BACKBONE is a one hour documentary examining the films, filmmakers and history of Vancouver Experimental Cinema made between 1967 and 1981.
Experimental filmmaking was a significant part of Vancouver’s art scene in the 70s, a fertile period marked by outrageous innovation, unbridled experimentation and outright subversion. This movement flourished for many years, thanks to a visionary and colourful collection of artists, curators, venues and institutions.
Some of the films made in this period still see distribution while others remain in vaults and personal archives. Many of the works inform us of an art movement that set the stage for contemporary artists and filmmakers.
Re-examining films such as BackBone (Tom Braidwood, 1972) and In Black and White (Michael McGarry, 1979) illuminates this rich past, while expressing a timeless vision that maintains their artistic and social relevancy today.
The commentary by the artists serves to put the work into a personal and critical context. The filmmakers included represent a diverse group of artists. Some still engage in experimental media art. Others shifted to work in academic fields or the world of mainstream and independent feature and television. All share a unique relationship to cinematic expression and the world of Vancouver film art.