Philip Hoffman


Philip Hoffman (Canada) has long been considered Canada’s preeminent diary filmmaker. He received his BA in Literature from Wilfrid Laurier University, and a diploma in Media Arts from Sheridan College. He apprenticed in Europe with Peter Greenaway where he made ?O,Zoo! (The Making of a Fiction Film) which was nominated for a Canadian Genie Award (1985). Hoffman has been honoured with more than a dozen retrospectives, including the centrepiece series at Images Festival (2001). This coincided with the launch of Landscape with Shipwreck: First Person Cinema and the Films of Philip Hoffman, comprising some 25 essays by international scholars and artists. His films have screened internationally at the Berlinale, Black Maria Festival, Docpoint Documentary Film Festival (Helsinki), Toronto International Film Festival, Art Institute of Chicago, the San Francisco International Film Festival, and Anthology Film Archives. He is founder and Artistic Director of the Independent Imaging Retreat (Film Farm), a workshop in artisanal filmmaking in Mount Forest, Ontario. Hoffman is the recipient of a Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts (2016). He currently serves as the director of the Graduate Program in Film at York University (Toronto).


ONLINE SCREENING DATES: December 2 – December 23, 2020

FILMS IN THIS PROGRAM: Somewhere Between Jalostotitlan and Encarnacion, 6 min, 1994

Somewhere Between Jalostotitlan and Encarnacion, 6 min, 1994

Somewhere Between Jalostotitlan and Encarnacion is a handheld travelogue of North America, presented in the unbroken twenty-eight-second shots of [Hoffman’s] spring-wind camera and the intertitles of a Mexican journey. Somewhere Between… is a Catholic drama of life and death played out in the streets of North America. Its gesture is a public circumstance: a horn band in Guadalajara, a Catholic procession in Toronto, distant passing traffic in Colorado. These scenes are presented, each in their turn, as separate and discrete events moving between titles describing a boy lying dead. They are a discourse that moves a geography of surface into concert with a transcendental history, a history of death. – Michael Hoolboom

Death, life, love, memory and loss together comprise the essential stuff that forms the oeuvre of Canadian experimental documentary filmmaker Philip Hoffman. Indeed, in an interview with Barbara Sternberg, Hoffman acknowledges that “not all filmmakers deal with death so directly, or so often” as he has within his body of work. And yet, this is just the start, because there is no single way to merely “watch” a Hoffman film; when you enter the darkened space of the cinema, you become a participant within Hoffman’s memories and you come to know Hoffman as a person perhaps better than you know yourself. – Cecilia Araneda

Screening co-presented with the Canadian Filmmaker’s Distribution Centre.