Monthly Archives: April 2012

Double Vision 2012 – the winners!

Double Vision 2012CAPIC‘s  unique exhibition where illustrators and photographers are paired up by a draw, to create portraits of each other – was recently held and the results were outstanding.

Check out this year’s winners!

First Place: Barbara Spurll & Michael Cooper

Second Place: Julianna Kolesova & Henry Feather

Third Place (a tie!):

Charlotte Oh & Meghan Hall

Laurie Lafrance & Paul Rincon


Rotolight Anova and RL48 lauded by NAB 2012 & BJP

The world’s oldest photography magazine, The British Journal of Photography (BJP) has voted the Rotolight RL48-B the Best-Value LED Lighting.

“When It comes to portable LED lighting products, you don’t always have to splash the cash to get a well-made effective lighting solution,” said BJP’s Michael Roscoe.

“It casts a punchy and crisp cast of light with a 110 degree beam angle with a very even light distribution, which means there are no unsightly hot spots.

“There’s no doubt the Rotolight kit should appeal to both beginners and expert videographers. Its small size and light weight make it ideal when you’re travelling light or when you want to light subject matter in cramped conditions.”

>> View the article.
In addition to the BJP kudos, NAB Show 2012 has chosen the Rotolight Anova as one of its Top 20 Best Products at this year’s event.

Craig Chartier, Director of Photography at SBC Global, saw the world’s most advanced LED floodlight for the first time at NAB and chose the ANOVA thousands of products on display.



Vistek’s Every Picture Tells a Story Photo Challenge: The Winners!

Thank you, once again, and congratulations to everyone who submitted a photo to this year’s contest– you made the voting process a challenging one for all of us here, at Vistek! But we did manage to chose our winners. And we would like to introduce some of them to you!

Meet Jason Amlin, whose Step in to the Light made him our Grand Prize Winner.

Our winners were as follows:

  • Grand Prize Winner: Step in to the Light by Jason Amlin
  • Best Black & White: Icabod Lane by Paul Spears
    First Place: The Ankor Kid  by Casey Patrick
    Second Place: Meg  by Ryan Coudlrey
    Third Place: Kickflip  by Steve Marentette
  • HOPE
    First Place: Reaching for a Dream by Larry Louie
    Second Place: Spiritual  by Collin Cregg
    Third Place: Hope in Haiti  by Jay Perry
  • JOY
    First Place: Fullness of Life  by Henry VanderSpek
    Second Place: Doggie Paddle  by Galen Lofstead
    Third Place: Big Sister and Little Brother by Michelle Somerville
    First Place: John, in the 1971 Coupe de Ville by Alastair Bird
    Second Place: Flowers and Those Legs  by Dy Vy
    Third Place: Untitled  by Levi Wedel
    First Place: Lone Tree in Yellowstone by Anita Erdmann
    Second Place: La Caverne  by Marc Filion
    Third Place: Untitled by Isabelle Lafontaine

And here are some more of our happy winners picking up their prizes and posing with their winning entries!

[flagallery gid=17 name=”Every Picture Tells a Story Photo Challenge – Winners!”]



WEB EXCLUSIVE: Lynne Fernie talks Hot Docs!

Hot Docs, Canada’s annual International Documentary Festival, is now officially underway and the good folks at Point of View Magazine have graciously shared with us this exclusive interview with Hot Docs Senior Canadian Programmer, Lynne Fernie.

Hot Docs‘ Senior Canadian Programmer Lynne Fernie talks with Point of View’s Nick Gergesha about her role at North America’s largest film festival, including some great tips for filmmakers. 

NG: As the Senior Canadian Programmer, what are your responsibilities? Can you give me a rundown of the selection process?

LF: I work with a team. The Canadian programming is very different from the international programming in that it deals with our home country. We are going to be seeing filmmakers, whether we invite their films or aren’t able to invite them. There is a layer of communication involved and also a layer of terror! It is very difficult. I think that is one of the reasons why the senior [programmer] is someone who has a level of experience in working within the Canadian sector, getting to know who filmmakers are, who the producing companies are, and what the history is. I try to treat this with some sensitivity.

How it works for us, and I’m glad you’re asking because people don’t really always know, is that we start screening films in the middle of December. However, we don’t have too many submitted at that point because the early deadline is in the middle of September. I wish that we would get more submissions at that time. I have Alex Rogalski, a collaborator and Canadian programmer, and Michelle Latimer. I have been working with Alex and Michelle for three years, and we eventually get about 350 films. Every film is looked at twice. Two separate programmers look at every single film, and we discuss it in weekly meetings. So nothing really gets tossed off. You can be very tired if you’re watching ten films a day for eight weeks, so we set up this process. We discuss each film and basically ask, “Is this really a possibility for the festival,” or “are we going to pass?” We then start making our shortlist as the weeks go by, and we are very generous with this shortlist.

We are very generous at the beginning, particularly. We are much tougher towards the end. Once we’ve seen everything, we start to hone from that shortlist. It’s not like ‘Alex chooses a film, I choose a film,’ but rather the selection process is 90% consensual. They’re just great films: they deal with challenging issues, they have an interesting approach, and they should be in the festival. We have very big debates about films, and that’s what makes it worthwhile for a programmer. These discussions are very intellectual; there are disagreements, and we go quite in-depth with some of the films. That makes us hone our own way of being in the world as well as influencing the way we are seeing in the world.

NG: So it affects you just as much as it affected the filmmakers and will affect their audience.

LF: Absolutely. I think we really take that position because, as a Canadian team, we don’t see 1800 films like the international programmers. We have great meetings, and I like to really talk about the films instead of just going, “forget it, forget it, forget it, yes,” or anything like that. We also have snacks.

NG: Are there any specific criteria that you follow when selecting Canadian documentaries?

LF: Make a good film! We look for a range of approaches and structures, from the very personal to the experimental, and from the observational to almost the ‘classic’ expository or participatory modes. We are looking for a range so that we don’t have all verité films one year, or that nothing gets knocked out because of the approach that the filmmaker takes. It’s just, “can you make that unique?” What kind of a story are you telling? So it’s the structure and the approach, and of course the craft. Sometimes an issue or a subject is so unknown that the craft doesn’t have to be what would be approved by the [most professional] cinematographers and such. As long as it is staying engaging and the filmmaker is really telling something or they have really gotten into a character in a way that is unusual, it doesn’t have to be the most prettily shot film…[to have us decide that it] should be seen regardless.

NG: I remember seeing The Pirate Tapes last year, and that seemed to approach a unique subject rather unusually.

LF: It was really interesting. There were parts of it that were slick and high craft, and others that were very shaky. Our process cannot be hard and fast. We look for a range of subjects that engage us, whether it’s the issues of ecology or a deeply personal portrait. Every year this changes because we are not commissioning films, but rather just getting [them]. We especially look for the director’s voice. I don’t mean voice in the sense of voiceover or narration, but I mean that you can see a film like Three Walls from last year and you can see the director’s hand in the storytelling and cinematography. In that sense, the content lived up to the approach. The mandate is to look at filmmaking across Canada, and we don’t say that we have to have something from one area and a different film from another. Instead, if we find more Toronto films and not as many from Montreal, or if we have more from the Prairies, we allow the programme to change year by year. I think everything is changing–more so now because of digital technology.

NG: How do you receive most of your submissions? Do you get a lot of Vimeo links now?

LF: We get some Vimeo links. Though it will probably go more that way in the future, we mostly receive DVDs. If we start getting more online links, I’ll have to connect my computer to my television because I like to see the films as large as I can. This way I get a better sense of the cinema. Some films are fabulous on the small screen, but others are glorious on a big screen.

There are always heartbreaking films that we cannot get into the festival. There are always more good films than you can put in one single festival. I remember them, year after year, and I wish that we could have gotten certain films in. I feel somewhat badly about it, but I think that is the nature of running a festival. For example, we will get six fantastic portraits of an inner city, but you just can’t choose six fantastic portraits. This would be knocking out everyone else’s approach. I would say that we try and balance it: one year there will be more of one thing than another, and in the same way that you would look at a filmmaker’s body of work, we look at the programme’s body of selections over time.

I do know that on the Canadian team everyone has been involved in making films. They may not be doing it right now, but they have made them. Every one of us has had the experience of hoping to get into the festival. People might think that programmers don’t really care, but we actually care a little too much. At the end of the process we have a number of films that we would like to select, then we consult with the programming director, and we see what is in the international spectrum. Are there a lot of films with a certain approach or subject matter that they have selected? This is but one of the factors that will affect our decision…[but certainly we] take the international programmers’ list and use it to help our own decision making process.

I have turned down and not selected films of close friends before, and these filmmakers would not talk to me for a time afterward. You have to be able to handle something like that. They take it this way because they cared about their film so much. They put their heart, their soul, and their Visa card on the line, and then the film doesn’t get in. They love their subjects and it can be very hurtful when their film is not selected to screen. I would suggest to filmmakers to wait to fire off a letter if they are declined entrance into the program. Wait before you tell us how hateful, horrid, and wretched we are. You should wait a few days! And yes, we do make mistakes. You lose films that you wish you’d programmed. I think the best that can be asked is that you do it with a sense of aesthetics, politics, and the importance of issues.

READ THE FULL INTERVIEW ON DOCSPACE.CA and read more about Canadian films screening at Hot Docs in POV’s Summer issue.

Hot Docs runs from April 26 to May 6 at various theatres in Toronto.  For tickets visit


CONTACT 2012: Official Launch Friday, April 27!

The Scotiabank CONTACT photography festival is the world’s largest annual photography festival, boasting exhibitions by more than 1,000 talented local, national and international artists at more than 200 venues throughout Toronto for the entire month of May. And, since May is just around the corner, we thought we’d share our excitement by presenting to you some events happening this weekend  — just a taste of what this amazing festival will have to offer.

This Friday, April 27, sees the Festival’s launch at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art from 7pm  – 10pm.  The launch will give you a peak at two of CONTACT’s primary exhibits will let you feast your eyes on photography from the likes of Philippe Chancel, Cheryl Dunn, Barry Frydlender, Baudouin MouandaJon Rafman,  Bill Sullivan, Michael Wolf, Harry Callahan, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Bruce Gilden, Leon Levinstein, Helen Levitt, Lisette Model and Weegee all under the same roof.

And, if you can’t make it out to the launch, these two amazing exhibits will run throughout the month of May:

Exhibit:  Street View
Dates: April 28 – June 3
Location:  National Gallery of Canada at the MOCCA (952 Queen St W., Toronto)
Exhibit Hours: Tuesday through Sunday | 11am – 6pm

Exhibit: Public: Collective Identity | Occupied Spaces
Dates: April 28 – June 3
Location:  National Gallery of Canada at the MOCCA (952 Queen St W., Toronto)
Exhibit Hours: Tuesday through Sunday | 11am – 6pm

As if that weren’t enough – you’ll also be able to see the first appearance of Max Dean’s Foto Bug. His specially-configured Volkswagen Beetle will appear at various locations throughout the city over the course of the month-long festival to showcase photo albums and pass them on to willing new owners.

Max’s Project, Album, will be running throughout CONTACT in partnership with the AGO. Find out where (and when) he’ll be and check it out for yourself!

Other openings on launch night include:

If you happen to find yourself with a day to yourself tomorrow (Friday, April 27), there are plenty of CONTACT events to choose from.  And with over 1,000 exhibits over the month of May, you’d think that scheduling your time might prove to be a bit stressful. Luckily there’s an app for that! But if you don’t have an iPhone or Blackberry (or you’d just prefer a hard copy of the schedule!) drop by Vistek’s Toronto or Mississauga locations and grab your free copy of the CONTACT guidebook.  They disappear fast, though, so get your copy while you still can!

Oh, and while you’re there, you can check out our two in-store exhibits starting May 1 and running through to the end of the month in Toronto and Mississauga.

In addition to being a proud supporter and the official retail sponsor of CONTACT 2012, Vistek is pleased to play official sponsor to the 2012 CONTACT Portfolio Reviews.