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Gerald Saul
Filmmaker

Regina
August 24, 2016

Gerald Saul’s work ranges from dramatic feature films (Wheat Soup, Life is Like Lint) to animated, abstract, and comedic short films. In 1996 he completed his MFA at York University and has been on the faculty at the University of Regina since 1999 where he focuses on low budget experimental filmmaking practices including hand processing and super-8 film. He is a long-time member of the Saskatchewan Filmpool and an originating member of the Cabinet Collective. His first solo gallery exhibition, Anecdotal Evidence at the Art Gallery of Regina, features retrospective works, new stereoscopic views, rotary phone audio installations, and microscopic photography. It closes on Saturday.

1. Frankenstein

Creation, a most innocent act, can lead to monstrous results: madness, obsession, and a blind refusal to recognize that what you have created is a monster, or, just as commonly, that you are the monster. The Frankenstein story is a recurring motif in many of my films. Another is the commitment to realize my film projects with local materials, cast, or locations. This limitation has empowered my abstract work and guided my storytelling. In recent years, I’ve explored sock puppets and green screens to create work with an unlimited range of performance types, genres, and settings. More importantly, a sock puppet already has one foot in the realm of the absurd, so building a monster with arms for a head or making Thomas Edison a protagonist seems entirely natural.

2. Family

Twenty years ago, I’d have sworn that all I would leave behind in this world would be my films. The birth of my son fifteen years ago shattered this short-sighted assumption. Now, I pour my resources, my research, my emotional investment, and more than anything else, my time into working with him. I experience every film through his eyes, from 1970s cartoons such as Superfriends to the film canon (Jean Luc Godard, Luis Bunuel, Akira Kurasawa...). Everything from lowbrow to highbrow takes on a new significance. He is my primary collaborator, cast, and audience.

3. German Expressionism

Decades of obsession over this 1920s art movement is reaching a pinnacle this year as I help to organize The Caligari Project – a three month film/print/drama/music/puppet/painting festival in Regina. If holding the reins on organizing isn’t enough, I am also producing two short expressionist-style films and acting in a third. I’m in my element, with my face covered in hastily caked-on makeup and my shadow cutting the background in half at an obtuse angle.

4. Baking

As any artist can attest, work is all too often presented without receiving a response. When I’m in need of immediate gratification, baking provides it in abundance. A cheesecake, a tray of Nanaimo bars, or a tin of freshly baked cookies can trigger instant discourse. Also, my personal rule is that if I made it, then I am allowed seconds.

5. My cottage

A few years ago I purchased a 12’ x 16’ wooden grain bin from my father-in-law and hauled it onto a hill on his farm. Since then, I have been cutting holes in the walls and teaching myself how to install windows, arrogantly refusing to consult books, the internet, or people more knowledgeable than me. Hooks in the walls allow me to hang a hammock on the inside. A new deck on the outside makes this structure look like a cottage. A constantly revised creation, it is also a reason to go to the farm and is not actual farm work.

 

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