By Phil Roberts…
It seems obvious that one of the ways to translate the beauty and spatial experience of great architecture would be through film, yet festivals of that nature have only recently come into existence. The Architecture+Design Film Festival (A+DFF) in Winnipeg is part of a growing list of architectural cinematic events that have sprung up in recent years around the world.
The third annual A+DFF, curated by Susan Algie, the director of the Winnipeg Architecture Foundation, goes from April 30th to May 4th, and will feature 13 films, from 9 countries. The festival takes place at the Cinematheque, a newly renovated 100-seat theatre in Winnipeg’s historic Exchange District.
There will be a mixture of feature length and short films, which are meant to appeal to non-architectural individuals as well as those within the profession. According to Susan, between 60 to 70% of the audience who attend A+DFF are not in the design profession, which is a huge opportunity to showcase films about architecture to the greater public.
“Part of what we’re trying to do is raise the awareness of good architecture and design,” proclaims Susan.
A+DFF is organized by a volunteer effort of individuals from the Winnipeg Architecture Foundation and Storefront Manitoba, and is sponsored by Urban Idea and Cinematheque. Susan hopes that A+DFF progresses to the point where it could be more thematic in focus, but for now likes the rich diversity of selection that the festival currently offers.
“I like the fact that the festival covers the full range of topics within architecture and design. We want to have a multidisciplinary approach. This year we’ve added panel discussions and walking tours.” she says.
The Architectuur Film Festival Rotterdam (AFFR), considered the world’s largest, most progressive and most encompassing, lists the A+DFF as the only architecture film festival in Canada. The AFFR’s network of 26 festivals from around the world allow for a sharing of ideas and emerging film talents, an advantage that A+DFF uses as a resource for finding the types of films that will appeal to what local audiences are looking for.
“It’s very easy to pick the eye candy films, but the more thoughtful and obscure films are more interesting and often promote more conversation, ” says Susan.
“We’re the only film festival in Canada that exclusively focuses on architecture and design. Hot Docs (in Toronto) and the International Festival of Films on Art in Montreal feature some architecture related films, but that’s all.”
“It is fitting that such a festival is based in Winnipeg. We have a very dynamic architectural heritage, with an active contemporary design community. Firms such as 5468796 architecture have taken Winnipeg to the international community. Though we’re a smaller city compared to the larger centres in the country, Winnipeg is actually more architecturally cohesive.”
Susan believes that the growth of architecture films as a genre, and the global phenomenon of film festivals to feature such works, is evidence of an appetite for films that marry the aura of film and the possibility to transform lives that great architecture offers.
For more info about the 2014 Architecture+Design Film Festival go to: http://adff.ca
For a list of architecture film festival around the world: http://affr.nl/news/international_architecture_fil.html
Phil Roberts is the creative director of sixty7 Architecture Road.