Artist run moving image screenings.

John Porter
One Take Super 8 Event
Canada's foremost super 8 filmmaker John Porter will present
a selection of his films and work from the annual One Take Super 8 Event

4pm, Sunday 4th February 2007
3 Torrens St, London, EC1V 1NQ


Landscape by John Porter

Amusement Park by John Porter

Firefly by John Porter Down on Me by John Porter


John Porter
John Porter has been a filmmaker, performer, photographer and writer since 1968. Known in his native Toronto as the king of super 8, he has made more than 300 short films, mostly super 8, and has performed more than 70 solo shows internationally. Many of his films are silent, made in series (Camera Dances, crowd portraits, local histories, rituals, toy stories), and he shows his camera originals (no copies). Often while projecting he performs live in the audience, in front of the screen, or while hand-holding the small projector for 'surround super 8' in galleries and for projecting onto passing people and vehicles while 'film-busking' on the street at night. His films are dynamic, humourous and revealing, enjoyed by people of all ages.

For more about John Porter see Painting Porter (12 min QuickTime movie - opens in separate window), a documentary made in 2001 by Valesca R. Cerski, Jochen W. Detscher, Sascha Drews, Leah Jeffrey and Eva Ziemsen at York University Department of Film and Video.
Programme Details


One Take Super 8 Event
The One Take Super 8 Event began in 2000 and has been showcased across Canada, the United States and in a number of international festivals. In 2006 it was held in Regina, Saskatchewan. The event invites filmmakers to shoot a single reel of super 8 film which are then collectively screened at a public venue. All films are shown as shot, no cuts, no splices, and without the filmmakers having seen their work beforehand. To date more than 200 films have been created for the event.

All of the films in this screening were made between 2003-2006, with all but one of the filmmakers originating from Saskatchewan, Canada. All films were edited in camera, and are the exact length of one 50ft cartridge of super 8 film. Some of the films for this screening are silent.
Running time: 35 minutes. The films have been transferred to video for this screening.
Programme Details


John Porter programme


(1977, super 8, colour, 1 minute, silent)

John and his mother painting in the country in the summer. His mother has always been a painter and still is, at 90. When John and his sisters were children, she would take them out painting in the country, and this was a rare re-occurrence since John's pre-teens, 20 years earlier. The film's background is also the painters' subject - a farmer's brown field being plowed by a red & white tractor, a grey barn, green trees, and a blue sky with billowing white clouds. It ends with a peek at John's finished painting, another rare occurrence. A single-shot film, taken at 3 seconds per frame, over one hour. Two contact prints were made in the early 1980s, but the original can still be shown.


Mother and Child
(1977, super 8, colour, 2 minutes, silent)

A sitting portrait of John's friend Lis Guindon holding her months-old daughter Marie Claire, in their sitting-room in Cabbagetown, Toronto. They later moved to Quebec and lost contact with John. A single-shot film, taken at 3 seconds per frame over 2 hours, lit with a single table-lamp and using 3-second time exposures on each frame. Mothers particularly are amazed and amused by this film, saying it evokes their experience. A companion film to Landscape, both made in the same year, of a mother and child, and emulating classical paintings.


Santa Claus Parade
(1976, super 8, colour, 2 versions: 6 and 4.5 minutes, silent)

The earliest film in John's typical retrospective shows. Toronto's historic, large, annual Christmas parade, seen from the top of a tall building at the end of the long, wide and straight University Ave. where the parade's largest crowds are also seen gathering before, and dispersing after the parade. The building belonged to the Zurich Insurance Co. where John was working as a machine operator, and it has since been demolished. The parade route has also been altered so this perfect view of the parade no longer exists. A single-shot film, using 2 rolls of film taken at 4 seconds per frame, over 8 hours.


(1982, super 8, colour, 3.5 minutes, silent)

Hundreds of students writing exams together on the floor of historic Varsity Hockey Arena, University of Toronto. A wide-angle view of the entire scene, from the top of the stands. A single-shot film, taken at 2 seconds per frame, over 2 hours.


Amusement Park
(1978/79, super 8, colour, 6 minutes, silent)

A document of different thrill rides at Toronto's historic, annual Canadian National Exhibition, all shot at night, at one frame per second, using one-second time exposures. Using two rolls of film shot in two consecutive years, the first roll consists of close-ups of each ride, edited in-camera.
The second roll consists of a single, wide-angle long-shot of the entire "Midway" of rides, seen from the top of the historic observation tower which has since been demolished. This scene was shot continuously over an 8 hour period beginning before dusk, increasing the time exposures as the daylight lessened and even after dark, ending in an almost white-out of the night scene created by 2-minute exposures on each frame.



(1980, super 8, colour, 3.5 minutes, silent)

Inspired by John's film Amusement Park (1978/79). John improvises a performance for the camera, spinning a bright, pinpoint light on a long cord, around himself in a variety of patterns, against a black background. A one-shot film, shot in one hour, at one frame per second. And with one-second time-exposures, the light streaks are multiplied and more complex by refracting in the lens. The light used was developed with assistance from John's friend Adam Swica.


Down on Me
(1980/81, super 8, colour, 4 minutes, silent)

John dances with, and is led by, the camera, which is running at one frame per second and turning its own way on the end of a fishing pole line while being raised and lowered from rooftops and bridges. Throughout, the camera is looking down at John on the ground, who's looking back up at the camera and turning with it. 'Camera hoisting' by John's friend Stephen Niblock. Many different locations were used, edited in-camera, and there were two shooting sessions, a year apart. The first was of outdoor locations. The second was of indoor locations (stairwells) shot with time exposures, creating occasional abstract vortexes.
"Unique in my experience of movies." - Jim Hoberman, Village Voice, New York City, 1982.


Cinefuge 4 & 5
(1980/81, super 8, colour, 4.5 minutes, sound on film)

John dances with the camera, swinging it around himself on a long cord, keeping it always aimed at himself, while it turns its own way on the cord. Five versions in different locations. Developed from a scene in John's 16mm student film Independent Filmmaking (1974), and inspired by a scene from Sergio Leone's movie The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (1966). The only sound version. It begins with a sync-sound version (#5) shot on the grounds of Little Trinity Church as a TV commercial, with John talking to the viewer about his upcoming show at The Funnel Experimental Film Theatre in Toronto. It ends with version #4 with John's friend, dancer Judith Miller, joining the dance in Bickford Park, and which was shot on silent film, then sound-striped and post-dubbed with out-take sounds from version #5.


In the Gutter
(2000, super 8, colour, 3.5 minutes, wild sound)

A Camera Dance creating travelling views of Toronto streets from face-down in the gutter. Edited in-camera, shot at 9fps, using a home-made, water-proof, camera case on a pole.
"My goodness but this fun film is the work of a pro! Also, from my transportation-obsessed POV, I recognize the eye of a fellow street analyst, one who knows that the politics of space on the road are connected to equity and social justice. At the beginning we are introduced to a character who seems to live on the street. Our eye becomes his eye as he travels along, at some speed!, in the gutter. We see car wheels passing us at alarming proximity as we beetle along next to the curb, which seems very tall. John Porter's In the Gutter is fast and funny. It is a new angle on the street that, while a little scary, makes the audience laugh." (Sally McKay, Lola No. 7, Fall 2000, Toronto)


Scanning 5
(1983, super 8, colour, 3.5 minutes, silent, live performance)

A continuing series of silent film performances, with John hand-holding a super 8 projector in front of the audience. He moves the projected image around onto all the walls and ceiling, following the camera movements in the film. Inspired by a projection by Anne B. Walters in The Funnel Experimental Film Theatre Gallery, Toronto, in 1981. David Anderson in Berczy Park, behind the Flatiron Building in downtown Toronto. The first version projected around the room.



One Take Super 8 Event programme

Robert Pytlyk

FOR THE VIEWER’S ATTENTION: This film presents an experiment in the CINEMATIC COMMUNICATION of visible events without the aid of intertitles. (a film without intertitles) without the aid of a scenario, without the aid of theatre. (a film without set, actors, etc.) This experimental work aims at creating a truly INTERNATIONAL ABSOLUTE LANGUAGE OF CINEMA based on its total separation from the language of theatre and literature.


Kanmon Kaikyo
Katherine Skelton

Fishing the strait and narrow. One man’s past time, another woman’s souvenir of a life once daydreamed.

get out (in)
Cary Deis

3000 (+/-) clicks over 3 days. Random when and where. August 23-25 2003.


je nage; donc, je suis ... (the film)
Jeannie Mah

Swimming in glimmering, shimmering aqua blue, with friends during summer in Regina.... (hommage a Wascana Pool)


b flat clarinet
Alex Rogalski

In the 1950’s to the 1970’s Benny Goodman continued recording and performing with many greats of the jazz world. In January 1978 he returned to Carnegie Hall to do a Concert - 40 years after his first. All tickets sold out in one day!


Shane Corkery

Shane Corkery’s first foray into the world of Super 8, looks at the transitional nature of our constantly deteriorating urban core.


a day like any other
Terryll Loffler

an early new york morning. clear skies. 1453 feet above the ground. just a day like any other, so why do i feel a little strange.


F$%kin’ Wild!
David Lopan

Lopan played this in Europe, and those crazy bastards went F$%kin’ wild!


lyric for our home song
Amber Goodwyn

Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as it is the axis on which the world earth revolves- slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future. - Thich Nat Hahn


Self- Mummification Made Quick and Easy
Shawn Fulton

A naive egyptologist’s obsession with the ancient trade of mummification take a bizarre turn when he puts his fascination with process into practice... ON HIMSELF!





back to index