AFK | Screenings

A Tyrant’s Fear of Songs

Aryel René Jackson, Michael J Love, Colectivo Los Ingrávidos, Rana Nazzal Hamadeh, Maya Jeffereis, Charles Officer, Lananh Chu, Jayce Salloum, Hoda Afshar, Firas Shehadeh
Curated by: wave~form~projects
Blue sky and sunny day illuminating a landscape on the side of a hill. A small figure is seen in the distance. On the top is writing in Arabic letters. On bottom, subtitles read, “We would be freer.”
Black and white image with soft, cloud-like textures slightly obscuring the image underneath which shows a woman in traditional attire gazing downwards.
Blue sky and sunny day illuminating a landscape on the side of a hill. A small figure is seen in the distance. On the top is writing in Arabic letters. On bottom, subtitles read, “We would be freer.”
Black and white image with soft, cloud-like textures slightly obscuring the image underneath which shows a woman in traditional attire gazing downwards.
A square image placed atop a blue sky with a flock of birds moving. The square image is abstract yellow, peach, and blue colors.
Overhead shot of two koi fish coloured white and yellow. The white fish has orange spots on its face. The water catches glimmers of light.
Black and white scene showcasing trails of smoke illuminated by sparks of light. Roofs of homes and chimneys can be seen in the glow.
A square image is imposed over a background of stars in space. The square image is a capture of a viewfinder which showcases levels of measurements.
An image split with two elements. On the left is a 3D-rendered image of a street with a figure facing their back towards the viewer. On the right are Arabic letters, on top of green patterns that resemble maps.

The future is a constant wake

Aryel René Jackson, Michael J Love
USA | 2019 | DIGITAL | 6 MIN | English

The future is a constant wake centers soil as a conduit for sustained engagement with previous generations. Developed in collaboration with choreographer Michael J. Love, Jackson proposes a somatic way of forging connection with the past through touch and movement.

Innis Town Hall

2 Sussex Ave, Toronto, ON M5S 1J5

Sidewalk-level entrance, elevator and ramp available, door width 32 inches, no automatic doors. No accessible parking on-site. Four wheelchair accessible seats in the cinema. 15 step-free seats in row 9. Accessible gender-neutral washroom located on the 2nd and 3rd floor.

For a map of Innis Town Hall, click here

COVID-19 Policy

Images Festival is committed to providing an accessible festival and continues to work to reduce barriers to participation at our events. This year, we are implementing a COVID-19 policy to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission for all, and to prioritize the participation of people who are disability-identified, immunocompromised, or part of an otherwise vulnerable group.

The following guidelines will be in place: Self-Assessment: We ask that staff and participants screen themselves for COVID-19 before visiting the exhibition.

In this time of heightened war and unfolding genocide, the role of the witness remains at the forefront of our collective attention. Daily incursions on Palestinian civilians are live streamed direct to screens, held in our hands. As Ariella Azoulay writes in the Civil Contract of Photography, viewing images of such catastrophic circumstances becomes a civil act. The role of the witness affirms the citizenship of those who have been denied their place; to witness serves as an affirmation of life and inherent human value.

While the act of witnessing remains necessary, the role of beauty holds a tender, easily overlooked yet crucial position. We must find refuge to support the flickering fires of hope, not only for those in most dire need but also for weary witnesses, relentless activists, and allies in joint struggles across the globe.

In the late Palestinian author Mahmoud Darwish’ poem “On This Land,” he writes of the valiant and steadfast love of land, cultural endurance, and the “tyrant’s fear of songs.” The Tyrant's Fear of Songs short film program presents works by international filmmakers who experiment with dreams, poetry, and beauty to address our social and civil contracts to one another as we battle systems of tyranny.

These short films reflect fractured and layered settler/colonial histories carried on land and bodies. They traverse time, genre, and narrative style. Reflecting on past and present histories of slavery, occupation, and indentured labour, as well as musings on our real and virtual dystopian worlds, these works are united through their lessons for resistance. The spectral horrors of domination are transformed into songs of fortitude and communion, offering rejuvenating sustenance for the long struggle ahead.

We pay tribute to and honour the life of much loved Black Canadian filmmaker Charles Officer, who radiated with his creative integrity and compassion. This was evident in his early experimental, elegiac short film Vocal Demonstration which is included here in the program.

Content Warning for Untitled part 3b: (as if) beauty never ends.:

Imagery includes graphic, violent conflict footage of human suffering and death.

Active listeners from HELD Agency will be present for this screening.

Aryel René Jackson

Aryel René Jackson is a multi-disciplinary non-binary Black afro-creole artist. Their practice has considered land and landscape as sites of storytelling and personal representation with a material focus on the tools and aesthetics of agriculture, archeology, meteorology, and flight. Jackson lives and works in Texas, where they are an educator and curator.

Michael J Love

Michael J. Love is an interdisciplinary tap dance artist whose embodied research intermixes Black queer feminist theories and aesthetics with a rigorous practice that critically engages the Black cultural past as it imagines Black futurity. Love lives and works in Philadelphia, where he is Assistant Professor of Dance at Ursinus College.

Colectivo Los Ingrávidos

Colectivo Los Ingrávidos "+300 films from 2012 the collective experiments from different documentary and cinematographic devices, digital and analog as well as interventions or appropriations from found footage that allows to demarcate the territory in which an image, being visual or sound, becomes a condition of possibility for a political art.”

Rana Nazzal Hamadeh

Rana Nazzal Hamadeh is a Palestinian artist and filmmaker currently based on unceded Anishinaabe Algonquin land. Her photography, film, and installation works look at issues related to time, space, land, and movement, offering interventions rooted in a decolonial framework.

Maya Jeffereis

Maya Jeffereis is an artist and filmmaker whose work seeks to expand overlooked histories and fill in archival gaps with counter narratives, personal histories, and speculative fictions. Jeffereis’ work has been presented in the United States and internationally, including

the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Brooklyn Museum, The Noguchi Museum, among other institutions.

Charles Officer

Charles was born and raised in Toronto. He was a fashion model, hockey player and actor appearing on stage, film, and television, before making his directorial debut at the 2000 Toronto International Film Festival with his short film When Morning Comes. He followed with the release of short films Short Hymn, Silent War (2002), Pop Song and Urda/Bone (2003), and a music video for K’naan’s Strugglin. Throughout his career, Charles was regarded as a leader in Black Canadian independent film, a title that will remain as part of his legacy. His 2008 feature, Nurse.Fighter.Boy, produced in residence at the CFC, premiered at TIFF and was nominated for 10 Genie Awards, sparking world renowned interest.

Charles continued to deliver on his promising talent with features

including The Skin We’re In, Unarmed Verses and crime-noir, Akilla’s Escape. Charles directed four episodes of the CBC/BET+ drama, The Porter, which follows railway workers and the creation of the world’s first Black union. The Porter received 12 awards at the 2023 Canadian Screen Awards, for Best Direction, Drama Series and Best Dramatic Series. The Porter is Canada’s largest Black-led television series, and demonstrates Charles’ commitments to nurturing Black talent and to the increased representation of Black creators. Charles served as a trailblazer for Black creators by championing stories through his roles as the co-founder of Black Screen Office. Charles Officer was Founder of the award-winning independent production company, Canesugar Filmworks.

Lananh Chu

Lananh Chu is a Vietnamese writer and maker. She-they is calling for a ceasefire and unwaveringly supporting the Palestinian liberation.

Jayce Salloum

Salloum observes the world and creates/collects images/texts to make meaning from. A grandson of Syrian immigrants (from what is now Lebanon), raised on Sylix land, now on the territories of the xʷməθkʷey̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh and səíl̓wətaʔł. Recognizing and acting on this is an everyday practice, but let’s face it, he could do a lot more.

Hoda Afshar

Hoda Afshar was born in Tehran, Iran and is now based in Melbourne, Australia. Through her art practice, Hoda explores the nature and possibilities of documentary image-making. Working across photography and moving-image, she considers the representation of gender, marginality, and displacement. Hoda’s work has been widely exhibited both locally and internationally and published online and in print. Her work is part of numerous private and public collections including the National Gallery of Victoria, University of Queensland Art Museum, Monash University Museum of Art , Art Gallery of Western Australia, and Monash Gallery of Art. Hoda is a member of Eleven, a new collective of contemporary Muslim Australian artists, curators, and writers whose aim is to disrupt the current politics of representation and hegemonic discourses.

Firas Shehadeh

Firas Shehadeh is a Palestinian artist and researcher based in Vienna. His work engages with worldbuilding, meaning, aesthetics, and identity after/on the Internet. He is interested in post-colonial effects, technology, and history. He holds a Master of Fine Arts from the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna.

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