Uptown Sept 06 2012

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16 September 6, 2012 UPTOWN movies www.uptownmag.com Surrealist vs. surrealist Local filmaker Deco Dawson meets his match in the subject of his latest project, Keep a Modest Head, which premieres at TIFF this week movie preview DECO DAWSON: cess was made even longer by the fact the technology simply wasn't up to snuff for what Dawson want- ed to accomplish. "It's one of those projects that everyone asked me about for the him that was going to be a profile, a documentary," Dawson says. "The way that I crafted the script was that he'd told me all these fantastic stories, I could use that audio as the narration, create all these surreal re-enactments using miniatures and doing all this really magical stuff that he wouldn't have to be in. Because the film took so long we became a lot closer and better friends to the point that I was able to include scenes with him in it." The lengthy post-production pro- artist (who died in 2010, but Daw- son still uses the present-tense when speaking about him) was hesitant to have a film made about him but, after viewing some of Deco's work, he felt more confident. "He never wanted a film about sally unknown," says Dawson, 33, between takes on his latest project, a documentary about the Manitoba Hydro building. "He's got an incred- ible personality. He's very extro- verted, but that's among friends." Dawson says the multi-talented films. From the nine-minute, one- take Anders Erickson drum solo of Dumb Angel to his interpretation of Metric's Live at Metropolis con- cert film, Dawson has developed a signature visual style that's impos- sible to duplicate. His latest pro- ject, the eight-years-in-the-making Keep a Modest Head (about Que- bec-born surrealist Jean Benoît), sees him challenge his aesthetic further. Premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 7, the 19-minute short blends nar- ration from Benoit with artful re- enactments of the artist's formative childhood memories. "Jean Benoît is almost univer- W innipeg filmmaker Deco Dawson is known for his surrealist black andwhite KEEP A MODEST HEAD Nicholas Friesen first five years but that no one's asked me about for the last three years because they figured it was abandoned," he says. "All my ear- ly movies were very analogue, all black and white and very early 20th century inspired. There was a lot of tricks in the optical printer, the infantile stages of visual effects. I'm really passionate about that. "For this movie I decided manipulate the images digitally so I could do more with it but I didn't know how to do that. I shot it the way that I would have shot it if it Deco Dawson's Keep A Modest Head – Ne Crâne Pas Sois Modeste, featuring Quebec born surrealist artist Jean Benoît (right), premieres at this year's Toronto International Film Festival was gonna be done on film because I knew the concepts and principles behind doing that are exactly the same." mators he couldn't afford, Daw- son taught himself the various techniques involved, such as com- positing (combining visual ele- ments from separate sources into single images). After 18 months of 20-hour days in post-production, the director now has a few more tools in his arsenal. "This was like going from high school to a PhD Instead of farming it out to ani- program," he says. "Everything I had to learn was a crash course, but now that I've learned it there's so much I can apply to future films." Photos courtesy of Clutch PR

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