Rockem, Sockem, Canister

super-8, 3 minutes, colour, 2014

"When Nick is tricked by Simon into participating in a puppet show about the ongoing conflict between Canister the Robot and his nemesis Skyr, the repercussions to Sockvile would never be so dire."

Last year, in speaking with a group of film graduate students, I suggested that they think more deeply about meta-narratives and how they can expand their storytelling by using different media to tell different aspects of an interconnected story or by having recurring motifs used in an ongoing series of works. Recently I began reflecting on this idea myself and decided to take my own advice. In this film, the characters from Sockvile are putting on a puppet show. The puppets, rather than being made of cloth, are live action (reflections off of a tv) of Canister the Robot and one of his enemies, locked in eternal conflict. The fight references Punch and Judy, recognizing their cross over into this medium. The film was shot in one take on Agfa super-8 film.The Sockvile puppets and puppet voices were performed by me and Geremy Lague. Canister's enemy is played by Erik Sirke. Bringing Erik and Geremy together again was also an important consideration in the shoot. Due to time/distance problems, Erik Sirke could not voice his character so I recorded Eric Hill for this role. Both Erik and Eric have worked as my assistants, helping me create works for Grain and Modern. Erik worked on Sockvile and Canister. Eric worked on Professor Delusia. Two of my other graduate students, An An and Jingyi Zhang were the crew. The robot video footage was shot by William. I included the puppet stage that I built for Life is Like Lint (1999) and Margaret Bessai subsequently painted.

In a processing anomaly, the first foot or so of the film was lost. Digital practice versions substitute for this missing few seconds of the title and initial tilt up into the action.

A month previous to shooting this film, I created the first Sockvile/Canister cross-over with an eight panel comic page as part of the Cathedral Village Arts Festival. In Canister the Robot and the Inevitability Syndrome, it is the socks which are the fictions within Canister's world, rather than the opposite situation which I suggest in Rockem, Sockem, Canister.

It premiered at the One Take Super 8 Event in Saskatoon in June, 2014

Geremy Lague on set.