Sled Island films show music in the mix

By Jordyn Marcellus

Ever willing to expand its content for festival-goers, Sled Island has moved beyond its comfort zone again with an impressive film component curated by Jeanette Burman.

Burman, who previously organized the Show Us Your Shorts Film Festival, explains that there are a variety of flicks offered to both hungry film fans and those interested in aural delights.

“Initially the main objective was to have music the most integral part of any of the films I was programming,” she says. “Our opening film, I Need That Record!, that one is playing at other music festivals like NXNE and SXSW. [I wanted] films that had music as part of the narrative.”

Each movie fits right into Sled Island: the films relate to, and explore, themes that are prevalent in music and cinema, like life and death. I Need That Record! addresses the death of the independent record store and features interviews with Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore and Minor Threat/Fugazi frontman Ian MacKaye.

On the topic of life, Anvil! The Story of Anvil details the life of Torontonian metalheads Anvil, focusing on the underdog story of a group who relentlessly tour to keep their dreams alive.

The documentary, which Michael Moore has called, “The best documentary [he] has seen in years,” won rave reviews the world over and offers an unconventional look at a band that’s going to rock Sled Island’s mainstage.

“Of course, Anvil is playing, so you can find out all about how they came to be once they rock your world,” suggests Burman with a laugh.

While initially Burman chose films documenting, in some way, musicians or music-related subject matter, she soon decided to expand her focus.

“There are some films that are not necessarily about music per se, but there are interesting elements to it,” she adds. “One film, for example, that is showing in a shorts package [June 28] is called The Edge of Town. That one features Will Oldham from Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and several other projects. He stars in the film and does music for it — so that’s not necessarily about music, but has a connection to music.”

Like Sled Island proper, the screenings are across the city’s downtown core. Some, like I Need That Record!, are being shown at the Uptown Stage and Screen while others will be put on at more curious locations — like the Thursday, June 25 Factory Party, featuring some of the best in local music videos.

No matter where the screenings are, though, they’re all easily within biking distance from a C-train station — one of the greatest things about all Sled Island venues.

“There are no films being in bars,” stresses Burman. “Our opening night is at the Uptown; the Factory Party will also be screening at the Uptown as well. Then the Calgary Public Library — we have a full day there from three until 11 p.m. It’s right across from Olympic Plaza, which is the mainstage that day, so we’re right across the street. If people want to catch a break, they can check out a film.”

Leave a comment