Reel Artists Film Festival

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Reviewed by Marc Glassman

Feb. 23-27
Opening night: Koerner Hall; 273 Bloor Street West
Rest of Screenings: Bell Lightbox; 350 King Street West (at John)
Films include: Koop (Katherine Knight, director); William Kentridge: Anything is Possible; Sol LeWitt: Wall Drawings; Nam June Paik: Open Your Eyes

Do you think that Wanda Koop is one of the significant figures in modern art? Is Nam June Paik an artist whose work has an impact on your understanding of modern music, TV, video and performance art? Do William Kentridge’s animation pieces and set designs for opera excite you?

If so, then Canadian Art Foundation’s Executive Director Ann Webb has curated the best possible festival for you. The Reel Artists Film Festival isn’t for the casual gallery-goer or generalist. You have to love art as Ms. Webb does–and, big confession, I do–to truly appreciate what she presents every year to Toronto audiences.

Reel Artists is a festival of documentaries about artists and their creative process. Sometimes, as in Koop, the opening night film by Toronto’s Katherine Knight, Webb’s selection may have felicities in filmmaking style and practice. But for Ms. Webb and her dedicated and growing audience, the festival is really about the artists, not the films.

I love it–with my favourite this year being an in-depth look at South African artist Kentridge and his working methodology in creating the sets and costumes for an adaptation of The Nose, the Shostakovich opera based on the Gogol short story. I highly recommend it to all lovers of the composer, the writer and the artist. And the festival to Torontonians who love art.

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