The Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto (LIFT) officially came into being in April of 1981. Inspired in part by efforts of collective networking such as what was done at the Atlantic Filmmakers Cooperative (AFCOOP) in Halifax, LIFT was founded by a group of artists who were interested in providing support to filmmakers in Toronto. After managing to grow from a rented office at the Harbourfront Centre to our current building on Dupont Street in the city’s west end, we were hoping our 40th year would be our biggest one yet.
Because celebrations of this particular milestone have proven to be somewhat muted amidst the third wave of COVID-19 here in Ontario, we wanted to take a step back and pull from the past to gather optimism for the future. This program enables us to recall the collaboration, creativity and tenacity that has marked our past forty years as an artist-run centre. While this program is not a comprehensive list of the work that has been made by the LIFT community, we wanted to use it to provide a sense of growth about where we might be heading.
Nine of the ten films collected here were directly supported by LIFT’s programming over the past few decades, either through a production grant, mentorship, residency, commission or community partnership. The one outlier in this is Shelley Niro’s Honey Moccasin, which received production support in the way thousands of others have over the years, through rental equipment and collaboration with fellow LIFT members. Produced in 1998, this landmark film incorporates video, bends genres, and challenges expectations around notions of authenticity, gender and the modern indigenous experience. Honey Moccasin shares a keen exploration of a landscape shifting underfoot and the will to persevere at all costs with the other films in this program.
This program enables us to recall the collaboration, creativity and tenacity that has marked our past forty years as an artist-run centre.