Phil Hoffman: Lessons in Process

Approx. Duration: 1 hour 44 minutes

Phil Hoffman: Lessons in Process

Approx. Duration: 1 hour 44 minutes

Phil Hoffman: Lessons in Process

Approx. Duration: 1 hour 44 minutes

TIFF Cinematheque - Free Screen

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Toronto filmmaker Phil Hoffman presents his latest film, which grew out of a series of filmmaking workshops Hoffman conducted at Cuba's famed Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión de San Antonio de los Baños.

Toronto filmmaker Phil Hoffman has long foregrounded the process of discovery inherent in filmmaking, reflexively imprinting it within the final films themselves. Whether it is the unpredictable chemical revelations of hand processing, the surprise unveilings of events and histories in family biographies, or happenstance occurrences during the filming itself, his films are ripe with lessons about how to harness the immediate experiences that goes into any creative work.

Hoffman's latest film, Lecciones en Proceso (Lessons in Process), finds him sharing these lessons through collaboration with a group of students from Cuba's famed Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión de San Antonio de los Baños, where Hoffman was engaged to teach filmmaking workshops in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Designed as a crossroads for students from developing countries, the school was founded in 1986 by a quartet of politically motivated Latin American writers and filmmakers. One of the original founders, the now eighty-six-year-old Argentinean poet and filmmaker Fernando Birri, still serves as a father figure to the school, and his visit during Hoffman's tenure reminds his students of their social inheritance — a heritage that comes to the fore as the students react to the Haitian earthquake that occurs soon thereafter.

Lessons in Process is preceded by passing through / torn formations, another meditation on travel and ancestry and one of the most significant films in Hoffman's oeuvre. Beautifully shot in crisp black and white and muted colour, this rich and multilayered work documents Hoffman's return to his Czech mother's homeland, a visit that frames another story about responsibility: that of a wayward uncle whom Hoffman attempts to reunite with an estranged daughter, in an effort to mend the fissures of time and neglect.

passing through/torn formations (dir. Phil Hoffman \ Canada 1988 \ 43 min. \ 16mm)

Lecciones en proceso (Lessons in Process) (dir. Phil Hoffman \ Canada/Cuba 2012 \ 31 min. \ video)

This programme is rated PG.

Guest Biography

    • Phil Hoffman
    • Philip Hoffman has long been recognized as Canada's pre-eminent diary filmmaker. He apprenticed in Europe with director Peter Greenaway in 1985, where he made the Genie Award-nominated film ?O,Zoo! (The Making of a Fiction Film). Hoffmann has been honoured with more than a dozen retrospectives of his work. Among them were the centrepiece series at the 2001 Images Festival for Independent Film and Video in Toronto, coupled with the launch of a book titled Landscape with Shipwreck: First Person Cinema and the Films of Philip Hoffman, comprising some 25 essays by academics and artists. In 2002, he received the Golden Gate Award from the San Francisco International Film Festival and Gus Van Sant Award from the Ann Arbor Film Festival for What These Ashes Wanted. A more recent production is the feature-length experimental documentary, All Fall Down, which received its world premiere at the 2009 Berlinale in February 2009 and made its North American debut at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival. Hoffman currently teaches at York University, and has given seminars and production workshops and presented screenings of his films at organizations across the world, including international festivals in Holland, Australia, in India, and South America, at Cinematheque Canada in Ottawa, and at the Chicago Art Institute.