Category Archives: Film

Photos by Kirk – directed by Jamie Day Fleck

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I have been a bit MIA on my blog. There is a reason. The reason is that I have been working on a short documentary for my Masters in Documentary Media at Ryerson University. After about two years of work though, completion is on the horizon.

 

The short documentary, Photos by Kirk, is about an Armenian immigrant that was a survivor of the Armenian Genocide of 1915 and who worked as a photographer in the Bronx, NY for over 50 years. He documented generations of people through his photographs of weddings, bar mitzvahs, confirmations, local events, family portraits and other varied occurrences that were of importance to the people in his Bronx neighbourhood.

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The film constructs the world of this photographer, telling his life story through interviews of his family, past clients and historians who provide context for the time period and people in his life. I used an excerpt of photographs from the archive of photographs he left behind after his death in 1979 to show how the local photographer while often overlooked in the history of photography was quite important to the social history of America.

 

His daughter, Mimi Vang Olsen, who is a painter and longtime family friend, was an invaluable resource and source of encouragement to completing this film. Through the memories of her childhood and her father, I was able to construct a multi-dimensional look at both history and his life story.

 

The film is going to have a “sneak preview” showing at the Doc Now Festival in Toronto, Canada which is a student-organized festival for the graduates of the Documentary Media MFA program. It will be shown on June 5th and June 28th . For more information please go to: docnow.cadocnow.ca/artists/jamie-fleck

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Toronto International Film Fest 2012

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The Toronto International Film Festival 2013 is only two months away so I wanted to share some of my images from last year’s festival. I had the opportunity again this year to work with Industry Programming which is where all the filmmaking hopefuls go to get their new creations either funded or distributed or at least find out how to do it. They are a business- card-flinging crowd with fast-flapping lips and an ear for the next great industry party. I love listening to the movie greats such as producer Jeremy Thomas or director/actor Edward Burns on their long-standing relationships with the moviemaking process. I even did a little star-gazing with Kristen Wiig (actress), Gael García Bernal (actor), Derek Cianfrance (director) and others.

I leave the festival every year with a greater appreciation for the films that do get not only produced but seen by an audience. If they go on to win accolades that is all the more impressive. I also leave with a heartfelt admiration for the behind-the-scenes festival staff and volunteers that through their own love of film make this event possible every year. They work many long hours from panel discussion setup to industry party breakdown to make this the buzz of the town that it is every September in Toronto.

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Toronto International Film Fest (TIFF) 2011

The Toronto Film Festival 2012 is right around the corner so I took the time to revisit some photographs I took last year at TIFF 2011!

For the second year in a row I got to photograph the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in September 2011. This year I focused the majority of my time on the Industry Programming. This was very exciting because it is the whole foundation and purpose of the festival itself. It is where emerging, up-and-coming and just plain hopefuls get to learn from the best of the industry and even try to hob-nob with them.

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Each day was jammed with orderly and wonderfully informative panel discussions with some of the most respected producers, screenwriters and directors of the Canadian and International film scene such as: Bruce MacDonald [director] Deepa Mehta[director], Michael Dowse[director], Michael J. Werner[producer] to name a few . After the panel discussions were over, the room turned into a scene not dissimilar to the stock market floor where young directors and producers tried to lobby for their cause (a.k.a their film) in the hopes it might get produced or distributed, mouths rapid firing and business cards flying.

I learned more about the filmmaking process and scene in these few days then ever before. I felt like I was next to the throbbing heart of some immense organism. Clusters of people sat around tables, chairs, sofas, benches with laptops open and mouths jabbering while their minds problem-solved at dizzying speeds.

Not only did I get to surround myself with the creative juices of the striving artist but a few celebrities stopped by who had films that were screening at the festival for an intimate discussion with a very attentive audience. Emily Blunt, Chase Crawford and Gael Garcia Bernal were but a few of the celebs that came by for a chat.

Then the day was ended properly with a totally packed Happy Hour where slightly exhausted cinephiles drank up, talked it up and prepped up for a night on the town at the best industry parties. TIFF is always a whirlwind and this time a felt like I was in the eye of the tornado!

For more info on Industry Programming at TIFF go to: http://tiff.net/industry/programmes

For more images see:  www.jamiedayfleck.com

 

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Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) 2010

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I had the pleasure of photographing the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in September 2010. This year’s festival was bigger and more monumental than those of years past because not only was it TIFF’s usual buzz, premiering the soon to be top films of the year, but also the opening of their new headquarters, the TIFF Bell Lightbox. I was out shooting the block party that TIFF threw to commemorate the opening with three-layer cake, bandstand and street vendors to boot. This was the party that Toronto threw for the love of film, for the love of the city, for the love of the arts.

And it was a great party!

There were Canadian bands to kick off the musical lineup with Radio Radio and Fefe Dobson but the real crowd showed up for the “secret” musical guest, K’naan who rocked the Canadian audience with his world cup theme song among others. He got even the conservative Toronto crowd dancing, arm-waving and chanting the chorus in reply. There was also facepainting for the kids, local restuarants peddling their wares and orange cupcakes for the crowd.

As soon as the ribbon was officially cut, with all the press cameras abounding, the red carpet was rolled out for the stars of Trigger directed by Bruce MacDonald to kick off TIFF with true Canadian talent. Atom Egoyan and Don McKellar also in attendance (and for those that don’t know they are Canadian cinematic royalty.) Sarah Polley shone as one of the brightest acting/directing stars out of Canada and Bruce MacDonald looked the picture of paternal pride showcasing not only his movie but his young daughter on the red carpet.

I also had the opportunity to shoot the producers of an Australian film premiering at the Festival. The film was Blame, directed by Michael John Henry. It was a film that was ten years in the making which is now hoped to get picked up for distribution, not an unusual occurance at TIFF, by the hopeful filmmaker and team. The photo got published in the magazine Inside Film from Australia which talked about the husband and wife producing duo. For more info: www.blamefilm.com

From going to the premiers, meeting the stars and directors that I admire, it was a whirlwind experience which I can only say made me fall in love with film all over again. I hope to see the whole gang for TIFF 2011.

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