Not to bring a downer to anyone’s weekend or anything, but here’s some shitty news from Film Threat contributor Pat “flick” Harrison:
The Blinding Light, Vancouver’s full-time microcinema (the only one in North America) will be closing its doors at the end of July. This also heralds the potential end of the Vancouver Underground Film Fest.
Alex McKenzie, proprietor, has decided to pursue filmmaking and independent curation, having just gotten a taste of a European and US tour with his own works. Rumour has it the microcinema had reached its creative apex for McKenzie, and had become an institution of its own. Although it was the best and only regular venue for live film mixing, film scratching, musical accompaniment, performance/film combos, and any other weird and spectacular things you could do with a projection screen, and though a large crew of volunteers was necessary to keep the place running and spread the word, there is no doubt that McKenzie was the driving curatorial voice and master administrator who managed to run the amazing Vancouver bylaw gauntlet (try selling booze in this town!), raise funds from various government agencies, keep his cinema in the local and international spotlight, and keep up pressure on the lazy Vancouver arts scene by his vigorous example.
Reaction from the Vancouver film community will doubtless be sadness mixed with panic.
The following is a message from McKenzie sent out to collaborators:
The Blinding Light!! Cinema will be closing its doors in late July of 2003 after five years as Vancouver’s – and North America’s – only full time underground cinema. Primary programmer and coordinator Alex MacKenzie will continue his work as a curator in a freelance capacity as well as committing the majority of his time to his own work as a media artist.
“I always saw this project as having a time limit, so this moving on makes sense to me. As much as it has been an amazing time in my life, I am excited and itching for a change.” says MacKenzie.
The Blinding Light has been a full time job for Mackenzie, who, along with a committed team of some 40 volunteers, has donated his time to the maverick cinema for the length of its run.
This will also mark the end of the Vancouver Underground Film Festival, an integral part of the cinema’s public face.
“It has been an incredible five years for me, and I trust that the mark the Blinding Light has made on Vancouver culture will continue to be felt through new collectives, activities and upstarts well into the future.”
The Blinding Light has been a hatching ground for a wide range of artists and experiments, cross-pollinating artistic practices and helping to encourage new modes of _expression. Groups like the Eye of Newt, Multiplex Grand, The Narcopleptic Videographer and many others have been able to cut their teeth in this space allowing and taking risks that wouldn’t have been otherwise possible.
Late July promises a no-holds-barred closing night bash as well as a Blinding Light Garage Sale.
Keep your eyes open for the fourth and final issue of 250W, the Blinding Light zine, available in mid-June…
So…what we wanna know is, which one of you is gonna pick up the torch?