ASIFA Vancouver by Leslie Bishko

Former ASIFA Central member, Leslie Bishko, lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, where she is working on a PHD at Simon Fraser University. She recently started a new ASIFA group there, ASIFA Vancouver. Here is a letter just sent us:

I have been having meetings for about a year and . We meet at Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design. The situation here in Canada is that Montreal is ASIFA-Canada. They do a good job. They also have a storyboard group that seems to be pretty solid - they meet every two weeks, and if there's no work in progress to deal with, they make up fun drawing tasks. Their membership is 25.00 per year and that includes the international. My chapter here is really a sub-chapter of Montreal. I am not collecting a membership fee. The NFB covers our mailing costs. So when people join, they join ASIFA-Canada - and it just includes Vancouver. That way I don't have to do a newsletter here. I'm just sending tidbits to Montreal and they include it in their publications. What I like about that aspect of it is that it makes us one big happy family, instead of being divided east/west.

I think it is happening, but very slowly. If I just persist, I think ASIFA can sink in here. The film community is big but scattered. I'm slowly starting to meet more people who seem interested and have the right idea about how to get people involved. We may try to do a weekend film next summer - Gail Noonan who lives on Mayne island has this beautiful cottage in the woods by the sea (it is as idyllic as it sounds!) and she proposed we camp out for a weekend and animate a film. Also, a funky little screening venue/cafe just opened up, and that would be a nice, sociable place for us to meet, hang out and actually dialogue. We talked about doing a scratch-on-film night - where we run a loop through the projector and scratch as it goes - live animation performance art! Also, 3-4 NFB films are finishing up this summer, so in the fall I think we can have a nice screening event.

I'm going to attach something that's coming out in the June ASIFA-Canada bulletin - they had me conduct a survey of who's animating what in Vancouver. This list is partial, because the job was split between two of us.

Elaine Pain came to Vancouver from Saskatchewan for the warm weather. For her MFA work at the University of British Columbia, she is currently making a 10 min. experimental film, manipulating images with the Amiga Toaster. Her thesis project will explore structure, abstraction and movement via the windmills of Alberta. Elaine will return to her animation teaching job at the University of Regina, where it is a lovely place to do animation in the winter.

Gail Noonan recently finished "Your Name in Cellulite," a six minute piece about women and body image. The film explores the disparity between women's real beauty and the images of beauty in popular culture, encouraging women to accept the reality of their own bodies. Gail and her four cats live on Mayne Island.

Paul Boyd is directing and animating "Chile Con Carnage," a short film about teenagers at a convenience store. There will be lots of ketchup. International Rocketship, Ltd., producer.

Marv Newland is producing and directing "Fuv." It is about the things that happened before God came on the scene. It is a very important subject. Marv believes that every single frame of the film is very important.

Stephen Arthur creates abstract 2D computer animation. But his recently completed piece, "The Recess," tells a dark story using animated characters that were created by warping and "morphing" photographed faces.

Leslie Bishko is designing computer animation software based on human movement analysis at Simon Fraser University. Her computer animated piece Gasping for Air (1993) recently won awards at the Northwest Film and Video Festival, the Berkeley Video Festival, the Humboldt International Film Festival and Video Shorts in Seattle. She is a founding member of ASIFA Canada/Vancouver.

Marilyn Cherenko is directing and animating "About Face," a 3 to 5 min. experimental mix of media. She teaches at Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design.

Bob Bennett is finishing "Thorax the Conqueror," in which a prehistoric mosquito accidentally thawed from the ice by 3 scientists comes to life and wreaks havoc in a science lab in the middle of the Yukon. Produced by Duane Beaver. Bob is currently working on storyboard ideas for his next film.