The Commons @ 401 Curation: to be here is to be affected
Curated by Kelly Lui and Kaitlynn Tomaselli

42 Mins 
All Ages

May 25, 2024
Bachir/Yerex Presentation Space, The Commons @ 401
4th floor, 401 Richmond Street West
10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

One weekend a year, dozens of sites open their doors for Doors Open Toronto, a city-wide celebration recognized as one of Toronto’s most culturally significant events. The City of Toronto is excited to work with the community to showcase their sites to residents and visitors.

FADO, imagineNATIVE, Reel Asian, SAVAC, and Vtape, collectively known as The Commons @ 401, are pleased to present the film curation to be here is to be affected for this year’s city-wide Doors Open event. We invite drop-in visitors into the Bachir Yerex Presentation Space to view a rotation of films hand-picked by this year’s leading curators, Kelly Lui and Kaitlynn Tomaselli.

This year’s Doors Open invites the public to discover the “hidden histories” that make up the city. How does one uncover the histories within our own backyards? What does it mean for histories to be hidden? And what are the conditions needed to receive these histories?

“Our story begins in the here and now, in the big city with all its promise and all of its danger and all of its pleasures” (SNIP, Terril Calder, 2016). In this world, to be here is to be affected. It is the complex histories that have taken place that have brought us here, whether we are directly or indirectly affected.  

This program calls on you to witness, listen, and confront the ever-changing landscapes of our existence.

Soup Over Bethlehem
Director: Larissa Sansour
Palestine, United Kingdom | 2006 | 9 min
Arabic | Documentary Short

Soup Over Bethlehem depicts an ordinary Palestinian family, Sansour’s own, around a dinner table on a rooftop overlooking the West Bank city of Bethlehem. What starts as a culinary discussion about the national dish ‘mloukhieh’ soon evolves into a personal and engaging conversation about politics – thereby emphasising the symbiosis of food and politics so indicative of the Palestinian experience.

Larissa Sansour was born in 1973 in East Jerusalem, Palestine, and studied fine arts in London, New York and Copenhagen. Central to her work is the dialectics between myth, fiction and historical narrative. In her recent works, she uses science fiction to address social and political issues. Working mainly with film, Sansour also produces installations, photos and sculptures.

A Hundred Joys
Director: Amanda Ann-Min Wong
Canada | 2021 | 5 min
English | Documentary Short

A Hundred Joys is a film about the main intersection of Toronto’s East Chinatown, a community whose stores spread out onto the streets. This documentary pairs cinematic impressions of the neighbourhood alongside interviews with residents and business owners, giving voice to their experiences of community, identity, anxieties, and hopes for the future.

Amanda Ann-Min Wong (they/she) is a Toronto-based film director. Originally from Southeast Asia, their work often explores memory, nostalgia, and community from a tenderly-crafted diasporic perspective. 

Amanda’s latest directorial projects include CBC Gem docu-series digi-Art (2023), immersive film More Wheels More 多”輪”多 (2023), and upcoming narrative short Rosa’s Flowers. They are currently writing their debut feature film, Scum.

Moving Bodies
Director: MC Coble
Canada | 2024 | 7 min
No audio | Experimental Short

Beings climbing, clinging, crawling, reaching and searching. Bodies moving in various tempi, on multiple structures and surfaces and through natural elements like wind and water. In motion, always in process, the potential for new interactions between species, things, and bodies. 

MC Coble (they/them) seeks to make visible the hidden/ignored histories and contemporary urgencies of marginalized communities, informed in part, by their own experiences as a non-binary trans* artist, activist and educator. Photography, performance art, video and recently drawing form a material foundation for their critical and intersectional approach to thinking along with queer & trans* feminist politics, investigating the power of play and the potential of failure as methods. Often working site-specifically, research-based and collectively are integral to Coble’s ways of working. Coble’s artistic activities not only involve creating and other art works, but also leading and engaging in workshops, making publications, and community organizing.

Director: Zeesy Powers
Canada | 2015 | 5 min
No Dialogue | Animated Experimental Short

The skyline of Toronto is celebrated and satirized in this animation. Music by Raffaella Crispino.

Zeesy Powers’ work explores how the unstated rules of society shape our experience. For over a decade, she has worked across media to create interactive works for performers and audience participants. Her performances, videos and installations have been exhibited internationally. As a facilitator of Wikipedia workshops in Canada and the United States, Powers works with individuals and communities to expand the public knowledge base of underrepresented artists, particularly women and marginalized peoples. Powers has been an invited observer and participant in international telecommunications and cybersecurity conferences for military-industrial, corporate and activist realms. 

Director: Terril Calder
Canada | 2016 | 15 min
English | Animated Dramatic Short

The power of Indigenous storytelling in between the lines of colonial history.

One of the foremost Métis media artists practising in Canada today, Terril Calder is a multi-disciplinary creator born in Fort Frances, Ontario, and currently living in Toronto. Calder’s Métis lineage is from the Red River Settlement and the Orkney Cree Métis. While her current practice is focused on stop-motion projects, which she writes, directs, crafts and animates, Calder also has an extensive background in performance art, visual art and media art.

The Commons @ 401 is a shared-space initiative of five non-profit arts organizations: FADO Performance Art Centre; imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival; SAVAC (South Asian Visual Arts Centre); Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival; and Vtape. Occupying the west end of 401 Richmond’s fourth floor, The Commons represents the largest tenant-led renovation in the building’s history. It contains offices for each organization, as well as shared, publicly accessible multipurpose spaces, including The Bachir/Yerex Presentation Space, a research centre, a meeting room, and a social and reception area.

Suite 450
401 Richmond St. W.
Toronto, ON M5V 3A8

1 (416) 542-1661

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Monday – Thursday
by appointment only


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