Welcome to our new ongoing series of blog posts featuring interviews with our membership. The Film and Video Arts Society of Alberta is an artist-run co-operative that exists to facilitate and support the creation, exhibition, distribution, and preservation of independent film, video and new media art in Northern Alberta. What makes that all possible is the artists, filmmakers, and creators that are members of our society. Watch this space on #MembershipMonday as we highlight a different member weekly.
How did you start working in film and why?
It comes from a real, deep love of storytelling and visual narrative. I remember doing little flip book animations when I was really young. I went on to study visual communication design and that became my profession, but I still had this desire to explore film and animation. I took an animation course during my undergrad degree and then worked in the UK for several years as a designer. When I returned to Edmonton, I found myself with a little bit more peace of mind and time in general to explore things. It was at that point in my life where I decided to tell a story through rotoscope animation. That was my first film and it really grew from the desire to tell a story about the experience of change I was going through in life, moving back from one country to another.
How did you find FAVA and why did you join?
I decided to approach FAVA because I wanted to start exploring live-action filmmaking and learn that side of the craft rather than just my own solo animations. I really wanted to have a larger experience of what it means to make a film. I took their 16mm filmmaking course which spanned several months. It was really the desire to actually get to know the craft using the foundations of film storytelling that led me to FAVA.
What was a great collaborative experience you’ve had on a project?
I’ve been involved in a lot of wonderful collaborations, either helping people make films or having some great talent work with me on a project. I’d say the most meaningful and memorable experience would be my work in the Northwest Territories. Since 2012, I’ve had the honor of being part of an ongoing creative collaboration with elders, youth and government workers of the Tłı̨chǫ region of Behchokǫ̀, which is about a hundred kilometers Northwest of Yellowknife. I’ve been working with community members to recontextualize oral history through animated film production, but it’s community-based film production. My small part was trying to orchestrate events and have youth contribute visuals, gather stories, and then piece it all together. That was a really memorable collaboration.
How has FAVA supported your filmmaking journey?
It’s been so important to have FAVA here in Edmonton. It was vital to get things off the ground at different stages in my life and still is, I would say. I think there’s three really important things that FAVA has provided. To make films in general, you need financial support, you need material support, and then you need community. You need people to come together to get a project off the ground. FAVA has provided all three of those at different stages through awards and other financial resources. It’s definitely provided the equipment and the gear over the years to get projects off the ground as well. And most importantly, it has that community. The ability to work with talented people really serves as a resource as well when starting a new project.
How does it feel to present your work with an audience?
That’s an interesting experience because when you’ve seen the film evolve from initial conception to final production, you’ve seen the growth of that project over months, sometimes years, but at a very small scale. Then when it’s screened to an audience, it’s really strange because you go from this very private experience of the film to this sudden shift of viewing it as a public experience. And it’s no longer yours, in a sense. It’s really a fascinating shift to see the reaction of the audience and to be simultaneously part of the audience, but also the creator.
What are you working on next?
I have technically finished the film, but I’m still completing the title and credits for a short animated hand-drawn film about the experience of lockdown. I think the next project will probably be a continuation of that. I’m making these short projects that sort of embody a lived experience. It’s sort of about using animation as a medium, specifically hand-drawn animation, through which to reflect on the experience of just being alive in this current moment in time.
Where can we see your work?
Check out Adolfo’s website! https://adolforuiz.org/