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By Scott Lingley

One warm night this summer, a gaggle of diverse artists converged on Edmonton’s Sir Winston Churchill Square for the collaborative multimedia event Project Projekt. As members of Mile Zero Dance threw their shadows against a backlit screen, film and video images hovered above the concrete-and-glass plaza at the heart of downtown, while artists and bystanders alike extemporized on variously placed blank canvases to a soundtrack created on the spot. If you think this sounds like an unlikely meeting of artistic minds, you’re not the only one.

“At first [the programming committee] were pretty freaked out because they didn’t know how all these different people would work together,” says Alison Turner, executive director of the Film and Video Arts Society of Alberta (FAVA), one of Canada’s oldest film and video co-ops and the organization that curated this particular event.

Somehow the method-or the madness-prevailed and Project Projekt drew a sizable, participatory crowd for a unique experience that belies the narrow scope of media that FAVA’s name suggests.

Founded in 1982 as an artist-run centre, FAVA is one of the best-equipped film and video co-ops in the country, giving its 300-plus members access to a wide breadth of film and video gear at a fraction of industry rates. Their space in Edmonton’s historic Ortona Armoury also boasts full-fledged post-production facilities and provides a venue for the numerous programs and workshops they mount every year, from short courses in various aspects of video and film production-including screenwriting, optical printing and motion graphics-to more intensive programs on 16mm and documentary filmmaking.

But Turner says FAVA’s mandate has expanded with the accessibility and flexibility of digital media, and so has its role in the Alberta arts scene at large.

“FAVA is serving the same functions as in the past, but with a sense of responsibility for maintaining the community of artists and keeping them connected.”

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