The Images Festival is back in Toronto: what to expect?

POV is proud to co-present Gary by Simon Mercer at this year’s Images Festival

By Tara Hakim

Now in its 32nd year, Toronto’s original interdisciplinary arts Images Festival is back with a plethora of innovative and independent experimental works of non-fiction that strive to push the boundaries of form and style. Through 14 gallery exhibitions, 73 on-screen works, and eight live performances in venues all over downtown, the annual celebration of experimental multimedia promises a week of intriguing pleasures created with the intention of making us see our world from a slightly different angle.

The festival’s kicks off on Thursday, April 11 at the Royal Cinema with artist and musician Rory Pilgrim’s debut music video album Software Garden. Cultivated over two years of collaboration, workshops, and live concerts, Software Garden explores how a music album can be used as a space to bring people together. In response to recent complex global shifts that emphasize growing polarities between people and the increasing desire for isolation, the videos created as part of Software Garden ask how we come together from behind and beyond our screens.

still/here (excerpt) from joel wanek on Vimeo.

The 2019 lineup includes an impressive array of features and mid-length films by national and international artists and filmmakers. Still/here by Christopher Harris, whose work reads African-American historiography, never through narrative but rather through the poetics and aesthetics of experimental cinema, will be screening at Innis Town Hall on April 12. Still/here is a meditation on public neglect and apathy in the northside neighbourhoods of his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri, in which working class and poor African-American populations inhabit almost exclusively.

Known for making experimental documentaries about filmmakers living on the margins, Simon Mercer brings yet another one with Gary, making its world premiere on April 15 in a screening proudly co-presented by POV. Featuring an array of eccentric cast, Gary tells the story of music producer turned filmmaker Gary Davis.

[Want a pair of tickets to see Gary at Images? Email – first one to enter wins!]

Gary (2019) – trailer from Simon Mercer on Vimeo.

Images Festival also brings works by Karolina Bregula, presenting the world premiere of Squere, Anton Vidokle’s latest film on Russian Cosmism, Citizens of the Cosmos, Lily Jue Sheng with the international premiere of Five Movements and more. The festival also features short form works by a number of renowned international artists such as Cauleen Smith with Sojourner, which re-imagines an outdoor desert art museum as a radical feminist utopia; Sky Hopinka with Dislocation Blues, which presents itself as an incomplete and imperfect portrait of reflections from Standing Rock; and Abigail Child with her 1982 film Mutiny. which employs an array of expression, gesture, and repeated movement and features women at home, on the street, at the workplace, at school, talking, singing, jumping on trampolines, playing the violin.

Thursday, April 18 marks the closing night of Images Festival with a program titled Outer Worlds, curated by Janine Marchessault, presents five original IMAX films by artists Oliver Husain​, ​Lisa Jackson​, ​Kelly Richardson​, Michael Snow​, and ​Leila Sujir​ that reflect upon the necessity of intercultural and interspecies communication and propose different worlds of experience and immersion through a meeting with the lens.

In addition to Images Festival On-Screen programs, the festival is co-presenting 14 gallery exhibitions across the city including Sarah Pupo’s water colour and animation burning through the body at Trinity Square Video, MOCA’s presentation of four major works by Basma Al-Sharif, Pamila Matharu’s One of These Things is Not Like The Other at A Space and Denise Ferreira da Silva and Arjuna Neuman’s 4 Waters: Deep Implicancy at Gallery TPW.

If you’re looking for something a little different, if you’re looking for a sense of new discovery one hopes to see at a festival, Images is sure to deliver.

Images Festival runs April 11 to 18. Visit for more information.