ezra winton: Against empathy?

This short animation from The Atlantic highlights some of Professor Paul Bloom’s thoughts on why empathy—at least a kind of status quo mainstream empathy—isn’t really a good thing at all. The short should really be called “Against warm glow altruism,” as Bloom is focused on building off of Peter Singer’s concept of effective altruism and this isn’t really an argument against empathy per se. The animation is a little rudimentary, but it still serves as a provocation to the burgeoning industry of liberal documentary and its attendant army of NGOs,…read more

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ezra winton: 20 Questions for Film Curators

This past winter I taught a graduate seminar course at Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema (Concordia University) entitled “Curatorial Labour and the Politics of Programming.” It was a fantastic and meaningful experience and I was fortunate enough to have 13 really great students, all of whom suffered along with me as I attempted to make sense of my overly-ambitious and brand new syllabus. A few weeks in me and the students came up with a list of questions that someone curating or programming film might want or ought to ask themselves….read more

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ezra winton: Fighting Fascism by way of Understanding the Fascists

One of the common criticisms of advocacy films like Bully that I’ve heard and share is that the filmmakers narrowly focus on victims without ever exploring those who perpetrate. These films help along the equivocal knee-jerk reaction to oppression when we have a two-dimensional villain to point to: kids today! But why do kids bully and what are their lives like? Answering, or at least interrogating, these questions would move us in a direction to better understand the complexities of bullying and would likely elicit a more nuanced, thoughtful reaction…read more

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ezra winton: Streaming Truth to Power: CPVOD Launches!

The last 48 hours have been quite the whirlwind of activity at Cinema Politica HQ here in Montreal. We’ve been planning a launch date for our newest expansion of the political cinema terrain: Cinema Politica Video-On-Deman (or #CPVOD as we like to call it for short). Anna, our fearless Network Coordinator (she works with all the CP locals, or chapters, worldwide) came up with the brilliant turn-of-phase above, Streaming Truth to Power. Marie-Noelle has been multi-tasking design and translation to such an effect that I’m sure I saw custom-designed (and…read more

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ezra winton: Curating the North: Documentary Screening Ethics and Inuit Representation in (Festival) Cinema

This article was originally published at ArtThreat.net on December 17, 2015. Documentary festivals are certainly not immune to scandal and controversy, and this year’s RIDM, which took place in Montreal in November 2015, was no exception. Following on the heels of the festival’s public screenings of Dominic Gagnon’s film Of the North, Inuit artists like Tanya Tagaq and Alethea Arnaquq-Baril took to social media to express their dismay, anger and frustration over the inclusion of an ethically problematic film in the festival’s program. The resulting fallout revealed a deep chasm…read more

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Art Threat: Curating the North: Documentary Screening Ethics and Inuit Representation in (Festival) Cinema

Documentary festivals are certainly not immune to scandal and controversy, and this year’s RIDM, which took place in Montreal in November 2015, was no exception. Following on the heels of the festival’s public screenings of Dominic Gagnon’s film Of the North, Inuit artists like Tanya Tagaq and Alethea Arnaquq-Baril took to social media to express […]

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ezra winton: Hot Docs 22: CanCon and BrandCon

North America’s largest and most sweeping doc-deluge, the Canadian International Hot Docs Festival, is once again in full swing, and the moment wouldn’t be complete, for me at least, without some form of commentary that assesses this institutional giant as it marks another year. In that spirit and as with past “taking stock” previews (2014 is here, 2013 is here and 2012 is here) of Hot Docs, I humbly present my take on this year’s fest, divided into three Sergio Leone-inspired sections: what’s promising, what’s looking like a fixer-upper, and…read more

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