Buffalo Death Mask

Mike Hoolboom

2013 | 00:23:10 | Canada | English | B&W and Color | Stereo | 4:3 | Super 8 film

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: AIDS/HIV, Documentary

A conversation with Canadian artist Stephen Andrews returns us to a pre-cocktail moment, when being HIV+ afforded us the consolation of certainty.

“For more than two decades Mike Hoolboom has been one of our foremost artistic witnesses of the plague of the twentieth century, HIV. A personal voice documenting and piercing the clichéd spectrum of Living With AIDS from carnal abjection to incandescent spirituality, no surviving moving image visionary surpasses him. Buffalo Death Mask is a three-part meditation — visual, oral and haptic, both campy and ecstatic — on survival, mourning, memory, love and community. A conversation between Hoolboom and visual artist Stephen Andrews, both long time survivors of the retrovirus, floats over what seems to be a dream of Toronto and some of its ghosts. No one savours the intimations of immortality inherent in recycled footage like Mike, no one else understands how processed Super 8 can answer the question "Why are we still here when so many are gone?" -- Tom Waugh

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Prizes + Awards

57th International Shortfilm Festival Oberhausen 2013, FIPRESCI (International Film Critic's) Award

Ann Arbor Film Festival 2013, Vimeo Audience Award

Premiere

2013 Ann Arbor Film Festival
Ann Arbor, MI

Exhibitions + Festivals

Outfest, Los Angeles, California, 2014

Athens International Film/Video Festival, Athens, Ohio, 2014

57th BFI London Film Festival, Experimenta, London, UK, 2013

Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur, Switzerland, 2013

30th Kasseler Dokfest, Kassel, Germany, 2013

Festival du nouveau cinéma, Montreal, Canada, 2013

25th Onion City Experimental Film and Video Festival, Chicago, IL, 2013

32nd Uppsala International Short Film Festival, Uppsala, Sweden, 2013

25 FPS Festival, Zagreb, Croatia - 2013

Stream Single Title

Title Awards Image Major Exhibitions/Festivals Description
Sea in the Blood

Equal First Prize for Best Male Short, Inside Out, Toronto Lesbian and Gay Film Festival

Sea in the Blood

OutFest (LA, CA.), 2001

Rotterdam International Film Festival (The Netherlands), 2001

 

Athens Int'l Film/Video Festival (OH), 2001

 

 

Sea In The Blood is a personal documentary about living with illness, tracing the relationship of the artist to thalassemia in his sister Nan, and AIDS in his partner Tim. At the core of the piece are two trips. The first is in 1962, when Richard went from Trinidad to England with Nan to see a famous hematologist interested in her unusual case. The second is in 1977 when Richard and Tim made the counterculture pilgrimage from Europe to Asia. The relationship with Tim blossomed, but Nan died before their return. The narrative of love and loss is set against a background of colonialism in the Caribbean and the reverberations of migration and political change.

"Sea in the Blood was to be a meditation on race, sexuality and disease, but after working with the material for three years, it was the emotional story that came through. It's hard to work with such personal material, but in the end the work takes on a life of its own. 'Richard' is a character. Because of the subject matter — disease and death — I wanted to avoid sentimentality. I'd like the audience to think as well as feel."

— Richard Fung