laurence Keane


Starring:
George Dawson
Andrew Gillies
Clarence 'Big' Miller
Sharon Wahl
Ida Carnevali
Stephen Dimopoulos
Georgina Hegedos
Howard Taylor

Screenplay by:
Phil Savath, Laurence Keane and Chris Windsor
 

This cult-comedy/sci-fi/horror/musical was filmed in White Rock British Columbia in late 1980 and early 1981. True to its kitschy intentions, Big Meat Eater plays like an Ed Wood film mixed with a punk rock musical. It pioneers similar satirical terrain later explored by The Kids in the Hall, and Canadian filmmakers John Paizs and Guy Maddin. Set in the fictional small town of Burquitlam, B.C., the plot features eccentric characters brought together by a series of unlikely events centring around the local butcher shop. 




 George Dawson plays local butcher Bob Sanderson, a man with unfailing faith in a brighter future for his community. His faith is tested when he hires a mysterious hulking assistant, Abdulla the Turk, who has a propensity for butchering that goes slightly beyond the normal range of professional behaviour. Abdullah is played by Edmonton jazz musician Clarence 'Big' Miller, with a genuinely frightening intensity. The film also stars Canadian T.V. stalwart Andrew Gillies, who audiences may recognize from his recent appearances on Orphan Black and Murdoch Mysteries. He plays a teenage science-genius from a family of Moldovan immigrants whose zeal to "fit in" to Canadian society causes him to overshoot and adopt a "More-British than the British" English accent. His strange experiments with a stolen car plays a key role in the plot, as do his sister Nina's more conventional desires to go on a regular teenage date. But that's just the vague outline of a plot that ranges from mildly bizarre to completely absurd. Yet it all holds together in a pleasing, and inescapably entertaining, Canadian way. Anyone looking for a deeper meaning can certainly find an intelligent exploration of the complexities of small town economics, political corruption, prejudice, and crime. With a heavy dose of music, of course.



Big Meat Eater was released theatrically in Canada, the U.S. and the United Kingdom. Shot on 16mm film, it was "blown up" and finished in 35mm for distribution. In the U.K. it received rave reviews and gained a cult following with decent box office. In the United States it also had positive reviews, notably in Variety, but the distributor, New Line Cinema, managed to lose the only 35mm internegative in existence, limiting the number of release prints in that country. Finally, after years of relative obscurity, Library and Archives Canada embarked on a full digital restoration of the film, painstakingly recreating the director's cut. The original 16mm film elements were scanned in 2k High Definition, scenes were re-synched, colour-timed and edited in proper sequence with a digitally remixed soundtrack, exceeding the quality of the original release. There's no better way to discover the magic, and the delightful horror, of the Big Meat Eater.







Presented by The Lost Dominion Screening Collective
Digital Restoration by Library and Archives Canada

Apr 28, 2017

Films from EXPO67 May 28th/29th Bytowne Cinema

The six panel film "We Are Young"
The Lost Dominion Screening Collective is co-presenting this series with Cinemaexpo67 and in collaboration with La cinémathèque québécoise

A collection of five shorts, all of which were made for pavillions at Expo 67, the centrepiece of Canada's 1967 centenary. To show off the country and/or provinces, these films used cutting edge split-screen technology and multiple projections in purpose-built auditoria. They're plot-free but dense with images – thousands of things to see per minute.

"Polar Life"
Here, the multi-image formats have been digitally remastered to be playable on a standard screen, but there's still a jaw-dropping amount of footage on display. The Ontario film, "A Place To Stand" won an Oscar. This is a unique opportunity to see these groundbreaking specialty films.

A frame from "A Place to Stand"
The shorts, not necessarily in this order, will be:

Polar Life (20 min.)
Canada Is My Piano (7 min.)
A Place To Stand (17 min.)
We Are Young (20 min.)

Plus a surprise bonus short. 
For more details on the films please go to cinemaexpo67



"Canada is My Piano"

The program runs about 85mins.
The films screen at the Bytowne Cinema in Ottawa on May 28th at 2pm and May 29th at 8:50pm
The screenings are free and open to all.


Mar 23, 2017

Newsreel Shorts by Associated Screen Studios, April 2nd and 3rd Bytowne Cinema


Associated Screen Studios was a major producer of informative shorts that played in cinemas of the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s, before television took over the news business. We have unearthed 8 fascinating examples for this compilation, including a 1933 film on Grey Owl, shorts on canines in the police force and on the sport of curling in the 1950s, a 1932 retrospective on events of the previous 10 years, and even a 1950s report on what jobs hockey players had to hold down during the off-season. All on 35mm film!

Newsreels include:

Grey Owl's Strange Guests, 1933

Headline News 1950

The Roaring Game (about curling), 1951

Canine Crime Busters (about police dogs), 1952

There too, Go I (about the Red Cross during the Second World War), 1941

Sitzmarks the Spot (about downhill skiing), 1948

Back in '22 (looking back 10 years at what happening in 1922), 1932

Hockey Star Summers (what hockey stars do during the summer to supplement their incomes), 1950





Jan 27, 2017

The Man Who Skied Down Everest, March 12-13th on 35MM film.


The Man Who Skied Down Everest, March 12th 1pm and March 13th 9:15pm, Bytowne Cinema.



The Man Who Skied Down Everest, produced by Ottawa's own Crawley Films, is a monumental movie in more ways than one. Founded by Budge Crawley in the late 1940's, Crawley Films grew into Canada's largest independent film studio, and even rivaled the NFB for cinematic output. It produced everything from Canada's second animated feature film (Return to Oz) in 1962, to industrial films, tv commercials, feature films and documentaries. Based in Ottawa/Gatineau, with a studio in Old Chelsea and a branch office in Toronto, it produced over 5000 films and won numerous awards over its 43 year history, including the Academy Award for Best Feature Length Documentary in 1976 for The Man Who Skied Down Everest (the first Academy Award ever won by a Canadian feature film).  This film follows Japanese adventurer Yuichiro Miura as he attempts to ski down the tallest mountain in the world. Very popular with both audiences and critics of the time,  this is a film that deserves being seen on the big screen.




A beautiful 35mm reprint from 2010 will be screened courtesy of Library and Archives Canada

Dec 25, 2016

The Viking on 35mm, Jan. 15-16th Bytowne Cinema


The Viking (1931) on 35mm, screening Jan. 15th 2pm and Jan. 16th 9:10pm at the Bytowne Cinema

Preceded by an Associated Screen News Short from 1931. 

Two Newfoundlanders – good guy Luke Oarum (Charles Starrett) and bully Jed Nelson (Arthur Vinton) – compete for the love of Mary Jo (Louise Huntington). Not wanting to leave Luke alone with Mary Jo, Jed ensures that his rival comes seal hunting with him on a ship skippered by Captain Barker (Bob Bartlett), even though Luke has a reputation as a 'jinker' – someone who brings bad luck to his shipmates.


After several misadventures on board ship – for which Jed always makes Luke appear responsible – the two become isolated on the ice during the hunt. Jed attempts to kill Luke, but when a fierce storm cuts them off from the ship and Jed becomes snowblind, Luke leads him back to land by crossing the ice-floes on foot. They arrive back in town just as a memorial service for them is being held. Jed tells how Luke saved his life and Luke wins the hand of Mary Jo.


This extraordinary portrait of the Newfoundland people’s 'dramatic struggle for existence' was produced by the Delaware-incorporated Newfoundland-Labrador Film Company, headed by twenty-eight-year-old Yale graduate Varick Frissell, an explorer and documentary filmmaker who by the age of twenty-three had already explored the interior of Labrador by canoe. The role of the ship’s captain was played by legendary Capt. Bob Abram Bartlett, the Newfoundlander who had captained Robert Peary’s 1908-09 expedition to the North Pole.


Not only was The Viking one of the first talkies, it was also the first location shoot outside Hollywood financed by Paramount Studios and, most notably, the first film to record sound and dialogue on location – on the ice-floes themselves, no less. Though Frissell shot all the extensive actuality scenes involving life aboard ship and the seal hunt, Paramount insisted that Hollywood director George Melford (Dracula) direct the fiction scenes. When test screenings confirmed Frissell’s concern that the overt melodrama of these sequences conflicted with and detracted from the power of the actuality content, he returned to Newfoundland to shoot more footage that would replace many of the clunky romantic scenes. He set sail on the Viking in March 1931, but six days later the ship exploded, killing twenty-seven men including Frissell and all but one of his crew. The cause of the explosion was never determined and Frissell’s body was never found – despite a handsome reward offered by his wealthy family.


The film was released in its initial form, including the awkwardly staged love scenes that do indeed detract from the authentic portrait that Frissell had wanted. To capitalize on the publicity, the film’s title was changed from White Thunder to The Viking and was advertised as 'the picture that cost the lives of the producers, Varick Frissel, and twenty-five members of the crew.' It enjoyed a good deal of success in the early thirties, then faded into obscurity.


Though The Viking is technically not a Canadian film, its particular mix of dramatic fiction with footage of the wild, hostile and foreboding landscape imbues it with an especially Canadian spirit and style that distinguishes it from many of the legally Canadian quota quickies' of the same era. It has much in common with the work of Robert Flaherty and is comparable to the contemporaneous The Silent Enemy in that the environment becomes a principal character in the drama.


– Andrew McIntosh, Canadian Film Encyclopedia

Apr 19, 2016

Check back in early 2017 for our new screenings series.



Check back in early 2017 for our new screenings series. Everything will be on film - 16/35/70mm!

Jan 21, 2016

Terminal Device plays Feb. 4th, 7pm Bytowne Cinema

Terminal Device, 2k DCP, 68mins, Directed by Ross Turnbull

Bytowne Cinema, Feb. 4th 7pm Co-presented with the MEGAPHONO Festival




A personal essay film, Terminal Device mixes autobiography, film critique, recreated scenes, and archival footage. When viewed through the oft-sinister, pop cultural lens of one-armed-man films, the director’s story as a lifelong amputee gains unexpected resonance.



Whether the nefarious comic villain, Captain Hook, the relatively benign outsider, Edward Scissorhands, or the monsters in various B-grade horror films, handless characters and their scary prosthetics consistently skew the narrative. A densely entertaining, subjective work that reworks mainstream cinema images in the manner of films like Room 237, The Clock, and 24 Hour Psycho, Terminal Device theorizes, describes and shows what it is to be one of the men with hooks.

Director Ross Turnbull will be present for a short Q&A after the screening