November 13, 2020
Livestream begins: 7pm
Screening: 7:30pm–9pm
Open to all
Free + virtual program

Lens/Visions features eleven short films and video projects that re-examine pasts, presents and futures through broad and ranging narratives of nostalgia, environmentalism, mental health, conflicting and nourishing relationships, and apocalyptic realities. Film styles and approaches include short-docs, poetic renderings and experimental production. Lens/Visions filmmakers and artists include Queen's University students, recent graduates and collaborators.

Image: Posy Legge + Kitz Willman, Spurs on in the Insinger Church (video still), 2020 | Courtesy of the artists

Screening Schedule

Squander (9 min) Austin Benson
Lockdown Paradox (8 min) Kushan Samarawickrema
Dinner (6 min) James P. Hoban
Spurs on in the Insinger Church (10 min) Posy Legge + Kitz Willman
goalie gets a mask/cigarette strings (7 min) The Westkitz Watershed

Each screening will be led by curator's introductions and followed by live Q&A with the artists and filmmakers.
Lens/Visions is a platform, a portal, a point of entry.
Please enjoy the show.

Curated by Roy Zheng, Curatorial Assistant

Austin Benson

The style of Squander is partly an ode to the classical German Expressionism movement of the 1920s. As a film, it aims to reflect tropes of the genre, as well as being improvised on the basis of precarious work (no-budget make-do attitude). As with my previous work, in particular, Opprobrium screened at Kingston Canadian Film Festival in 2018, the focus of the film is mental illness, depicted through figurative language and horror themes.

Austin Benson is an emerging writer and filmmaker based out of Brockville, Ontario. He attended Queen’s University for both his undergraduate degree (Film & Media BAH), and MA (Screen Cultures & Curatorial Studies). To-date, his creative pursuit accomplishments have included the publication of short stories and screening of short films in exhibitions and festivals.

Kushan Samarawickrema

Lockdown Paradox is a film I created during a time of intense restriction due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The City of Vancouver, in the span of months, morphed from an energetic city to a hollowed metropolis. The people walked slower, the restaurants were empty, even the sky seemed greyer and more miserable. Paradoxically, during this point in time I felt emancipated as a filmmaker. Lockdown meant no shouts from pedestrians that I was blocking their way. It meant that filming in or near private property would no longer incur the wrath of bored security guards. The norms for me as a filmmaker had changed. This however wasn’t the only catalyst for this short film, though it was one of the major factors. Another spark of inspiration came from an article I read which highlighted the fact that people with OCD and anxiety felt a relief of social pressure that commonly cohabits and is the source of contention within their minds. Conditional behaviours surrounding social distancing, handwashing, among other things had become normalized by the pandemic. My studies in psychology influenced my ability to create the main character John. I tried to make a “day-in-the-life” film which explores John’s transition from his comfortable home life to the uncomfortable outside world. In this film, John’s character provides a journal-like commentary on the irrationality of society in wake of changing norms. His ostracization creates a spitefulness that underlies his monotone delivery, as highlighted by how he interacts with the outside world.

Kushan Samarawickrema is a recent graduate of Queen’s University, with a degree in Biology/Psychology. He has always been interested in movies, but two years ago is when his passion for film really exploded. It all started when Kushan and his friends started going to the Screening Room in downtown Kingston every week and were inspired by films such as Roma, Call Me by Your Name, Parasite, among others. This sparked Kushan’s studies of filmography, script writing and finally, film production. He describes himself as more thirsty than ever for the art of filmmaking.

James P. Hoban

A couple sit down for dinner. Dinner is a long-shot short film with no cuts. Every piece of audio was placed in post-production.

James P. Hoban is a filmmaker and actor based in Kingston, Ontario. He is completing his fifth and final year at Queen’s University, majoring in Film and Media. Currently, James is working on establishing a small Kingston-based videography/filmmaking company called Sneezing Dog Productions, before setting his sights on Toronto and further pursuing a professional practice within the Canadian Film Industry. He loves seeing people’s stories come to life and helping them do so.

Posy Legge and Kitz Willman

Spurs on in the Insinger Church is a one-off experimental film by Posy Legge and Kitz Willman that depicts a Ukrainian church in Insinger, Saskatchewan. Kitz Willman created the score for the film.

Posy Legge and Kitz Willman are frequent collaborators currently residing in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Treaty One Territory. In their collaborations, Legge is often behind the camera with Willman as her subject. The majority of their output takes shape as music videos.

The Westkitz Watershed

goalie gets a mask/cigarette strings is a visual for the final track on The Westkitz Watershed’s debut album Lamb on a Leash. The piece features footage of Devin West deinstalling their 2019 Union Gallery exhibition Queer Portraits of Invisible Grief. The deinstallation imagery is coupled with footage of Lake Ontario from the Wolfe Island Ferry and documentary film of the prairies. Psychedelic visuals layer long-shots of West’s artworks. Barbed wire, teeth, bullets, and bone. The song is a conversation about safety, home, and kin. The track opens with play-by-play announcers detailing a burgeoning fight between two NHL goalies. This introduction gives way to a wash of synths, drums, and saxophone. Kitz Willman delivers a meditation on his experience as a childhood goalie and the dichotomy of on- and off-ice protection. In the second-half, West recalls seeing a bird’s nest crafted with the red strings that were once used to bind packs of cigarettes. The sculpture referenced in the film acts as a mnemonic device within a poem that reads like a eulogy, grieving for a queer ancestor. The piece ends with a field recording of West and Willman bullshitting and eating chips.

The Westkitz Watershed is a musical duo featuring Devin West and Kitz Willman. Their debut project, Lamb on a Leash (2020, independent), combines spoken word with experimental production ranging from jazz to drone to hip-hop. Field recordings, skittering drums, and improvised saxophone flesh out an intimate backdrop for West’s poetry, tending to topics such as prairie youth, rural queerness, trapline feminism, and kinship.

Roy Zheng

Roy Zheng is a filmmaker, videographer and visual artist entering the second year of his Master’s degree in Cultural Studies. Currently, his graduate research explores the social ecology of independently operated film exhibition institutions in Toronto. Roy holds a BA in Film and Media from Queen’s University, having graduated in 2019. He has previously worked as the Production Assistant at Kingston Canadian Film Festival, Media Archivist at Vulnerable Media Lab and Event Assistant at Kingston Film Office. Roy has created visual projects and artwork in multiple cities and countries through his studies at the University of St. Andrews, the University of Havana, the University of Hong Kong and the Bader International Study Center in the UK.