The 33rd Annual Images Festival Announces Programming Highlights

January 21, 2020


We are thrilled to share details about our upcoming 2020 program schedule!

The 33rd Images Festival will take place from 16th to 22nd April, 2020.

The 2020 festival will continue to present multi-faceted exhibitions and screenings as part of our OFF SCREEN program including: Jess Dobkin (Wetrospective) at the Art Gallery of York University; Silvia Kolbowski (A Few Howls Again, guest-curated by Magdalyn Asimakis, Jared Quinton, and Alexandra Symons Sutcliffe) at Gallery 44; Aleesa Cohene (Kathy) at shell; Ricarda Roggan (KINO) at Goethe Media Space at the Goethe-Institut Toronto; Danielle Hyde, Jaene F. Castrillon, Kate Meawasige, and Louis Esmé (Thaumaturgy) at Tangled Art Gallery, co-presented with Charles Street Video; and Beck G-Osborne, Maddie Alexander, Nala Ismacil, and Dana Buzzee (behind the curtain, curated by Morgan Sears-Williams) at Xpace Cultural Centre.

Images Festival is also excited to announce the annual Keynote Lecture delivered by film scholar and critic Girish Shambu, titled Manifesto for a New Cinephilia, which will focus on 21st-century film culture. This year’s Canadian Spotlight will revisit the nine-episode machinima (machine+cinema) series TimeTraveller™ (2008-2013) created by Kahnawa:ke-born, Montreal-based multimedia artist Skawennati.


Canadian Spotlight 

Skawennati: TimeTraveller™ (2008-2013)

Skawennati is known for making art that addresses history, the future, and change. TimeTraveller™ is a multiplatform project that features a nine-episode machinima series (created using the Second Life program as a medium) that tells the cyberpunk tale of Hunter, a young Mohawk man of the 22nd century who looks to his past to figure out what his future will be. Despite his impressive range of traditional skills as a warrior, Hunter is unable to find his way in an overcrowded, hyper-consumerist, and heavily technologized world. In the search for clarity, he has decided to use his edutainment system — his TimeTraveller™ — to learn more about his heritage, in the hopes of finding his path in life.

Keynote Lecture 

Girish Shambu: Manifesto for a New Cinephilia

For Images Festival’s 2020 Keynote Lecture, film scholar and critic Girish Shambu will draw from his 2019 article Manifesto for a New Cinephilia to trace a transformation from the old cinephilia of post-WWII France to an expanded narrative of cine-love. New cinephilia interrogates and expands auteurism, while valuing collectivist production, a diversity of voices and subjectivities, and a plethora of narratives about cinephilic life and experience. As touchstones of new cinephilia, works such as The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open (2019) by Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers & Kathleen Hepburn, and filmmakers such as Maya Deren, Alanis Obomsawin, Chantal Akerman, and Ava Duvernay acquire a singular significance.

A Few Howls Again: Silvia Kolbowski 

Gallery 44 

March 20 - April 25, 2020 

Curated by Jared Quinton, Alexandra Symons Sutcliffe, and Magdalyn Asimakis

A Few Howls Again presents film and photographic works by Argentine-born, New York-based artist Silvia Kolbowski. Kolbowski’s research-based visual and textual practice addresses questions of political resistance, the unconscious, impermanence, and the creation of history. In this exhibition, three films by the artist examine contemporary issues around political narrativization and power structures through historical figures and film history. In collaboration with the artist, the curators have selected fragments from Kolbowski’s archive that frame both the public and personal aspects of her work. As Kolbowski is also a prolific writer on art and politics, A Few Howls Again will extend into the written word through the inclusion of selected texts.

behind the curtain 

Beck G-Osborne, Maddie Alexander, Nala Ismacil, and Dana Buzzee 

Xpace Cultural Centre

April 10 - May 9, 2020 

Curated by Morgan-Sears Williams

behind the curtain calls attention to the censorship — both silent and overt — that 2SLGBTQIA+ artists face across institutions and organizations. Using image-based works and writing to demonstrate a collective resistance to this policing of queer bodies and lives, behind the curtain seeks to create a dialogue about these experiences that happen often within institutional spaces. In these spaces, works that are deemed too obscene for the public are often pushed behind a curtain or removed altogether, rather than allowing a possibly difficult dialogue. behind the curtain speaks to these instances of refusal by large institutions or organizations, as well as requests to change work in order to make it less political, less queer, or less sexual from a queer feminist lens.

Kathy: Aleesa Cohene 


April 18 - May 24, 2020 

Curated by The Shell Projects

Kathy is a multi-channel video depicting Kathy Bates’ performances sourced from the actor’s film and television appearances throughout her career. Aleesa Cohene culls, cuts, and edits Bates’ performances to reveal a difficult dialogue between Bates and the way we see her. The interactions in the work draw attention to how Bates’ roles, ones often viewed by the film industry as “secondary” and ones that explicitly failed to meet normative standards of femininity, reinforced the legitimacy of those standards. In her combined subordinate roles, she is sexual, aggressive, abused, abusive, subservient, truth-telling, manipulative, non-woman, and non-man. In this work, Kathy Bates takes up central space, playing only against herself.

KINO: Ricarda Roggan 

Goethe Media Space @ Goethe-Institut Toronto 

March 27 – May 28, 2020 

Curated by Jutta Brendemühl

Ricarda Roggan, one of Germany’s preeminent photographers, captures the special aura of film projectors. Their weight, clattering, and flickering have fascinated the photographer since her youth when she worked as a projectionist in the USA. When searching for projectors retired in the digital age, she encountered a collector who kept old 35mm, 16mm, and 8mm machines in his Leipzig garden shed. Roggan separated out the ones she liked — Weimar, Noris, Ernemann — and, with her large-format analog cameras, produced stagings only illuminated by the projector lights through an ingenious system of reflections.

Pine Street: Charlotte Zhang 

Critical Distance Centre for Curators 

April 14 - 26, 2020 

Curated by Steffanie Ling

Pine Street (2019) is a looping two-channel video installation by Nanaimo-raised and Los Angeles-based artist Charlotte Zhang. Commissioned by the Nanaimo Art Gallery for the group exhibition Estuary, the film is composed of sequences conceived in collaboration with former Chinatown residents and people who are connected to them. For this installation, Zhang was thinking about the parallel structure of conversation and “the ways in which we build and dismantle Chinatown over and over again through conversing.”

The sequences are edited to appear at moments that sonically conflict. A cast of local residents armed with metal detectors swarm an unassuming hill. We witness a conversation between former classmates at the Chinese senior home. The artist goes hunting in a chicken coop. With every loop, these and other images, dialogues and sounds are recut through the process of recollection.


Danielle Hyde, Jaene F. Castrillon, Kate Meawasige, and Louis Esmé 

Tangled Art Gallery 

March 13 - April 24, 2020 

Curated by Jaene F. Castrillon

Thaumaturgy creates an immersive and participatory call-to-action to fight for the future of our planet’s well-being. Featuring four newly commissioned works from four Indigenous, Disabled artists, inspired by the four elements of earth, wind, fire, and water. Tobacco, sage, cedar and sweetgrass work to resist the formalities of a gallery, giving way to living tableaus that tie together the 4 elemental installations. In paying homage to the land and the place we call home, we come back to our base teachings of love and respect to show the 'wonders' of our environment and the ability each of us has to reshape our future with our own hands. Thaumaturgy is co-presented with Charles Street Video.

Wetrospective: Jess Dobkin 

Art Gallery of York University (AGYU) 

April 15 – June 21, 2020 

Curated by Emelie Chhangur

This debut solo exhibition by internationally acclaimed and Dora-nominated Toronto-based performance artist Jess Dobkin follows the artist’s research into performance art archives. It serves the double function of being a retrospective and a launching pad for the creation of what might constitute an archive of live arts in Canada. Wetrospective looks at the dynamic ways that performance can exist before and beyond the live event, at the artists who made them, at the energetic and spiritual nature of documentation — or of the performance materials themselves.


Images Festival is one of the most enduring and respected platforms in the world for the exhibition and dissemination of independent film and media art. The festival takes place annually in Toronto, Ontario, and has been attended by more than 30,000 people each year. The 2020 edition will take place from April 16 - 22nd, and will include approximately 20 in-cinema programs, 16 gallery exhibitions, 15 public program events, and five live performances. Images has spent the last 32 years presenting media works that range from the formally and aesthetically challenging, to the personal and lyrical, and is committed to cultivating a passionate arts community who see moving image culture as a means of understanding our contemporary context.

Images Festival acknowledges that the land on which we gather and organize is the territory of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. Today, the meeting place of Toronto is home to many Indigenous people.

A territorial acknowledgement can demonstrate a coming to awareness, and provoke thought and reflection, all of which are essential in beginning to establish reciprocal relations. This acknowledgement should not function as closure, resignation, or acceptance of the structural conditions of settler colonialism that remain in effect today. The Images Festival will continue to ask what it means for us to keep open a spirit of sustained inquiry into the complexities of our situation.


For media-specific inquiries regarding Images Festival, please contact Samantha Chater:

309-401 Richmond Street W 

Toronto, ON 


+1 416 971 8405


Twitter: @imagesfestival 

Instagram: @imagesfestival 

Facebook: Images Festival

Images Festival acknowledges the generous support from our public funders: The Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council, the Department of Canadian Heritage, and Telefilm Canada.

Image Credit: Skawennati, Five Roses, 2013, Machinimagraph from TimeTraveller™

Image Courtesy: Skawennati / ELLEPHANT