Review: Digital Festival of Light and Dark

by Lynn on January 30, 2022

in The Passionate Playgoer

The Digital Festival of Light and Dark, on line from 4th Line Theater Company.

The Digital Festival of Light and Dark is presented by 4th Line Theatre Company in Millbrook, Ont. just south of Peterborough. This is the second year of the festival that engages artists in the Peterborough area to create short videos and digital presentations around subjects of their choosing.  I was blown away by last year’s festival and the stunning array of talent and imagination that went into last year’s video presentation.

This year’s offerings are just as intriguing and imaginative.

And once again, I’m so impressed with the fearlessness of Kim Blackwell, the Managing Artistic Director of 4th Line Theatre company, to fund and showcase artists in the Peterborough area to make their art.

This is from 4th Line’s press information:

“The theatre has provided 10 regional artists with micro-grants to create 8 five-minute digital showcases of their work. The Festival enables the community to engage with the artists’ creations in the safety of their own homes through 4th Line’s digital video gallery. The Festival is free of charge to watch.

The projects encompass a myriad of artistic styles from experimental music to abstract painting to short films dealing with seemingly simple stories. The topics and issues explored include: the synesthetic experience of nature; fear of the dark; and finding the light within during the darkest times, to name only three.”

There are seven films that are available now with others soon to be available. But first……

I’m sure I’m not alone in wondering what is “the synesthetic experience of nature?”

From our friend Google: “Synesthesia is when you hear music, but you see shapes. Or you hear a word or a name and instantly see a color. Synesthesia is a fancy name for when you experience one of your senses through another. The word “synesthesia” has Greek roots. It translates to “perceive together.”

This idea is illuminated in the short film: Emergent Symphonies, a collaboration by Maralynn  Cherry who did the images and Michael Morse who composed the music.

This is how the piece is described: “This is a collaborative work based on synesthetic brush paintings of nature’s rhythms, and sympathetic musical elaborations.  Here, sounds give voice to unheard visual songs”.

One of the images looked like an erratic coil and the music reminded me of riffing on a piano. Another painted image looked like whisps of feathers or delicate leaves floating in a breeze. So the image of the painting from something perhaps in nature melded with the music.

I appreciated the depth of thought here in conveying something that we might overlook—nature and how music connects with it.

I’m so impressed with the scope and sweep of the imagination illuminated in these short films. Even what looks like a straightforward story, has quirky twists and turns.

Every Other Weekend

Written and directed by Mike Moring.

Cast: Taylor Brown

Mike Moring

Oliver Moring.

The film is about a divorced father who gets visiting rights to his son every other weekend. It’s poignant, sweet, loving and beautifully creates the loving care the father has for his son, and also his concerns that he wants to do better for him. There are lovely touches of how both father and son have the same anxiety when they are in the dark alone in bed at night and they imagine all sorts of sounds.

I was really impressed with Mike Moring’s story-telling in his short film last year in this festival. This year’s offering didn’t disappoint either.

Senior Moment

Written by Jack Shultz and Brad Shultz.

Directed by Jack Shultz

Original music by Jack Shultz and Tim Wright

Starring: Anne Killian

Chris Killian

Jack Schultz

The premise is simple: a senior couple is aware that someone in the neighbourhood is stealing delivered packages from porches. And they are going to do something about it to stop that.

It’s full of whimsy, irony, humour and it’s quite unsettling. Jack Shultz has an imagination that makes one’s eyebrows raise in disbelief for one who looks so young. The accompanying music is played liltingly on the ukulele adding an irony that ramps up the tingling feeling as the story unfolds.  And he has an artistry that makes it all work. Jack Shultz, remember that name.

There are also eclectic offerings in the festival.  

Joyeaux Anniversaire

Directed by Bruno Mertz

Music by Bruno Mertz.

Sung by Alicia Mertz.

Cast: Dreda Blow

Peter Blow.

The piece takes it’s lead from the song Joyeaux Anniversaitre about a woman trying to escape her haunted past. A lyric shows a woman rushing outside a house: “scrambling to get free.” Music, story and performance meld for this compelling scenario.

Art factors prominently in two films.

Be Inspired.  Embrace your creativity

Created and narrated by by Lynda Todd.

Lynda Todd became fascinated by the luminosity and the depth effect of acrylic fluid and resin art creations. And when you consider that she is visually impaired and partially colour blind, you realize what a huge accomplishment her colourful art is. A quibble and certainly not a complaint, is that I wanted a clear definition of what acrylic fluid is and how she forms her work. Some are paintings some are shapes and forms. I would have liked some clarification about her process.

What is absolutely clear is her enthusiasm to pass on her joy of art and creating it and getting people to realize their own joy in their own creating processes.

Flowing Euphoria: Black and White 

Paintings and comment by Valerie Kent

Video by Soma Belanger

Music by 3B

The video focuses on six black and white paintings of fantasy flowers Valerie Kent painted as a result of a dream conversation she had with a Japanese painting master. The painting master’s vision in the dream was to sharpen the impact of Valerie Kent’s new paintings by expressing contrast. The paintings are graceful, elegant and otherworldly.

When the camera slowly zooms in we see how the painting changes to the various strokes and components, and when it zooms out there is the full picture. Beautiful in every way. The music augments the viewing experience, even when there is silence.


Images by Naomi Duvall

Music and editing by Ryan McLean Purdon

Lumenumbra is described as “a biorhythm, a transition between two qualities.  A metaphor for mortality”.

At times the images are deliberately blurry other times they are sharply illuminated images that look like trees.  The accompanying music is kinetic, percussive, and the whole effect is captivating.

I am always impressed with the talent that is introduced by the Digital Festival of Light and Dark. Well worth your time.

The Digital Festival of Light and Dark is available for free on the 4th Line Theatre channel:

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