Just over a year ago I received an email from Brian Johnson, film critic for Macleans magazine and, as I was to discover, a filmmaker in his own right.

 He asked if I would help bring some magic to a short film he was creating based on the poetry of Dennis Lee.

I love collaborating with other artists because it is always such a learning experience.  This was no exception. It was a particularly challenging shoot simply because, while Brian had created a special deck of cards for me to manipulate, one with visual imagery inspired by the poetry, he wanted me to improvise the magic during the filming.

Adding to the challenge was that we had a short window in which to film because he wanted to capture the magic with natural light, at dusk, just before nightfall.

Well, I finally get a chance to see the film, YesNo, this Sunday as it is will receive its official screening as part of the Toronto International Film Festival as part of the TIFF Shortcuts Canada Programme.  You’ll see from the listing that the film features narration by a stellar cast of Canadian authors, poets and musicians including Leonard Cohen, Margaret Attwood, Michael Ondaatje, and Karen Solie.

Although Brian offered to send me a copy of the film prior to the official screening, I declined the offer because I wanted to see it initially as it was meant to be seen: on a large screen in a theatre with hundreds of other people.

The film will also be screened at the Atlantic Film Festival, the Woodstock Film Festival, and the Vancouver Film Festival.

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