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network 26/03/2015 - 02:00PM

ARTIST TESTIMONY: JOHN WALKER AND ARCTIC DEFENDERS

As a filmmaker I see my work as an on-going conversation.  It begins with the subjects of the film, continues through the editing as the story takes shape and then carries on after the film is screened for an audience. I like to say my films have a beginning, a middle and no end.  A film never ends if you can stimulate, motivate and raise questions for viewers.  So in that way the films are not definitive statements but a search through conversation for new ways of seeing and thinking about the subject of the film.

Cinema Politica understands the importance of this on-going dialogue that a documentary film can inspire after a screening.  The documentary form is not merely to entertain an audience to distraction but to stimulate action and investigation.   Finding and building an audience for this type of filmmaking is essential for the form to survive.  Situating these screenings in a university environment where young people are hungry for stimulation is exactly where these films should be seen.

I was pleased to have the opportunity to show ARCTIC DEFENDERS at Concordia with CP and it was an outstanding experience to engage with a full house.  Clearly CP has built a reputation for showing interesting work and has created a sense of community with regular screenings.   The fact that their model has taken off in many other countries is a testament to the success of their approach.  Bringing in a filmmaker to follow up on the work is very important to documentary filmmaking and CP creates the space and time to have a serious discussion.  This is the most important aspect of what they do.  It is also very challenging for the filmmaker to stand up to a diversity of questions for close to an hour.   For me it opens new ways of thinking about the film’s impact and limitations.   It’s important for the filmmaker to take responsibility for their work and to face the challenges of an audience.   

I can’t think of a more stimulating environment than active minds questioning and searching for knowledge after a screening of a documentary film. So for me, Cinema Politica’s distribution completes the cycle that makes the documentary form one of the most powerful interactive media on the planet.

John Walker,  Jan 6, 2014