Friday, 8 May 2009

Hot Docs 2009 Day 7 - Wednesday May 6, 2009

Outside the ROM

Day 7 ended up a cold, rainy, forgetful night full of irony. The first screening of the night We Live in Public a commentary on how we live our lives online, and here I am writing about it and sharing it with you all online! Double irony there was the lights in the theatre were so low during the intro and Q&A that most of the pictures didn't turn out! In between screenings it was already dark and got cold & rainy so I snuck in for a coffee at the Second Cup, adn I wasn't the only one as I saw many a Hot Docs badge on the patrons necks. But the evening ended off with the International Premiere of a beautiful Norwegian film, Hunting Down Memory, which made all the hiccups of the day that led up to it worth the wait.

Rather watch & listen than read? You can - check out my Day 7 Vlog.

We Live in Public Hot Docs Screening
No joke, this was the best picture I could get. We Live in Public Director Ondi Timoner is on the right hand side

We Live in Public
Dir: Ondi Timoner

Remember the time before the internet? Had you thought about what it would be like with something like it? No, me neither but internet pioneer Josh Harris sure did - and he thought about it, a lot. Recognizing it as the way of the future before it lifted off he worked on, developed and researched ways are reactions to living this way, namely an experiment where people volunteered to live underground where they wouldn't be able to leave and they would be taped every moment of every day during the duration of the experiment. That's just one of the projects he led. The film has the overarching ideas of social technology and it's effects but it also strongly arcs as a biography of Josh himself. Often those two stories fun in parralel, especially the growing pains of a new mediums and the reality of what happens if you are online at all times. How does this effect your relationships? Do you have real relationships? Why would we want to do this and what are we will to give, or give up, to sustain it. With the online world growing so quickly, the question now feels like it isn't a matter of getting your voice out there but actually getting heard. One question I kept thinking while watching was, "You have our attention. Now, what are you going to do with it?"

We Live in Public website

Highlights from the Q&A with We Live in Public director Ondi Timoner:
- she got involved in the project from being contacted by Josh to document cultural history on a recommendation from a mutual friend
- the film was made over 10 years but for the first 8 she didn't know what it would be about until twitter and myspace happened
- in 2001 when working on the project Josh took all the footage away
- later he asked be back on but she said no, until she had all access to the footage and complete creative control

Hunting Down Memory Poster

Hunting Down Memory / Jakten På Hukommelsen
Dir: Thomas Lien

The story shared in Hunting Down Memory is a beautiful and wonderous tale. It starts with Wind (born as Øyvind Aamot) whom awakens on a train with no memory. We've all heard about amnesia through true stories and fiction but nothing compares to the experience shown in this film. The memory lost isn't restricted to daily things, but to concepts as well. Even the concept of memory was something that was lost. Trying to understand these ideas when just thinking about them is so strange but when you see them it is revealed and explored in the film there is so much trust and openness, a trait that resonates strongly from Wind. To look at the world, literally with a fresh point of view and to experience it anew and to see where the day takes you. If this world was filled with such wonder would you even be interested in looking back, when what lives ahead is filled with new things to experience and explore? The film draws you in at every moment and gently guides us through the journey with grace and joy. A phenomenal film that should see to experience.

Hunting Down Memory / Jakten På Hukommelsen website

Highlights from Q&A from Hunting Down Memory with director Thomas Lien
- There was nothing that was considered but not included, because Wind was so open
- The motivation to make the film was because they were friends before the memory loss and then when Wind didn't remember after they had spent weeks together, they had to relearn how to be friends, and also because it is an interesting subject, who we are and how does memory effect how we learn

One of the most powerlful things that came up in the Q&A was that Wind did not have any prejudices, which I have to say may be the most beautiful thing I've ever heard.

Hunting Down Memory Q&A
(L ->R) Hunting Down Memory star & subject Wind, director Thomas Lien

Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival runs from April 30 - May 10, 2009 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

1 comment:

Jamie said...

Wow, that sounds truly amazing. What a treasure when a documentary can open your mind to possibilities like this. Thanks for sharing the experience.

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