Field Notes from a Rainy Day:
The Animations, Meditations and One Takes of Leslie Supnet

Curated by Cecilia Araneda

Presented at the WNDX Festival of Moving Image
Wed Oct 2, 2024 at 7 PM, at the Dave Barber Cinematheque

In an interview in 2014, Winnipeg-based Filipinx-Canadian filmmaker Leslie Supnet described having been told by her grandfather that she learned how to draw on a rainy day: as her grandfather held her up against the window to look outside at the rain, Supnet began doodling on the window. This moment marks the beginning of an artistic journey examining grief, loss and the effects of the passage of time through paper-based animation, analogue film and digital techniques, often incorporating mystical and occult symbolism and taking experimental process turns along the way. While Supnet is widely known for the narrative animations of her first decade as a filmmaker, she has more recently taken new evolutions in animation, emerging as an artist in active exploration, consciously moving away from the familiar.

Like many women directors who emerged in Winnipeg in the 2000’s, Supnet’s development as a filmmaker is connected to the $225 Film Experiment workshop developed by Solomon Nagler and John Kapitany, fashioned after the Independent Imaging Retreat. While the milestone workshop marked a turn in Winnipeg filmmaking, introducing the concept of hand-processing and DIY film techniques to the city for the first time, its most significant legacy is an unprecedented cohort of women filmmakers who used the more personal approaches to filmmaking underpinning the workshop as a way to challenge the very idea of what Winnipeg filmmaking is – Supnet among them.

Decades after that fateful rainy day as a child, Supnet would become one of Manitoba’s most accomplished filmmakers, with works selected by the most prestigious film festivals in the world, including the Toronto International Film Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam, the Flaherty NYC and countless others. Along the way, Supnet’s career has been framed by a strong connection to the WNDX Festival of Moving Image, first participating in the festival’s legendary One Take Super-8 Event in its early days (with some of these one-take films going on to propel her early career), and later becoming a selected filmmaker in many of the festival’s open call programs.

Image credit: Peak Experience, Leslie Supnet

PROGRAM (50 mins)

Last Light Breaking (8 mins, 2013) – dir. Leslie Supnet
An examination of the ties that have formed beyond the last light, Last Light Breaking casts light on words on stone monuments and other images possessed by the memory of those who have passed through. Made at the Independent Imaging Retreat.

In Still Time (11 mins, 2016) – dir. Leslie Supnet
Using found footage from the Syrian civil war laser-printed directly onto the film, then abstracted and re-animated, and paired with found sound of the civil war posted by civilians and journalists, In Still Time is a meditation on our inability to bear witness to unthinkable human suffering and our complicity in the violence documented, even as we refuse to witness it.

gains + losses (3.5 mins, 2011) – dir. Leslie Supnet
Through situational vignettes, gains + losses illustrates the filmmaker’s thoughts on death and other personal day-to-day anxieties. Made as a goodbye letter to a deceased beloved, the work touches on internal grief, tempered with lo-fi humour.

How to Care for Introverts (2 mins, 2010) – dir. Leslie Supnet
An animated instructional video on how one should deal with people whose personalities are characterized by extreme shyness and reserve.

A Small Misunderstanding (1 min, 2008) – dir. Leslie Supnet
A hungry bird mistakes a piece of yarn for a worm entangled in the hair of a young man, which leads to a terrible accident.

Fair Trade (4.5 mins, 2009) – dir. Leslie Supnet
A young woman experiences heavy nostalgic trauma as she purges herself from the materiality of her past, searching for transformation in the age of over-consumption and greed.

The Island (3 mins, 2016) – dir. Leslie Supnet
A late summer trip to the Toronto Islands on Super-8.

Weekend (3 mins, 2010) – dir. Leslie Supnet
A One Take Super-8 travelog to New York City.

Sun Moon Rain Stars (3.5 mins, 2009) – dir. Leslie Supnet
An animated visual elegy on Super-8, mourning the death of Mother Nature’s children.

Finding the Truth Around Us (2.5 mins, 2013) – dir. Leslie Supnet
Commissioned by POP Montreal, Finding the Truth Around Us investigates the concept of Electronic Voice Phenomenon – the process of using technological apparatuses to allow for communication with alternate dimensions.

Peak Experience (8 mins, 2018) – dir. Leslie Supnet
A meditation experience to unlock and reconcile one’s past in an effort to imagine a future actualized self.

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