Alice Neel is the subject of an acclaimed documentary by her grandson, Andrew Neel. The film will be making its Canadian debut—including a director discussion—February 28 at the Reel Artists Film Festival. (Image courtesy of Estate of Sam Brody)
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Reel Artists Film Festival: The True Art-House Cinema

Various venues, Toronto Feb 26 to Mar 1 2009



At times, it can feel like all the information one needs in the world is on the Internet, flowing speedily and in vast quantities through outlets like Youtube, Facebook and Twitter.

But as the sixth annual Canadian Art Reel Artists Film Festival aims to show this weekend, traditional documentaries, director talks and screenings can still convey a wealth of insightful, hard-to-find narratives that are most definitely not “coming to an iPhone near you” anytime soon.

Projected highlights of this year’s festival are manifold: world premieres of films on Georg Baselitz and David Lynch; live discussions with award-winning directors Andrew Neel and Chiara Clemente; and a gala presentation of an acclaimed documentary on remarkable New York collectors Herbert and Dorothy Vogel. The director of the latter, Megumi Sasaki, is featured below in an exclusive sneak-peek video conversation with Canadian Art Foundation executive director Ann Webb.

Reel Artists Film Festival: Megumi Sasaki, director of the documentary film Herb and Dorothy from Canadian Art on Vimeo.

As of press time, several screenings were at or very close to capacity: Chiara Clemente’s fresh-from-its-world-premiere Our City Dreams; a screening of General Idea: Art, AIDS and the fin de siècle; the Toronto premiere of The Universe of Keith Haring; the director-discussion screening of Adele’s Wish; and the encore screening of Herb and Dorothy. Fortunately, a limited number of rush tickets for these films will be available at the box office 15 minutes prior to each screening.

At the end of March, Reel Artists will travel to the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary for its Alberta premiere. There, viewers will have a chance to meet filmmaker Andrew Neel as well as partake of a film not featured in the Toronto edition—Eileen Gray: Designer and Architect by prolific German director and critic Jörg Bundschuh. Introductions by local luminaries like artist Rita McKeough, curator Diana Sherlock and critic Nancy Tousley will round out the program.

Whether you view your movies in a cinema or on a cellphone, Reel Artists offers several must-sees this weekend. For more information check out

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