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What are film festivals like for, well, the filmmakers? – CBC.ca

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Every movie needs an audience, and around this time of year, plenty of films are hunting for theirs at festivals all over the country. Take the case of This Ink Runs Deep, a new short doc about the Indigenous tattoo renaissance that’s happening here in Canada. The film had its world premiere at TIFF Sept. 6, and since then, it’s screened at festivals in Edmonton, Vancouver and Calgary — where it claimed the prize for best documentary short last week.

Today, the film arrives on CBC Gem, but even after its big streaming debut, This Ink Runs Deep will continue its festival journey. So CBC Arts contacted the folks who are scrambling their day-job schedules to take it on the proverbial road: director Asia Youngman and writers/producers Mack Stannard and Kent Donguines.

What’s their experience been like — and why risk credit debt and/or total exhaustion to make it all happen? They shared their thoughts on how it’s gone so far.

Why was it important to take the film to a bunch of festivals, starting with TIFF?

Mack Stannard: For me, it was about meeting people, really. There’s so many people that come from around the world to TIFF to celebrate their films and to show them off.

Asia Youngman: To be totally honest, I didn’t really have too many objectives [for TIFF]. I think I was just really looking forward to having a film at the festival for the first time, meeting people, taking it all in.

MS: If you have a feature in the festival, I don’t want to put words in people’s mouths, but I feel like you’re probably busier trying to sell it, whereas with shorts, it’s more about enjoying the experience of being there.

So, what was on your to-do list?

Kent Donguines: For me, one thing on my to-do list was to watch the films that attracted me the most in the lineup. And [to] attend as many parties as possible, because it’s not just about the booze, but it’s also about the people you’ll be meeting at the parties.

MS: I guess the priorities of going were to learn as much as I could and to learn from having conversations with other people. It’s an industry that’s really built off your connections with people.

MS: Everybody who is at TIFF, mostly, has had some level of success. So it’s really nice to have that calibre of people to bump into at an event and be able to ask some questions of, “Oh! What was it like to go through that program?”

How do you make the trip work?

MS: It’s just one of those things — especially for something like TIFF. It’s a big deal. If your film is in TIFF, you just drop everything and make it work.

KD: Yeah, I agree. It was the world premiere, right? Even before finding out about TIFF, we already talked about wherever the world premiere would be, we would have to be there.

AY: I’d just come off a shoot … Like, I got home the afternoon before I flew out to Toronto.

MS: Financially, it’s not easy, that’s for sure — to be taking time off work and be living in a different city for a while.

AY: TIFF is great. They did give me an honorarium to travel out there, which is great, because a lot of festivals don’t always do that for short filmmakers. … But I also just have really supportive parents (laughs). They’ve helped out with a few of my flights.

MS: Our entire team split an Airbnb and lived very, very cheaply, which was very, very fun.

AY: We were kind of stuffed into this small two-bedroom basement suite. I think there were five of us at one time, so you just have to make it work (laughs) Yeah, it’s not glamorous at all.

[embedded content]

What happened at the world premiere?

KD: This was going to be our first time watching our film on the big screen. … So it was actually nerve-wracking, especially when we were minutes away from the screening.

MS: Like Kent said, I had this level of anxiety before the premiere that I couldn’t really explain. There’s nothing we can do. I’d seen the film so many times, but I was still nervous.

AY: It sold out, our first screening, which was really exciting. You never know with short programs who’s going to show up because they tend to be so late. I think our screening was at 9:45 (laughs), which is quite late, but yeah. It was awesome.

AY: One of our subjects, Jana Angulalik, she’s from Cambridge Bay, Nunavut. She was in Ottawa, and she drove down with her boyfriend to attend the screening.

KD: If you play in the shorts block, you kind of start overthinking everything. … Sometimes you’re concerned, like — is my short the best, is my short like the worst?

MS: It’s very true. It creates a sense of competition almost.

MS: I would say as soon as our film started playing I felt better.

AY: Having the Q&A’s are a great opportunity as well, just to talk more about the film. And also meeting with people. It was really great after our second screening at TIFF, having people come up. … I think that’s the most rewarding part of being a filmmaker: seeing how films have an effect on people and how people can relate to those stories.

AY: There’s this one younger woman who approached me after the second screening. She gave me a hug and she was crying and she told me that it made her think of her grandma.

(L-R) Producer Kent Donguines, artist Jana Angulalik, director Asia Youngman and producer Mack Stannard attend the world premiere of their short doc, This Ink Runs Deep. Watch it now on CBC Gem! (CBC Arts)

What’s stood out about the different festivals?

AY: TIFF, although it’s on this grand scale, I don’t think it’s as accessible to people in terms of the cost of the ticket or just being centred specifically in Toronto. Vancouver is our local premiere, so we’re able to have a lot more of our team members come out and share it with friends and family as well.

AY: I think it’s important to share it with international audiences. I think when we bring it to Hawaii that’s going to be really special because they have a really strong tattoo culture there. (Note: This Ink Runs Deep plays the Hawaii International Film Festival in November.)

What have been some of the highlights of the last few weeks? What’s made it all worthwhile?

AY: Oh! I met Taika Waititi. That was awesome (laughs). He’s my hero, completely my hero. A friend of mine is good friends with his wife so she invited us to the Jojo Rabbit after-party [at TIFF].

MS: I would say that being at TIFF was incredibly inspirational. [I] walked away from that experience remembering why I want to do this, and it’s to tell great stories. Being in a film screening that really connects with audiences, where the audience stands up and applauds — like, that hit home.

KD: Just seeing these films, like bigger films, inspired me even more, especially when we watched Honey Boy together with Asia. …  It was life changing. I was like, ‘I could do this’ — maybe in, like, five years! (laughs)

Watch This Ink Runs Deep on CBC Gem.

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Edmonton autistic artist remembered for achieving 'improbable territory' – CBC.ca

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Colleagues, family and friends are mourning the death of Matthew Wong, an Edmonton artist diagnosed with autism who was recognized internationally for his landscape paintings. 

Wong, 35, died on Oct. 2. Family and friends confirmed he died by suicide.

“I am in total shock,” said Monita Cheng, Wong’s mother.

“He’s an extremely talented person. He’s a lovely son. He’s extremely kind. He cares about people; he loves to help people,” she said. 

“He was voracious in everything that he did in life,” said Brendan Dugan, the owner of Karma, a gallery in New York City that represented Wong. 

“He accomplished more in the short time he was painting and making work than most people probably do in their whole lives,” he said. 

‘Instant recognition of his talent’ 

According to Dugan, Wong wasn’t trained as a painter; his artwork started from poetry and then translated into photography. He taught himself how to paint. 

Wong earned a bachelor of arts degree in cultural anthropology from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 2007. In 2013, he completed a masters of fine arts in photography at City University of Hong Kong. 

Matthew Wong’s oil on canvas painting, The Space Between Trees, hangs at Karma, in New York City. (Submitted by Karma/Estate of Matthew Wong)

“Matthew was very unusual in a lot of ways, his presence was kind of uncanny,” Dugan said. 

He first met Wong through Outside, a group art show hosted by Karma on Sept. 3, 2016. 

“Once Matthew was included in this group show, there was kind of an immediate and instant recognition of his talent,” Dugan said. 

“There was always this kind of layering of symbolism and poetry, within the idea of a landscape or nature.”  

‘Improbable territory for a young artist’ 

By 35, Wong had three solo exhibitions — two in Hong Kong and one in New York City. He has one more with Karma that’s forthcoming. Wong was also featured in 13 group exhibitions and two publications. 

David Moos, the owner of David Moos Art Advisory, said he came across Wong’s work at Karma.

Moos was also the modern and contemporary curator for the Art Gallery of Ontario from 2004 to 2011. 

Wong’s mother, Monita Cheng, says he was a self-taught artist. He was autistic and diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome at 15. (Peter Evans/CBC)

“Painting is an extremely challenging medium. It’s a demanding and difficult medium today to make meaningful and relevant paintings, and I think Matthew accomplished that at the very highest level which is remarkable for a person his age,” Moos said. 

“I think he brought his life experience to bear on what is improbable territory for a young artist to to tackle.”

Moos said Wong’s paintings allow people to “step aside from our everyday realm.”

“To look to Van Gogh is almost anecdotal at this point,” he said. “It is utterly contemporary. There’s there’s a plain spoken beauty in his work that I think is genuine and earnest.” 

Mental health struggles 

Wong was born in Toronto on March 8, 1984, though he and his family moved frequently between Hong Kong and Toronto.

According to Cheng, Wong struggled with depression while growing up. 

He was diagnosed with autism as a child and, by 14, he was diagnosed with depression and prescribed anti-depressants.

A photo of Wong as a child, found in his first poetry book. (Peter Evans/CBC)

Wong began seeing a psychiatrist at four years old.

He also saw child psychologists to help him with his social skills, Cheng said, adding it was difficult for Wong to make friends because they moved often. 

By 16, doctors diagnosed Wong with Tourette syndrome, a brain condition causing people to make involuntary sounds and movements. 

“He’d try different jobs and he says it’s not possible for him because he always had problems. His interpersonal skills were very, very poor,” Cheng said. 

Wong’s paintings sit in his studio, located on 53rd Avenue and 87 Street in Edmonton. (Peter Evans/CBC)

Cheng said her son loved North America and disliked Hong Kong, but he continued to live there because collectors there supported his paintings. 

In 2016, Wong relocated to Edmonton with his parents. They lived closed to the High Level Bridge. 

“Even when we were travelling, he would have have a sketchbook, he would sit down by Starbucks, get coffee [and] he would just sketch and draw,” Cheng said. “He said he loved Edmonton.” 

It was in Edmonton that Wong met Matthew Higgs, director of White Columns, a gallery in New York City, which later featured Wong’s art. 

‘He felt that he’s very lucky’ 

Cheng said despite her son’s struggles, he knew he was “lucky.” 

“Even though he suffers a lot because of the mental issues, he felt that he’s very lucky,” she said. “I think Matthew really wanted to be recognized as a great Canadian artist.” 

“Me and my husband, we are extremely proud of our son. He had a lot of struggle, but he also has a very strong mind.

A photo of one of Wong’s paintings in his Edmonton studio. (Peter Evans/CBC)

He’s like rock solid, you know.” 

Wong’s family and colleagues are holding a memorial service at the Connelly-McKinley Funeral Home, at 100th Avenue and 114th Street  on Oct. 21  at 1 p.m. 

The Karma gallery in New York City will also host an exhibit featuring Wong’s work, planned before Wong’s death. The exhibit is called Blue and runs from Nov. 8 to Dec. 22.

A photo of one of Wong’s paintings, sitting in his Edmonton studio. (Peter Evans/CBC)

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Saskatoon tattoo artist has year-long wait list – Global News

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Tattoo artist Jesse Zabos’ schedule is full for the next year.

“I will be opening my books in January and we will see how things go,” he told Global News.

Appointments for Zabos and the four other artists who work at his tattoo shop, Art Sharks Tattoo, are scarce because of the demand for their unique designs.


READ MORE:
Regina tattoo shop targeted by thieves for the 3rd time this year

“For inspiration we will take what the client wants, like what their ideas are, and then we will go from there,” he said.

“As artists we do a lot of custom stuff, so we create everything mostly from what’s inside our heads.”

He said designing something the client likes enough to carry with them for the rest of their life involves discussions, which can get very personal.

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“I have done a few like memorial pieces and stuff that’s really kind of touched the customer,” he said.


READ MORE:
‘I never want to forget them’: Memorial tattoos help people cope with loss, grief

“I think it’s good to help them heal through sometimes a tattoo as well.”

Darla Lindbjerg, CEO of the Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce, said the success makes sense, given the quality of the tattoo.

“If people are having a good experience and you are offering a great quality product, people will come back,” she said.

Zabos said part of the reward is knowing his art has such intense meaning for those who wear it.

“Sometimes it gets a little emotional when you finish the tattoo, just to have that closure for some people depending on what the situation of the tattoo is,” he said.

“But it’s really satisfying to make them happy and (know) they can enjoy it for the rest of their lives.”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Artist looking to make Waterloo Region more 'WorldRooted' – KitchenerToday.com

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It’s a movement drawing community together in a positive place, and it’s coming to the Region. 

‘WorldRooted: the Art Project for People’ founder Bethany Ann Davidson from Goderich, says they have been organizing art shows and cultural events to provide a space for people to develop their networks and find support.

“We’re really just looking to help people find their voice, to support charities both locally and around the world, shine a light on the good and let people connect.” says Davidson.

Davidson says she began WorldRooted in 2018, after learning that a friend and her family were experiencing survivor’s guilt after they had moved to Canada from Syria.

She says her friend and her husband were sending everything they could back to their families who had nothing. 

“I really wanted them to know that I felt for them, so I made a painting and when I sold it, I gave all of the money to them.” says Davidson, “And it’s been kind of like that ever since.”

On October 26th, WorldRooted will be in Waterloo to hold an art event at the Seven Shores Community Cafe.

The solo art show gives residents the opportunity to check out Davidson’s latest work and will offer food and beverages for purchase.

According to Davidson, the location for this event was chosen because of her relationship with co-owners of the cafe and the community built around Seven Shores Cafe.

“My friends Steve and Deb Tulloch, who co-own Seven Shores Cafe, they really had a large impact on me on what it means to love and to live well.” says Davidson, “So when I said  ‘Hey, I would love to have an artisan at your cafe,’ they said ‘Hey, that would be awesome!’ ” 

“We’re just going to get together, those of us who are available that night.” says Davidson, “There will be live music, and we’re just going to have a really nice time.”

Davidson says because of the Tulloch’s involvement with the International Association for Refugees Canada, and their relationship with Adventure4Change owner Jeremy Horne, she decided to donate 25 per cent of all proceeds on October 26th to these charities, and Reception House Waterloo Region.

Davidson says her display hanging at the cafe focuses on food like chickpeas, coffee plants and sugar cane, plants that are grown in different countries but are used everyday by Canadians. 

“A lot of Canadians have seen these pieces and not known what the plant was that was in the art,” says Davidson, “And that’s because they didn’t grown up growing coffee plants, or sugar cane or whatever else.”

“It’s meant to help us see more of our global village, and help then to also recognize that there are people in our community who do recognize these plants and do have a past that is closely connected to this flora.”

Davidson says with her work and WorldRooted, she hopes to inspire conversation between people to foster better understanding each other.

“I believe that artists make art because they have something that needs to come out.” says Davidson, “I’m just putting it out there for people to see, and hopefully people want to buy and take it home, and it becomes a conversation starter for the rest of their lives.”  

To learn more about the event, click here

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