Next Wave Collective: Our Review of ‘Digital Prism’

Posted in Blog, Movies, News by - July 10, 2017
Next Wave Collective: Our Review of ‘Digital Prism’

Digital Prism sells itself as an immersive event of music, event, and film making. It took place at ildsjel collective, a space deep within the Port Lands. The Toronto neighborhood served as one of the locations for Luminato last year. I’m East End boy. And I’m finally happy to see more space like this on this side of the Don River. There were already a dozen people when it opened up, and there would be more. Up and coming filmmakers and actors made up most of the crowd.

The collective separated and labeled their exhibits with old TVs saying ‘Film,’ ‘Virtual Reality,’ etc. I started with the virtual reality section of the event. And I think I did well despite being under the influence. In this section, filmmaker/game designer Elli Rayani let the crowd try out “Circuit Rider”. He designed the prototype of a game, mixing a shoot-up genre with story lines in between levels. This is one of Rayani’s many projects.

But I came there for the films, which they were showing two rooms away. There were some seats in the sides. But there were also cushions on top of a Persian rug in the middle of the floor. The whole set-up kind of reminds of the fictional one in Funeral Parade of Roses. But seriously I’m going to talk about the movies now. I didn’t catch all eleven shorts. But the five I did catch were excellent, all of which portrayed strong female characters.

The standout short is Alex Loubert and Zach Ramelan’s Companionship, about a dating site in the future. A woman finds a man through the app which lists the vocal ranges of the people in the site. Strange. She chooses a white male baritone (Loubert). And we eventually realize that this tall masculine man is a robot. Shenanigans ensue, and not in a good and funny way.

Grace Munro stars in a short about an unconventional depiction of pregnancy in Fil Santos’ It Wants To Be Born. Munro plays a woman who bears the children of one of the men she lures to bed. Because this is a horror film so calling him up would be harder. Because she killed him. There’s Sarah Simone’s Margoland. It’s about Margo (Pam Hyatt), a cantankerous senior. She set herself on the idea of visiting Canada’s Largest Nickel with her dead dog’s ashes. Standing against her is her caring Filipino social worker (Xavier De Guzman). I like seeing my people in film within or without the conventional roles prescribed to us.

There’s also Sherren Lee’s Benjamin. It’s a short about what happens to four friends after one of them survive a miscarriage. The performances in it help bring a certain spirit. It’s as if these characters lived lives before and after the short. Lastly, there’s Ryan Stephenson Price’s Misinformed. It’s about a female police officer (Victoria Urquhart). She’s getting what can be a bad lead on an arms deal from an informer (Randy Singh). It’s sufficiently delivers tension and comedy in its short running time.

A set up like the one in ildsjel is good. But it’s the content they provide that made the event worthwhile. I can’t wait for the next one.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.