Films by Michael Vass & Jem Cohen
Director Michael Vass in Person!
Presented with assistance from
Video Data Bank


The Nightingale Cinema, 1084 N. Milwaukee
February 9th, 2013

The Nightingale is pleased to present the Chicago premiere of Canadian filmmaker Michael Vass’s Vancouver #1-13 (Notes for a report…), a feature length film essay focusing on two recent events in Canada: the June 2010 mass arrests in Toronto during the G20 protest, and the Vancouver Winter Olympics of the same year. The program also includes installments numbers 2 and 4 of Gravity Hill NEWSREEL, seminal filmmaker Jem Cohen’s celebrated series of short films about the Occupy Wall Street protests.

On June 26th & 27th, 2010, the largest mass arrest in Canadian history took place in Toronto. The arrests were in response to acts of vandalism that occurred when a small group of black-clad “anarchists” broke off from a large, peaceful march protesting the G20 meeting that was taking place in the city that weekend. In the 36 hours that followed over 1000 people were arrested. Hundreds of items were confiscated during the arrests, including many cameras containing thousands of photographs and hours upon hours of amateur video footage.

In Vancouver #1-13 (Notes for a report…), an intelligence agent analyzes a notebook and thirteen videotapes that were confiscated during the arrests. The videotapes contain footage shot a few months earlier in Vancouver during the 2010 Winter Olympics, while the notebook contains an assortment of political observations, quotations, newspaper clippings, and more personal diary-like entries.

A video essay about security and protest in the society of the spectacle, Vancouver #1-13 (Notes for a report…) mixes documentary and fiction to examine the grey areas between surveillance, observation, and fabulation.

With his characteristic use of street footage, Jem Cohen’s Gravity Hill NEWSREEL films present a series of observational portraits of the Occupy Wall Street protest camp at Zuccotti Park in New York. Cohen has described the films that make up the series as “modest, small observations rather than broad declarations.”

Program Details:
Vancouver #1-13 (Notes for a report…) by Mike Vass (2012, HD Video, 60 mins)
Gravity Hill NEWSREEL No. 2 by Jem Cohen (2011, HD Video, 4 mins)
Gravity Hill NEWSREEL No. 4 by Jem Cohen (2011, HD Video, 4 mins)

Michael Vass a filmmaker and writer. His award-winning films have screened at various international festivals and galleries, including the Philadelphia Institute of Contemporary Art, Toronto International Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, and the Formentera Film and Art Festival. He was the 2012 winner of the Canadian Art Foundation Writing Prize, and his writings have appeared in such publications as Cinema Scope, Cineaction, MACHETE, and The Rusty Toque. Michael received his BFA from Simon Fraser University and his MFA from York University, and he’s an alumnus of the Canadian Film Centre’s Directors’ Residency. He is currently a fellow at the UnionDocs Collaborative Studio Program in Brooklyn.

Jem Cohen is a New York-based filmmaker/media artist whose works are built from his own ongoing archive of street footage, portraits, and sound. His films and installations often navigate the grey area between documentary, narrative, and experimental genres. His works have screened at festivals including Berlin, Rotterdam and Vancouver, and have won prizes at Locarno, Festival Dei Popoli and the Full Frame Documentary Festival, among others. The feature, Chain, won a 2005 Independent Spirit Award. Cohen’s films are in the collections of New York’s Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney, and have shown at venues including the Whitney Biennial and London’s ICA. He has received a number of grants and other honors, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Creative Capital grant, the Alpert Award in the Arts, and residencies at Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony.

Special Thanks to the Michael Vass, Jem Cohen, Michael Green, and Video Data Bank for their assistance.

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