Flourish Festival: Film Screening & Drone Poetry

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Michael Ryan Mohan’s ‘Tapdance’ debuted on Friday afternoon alongside an improv set by Ocean Charter of Values & friends.

Matt Carter

Michael Ryan Mohan

There’s nothing better than leaving work and stepping directly into a festival environment. That’s how my Friday played out. I clocked out at 4:30 p.m. and rushed downtown to catch this early performance organized as part of Flourish Festival 2017. And as expected, it was totally worth it.

As I walked up the main staircase inside the Fredericton Art Building at 384 Queen Street, I could see an awkwardly placed projector screen surrounded by people shifting cables, testing levels and loading gear. At first it seemed like this performance was a bit of an afterthought, as potential customers to Backstreet Records had to cross the projector’s line of sight and edge past the audience just to get into the store. Thankfully, everyone was understanding of each other’s situation. It seems shoppers and festivalgoers can co-exist.

Conversations in the room dropped to mere whispers after Saint John filmmaker Michael Ryan Mohan greeted the crowd.  The faint sounds of an unknown metal band could be heard in the distance, escaping from under the door of the Mazerolle Gallery. Who knows what was going on in there.

Tapdance is the latest film by Mohan. My familiarity with his work is limited to the pair of videos he shot for Brookside Mall, his odd-yet-intriguing short film about the mall itself and his previous short, Bad News.

Shot is uptown, Tapdance is a 13 minute vignette, a narrow window into one man’s troubled love life combining Mohan’s minimalist esthetic with hints of Woody Allen, magnified by the black and white look and the addition of some classic jazz. It’s a quick, beautiful trip. I hope more people get to see it.

After a short break to tear down some gear and move a few things around, Ocean Charter of Values & friends began their set of drone-driven soundscapes that accompanied an impressive series of monologues.

Pairing music and film is not unusual although it may seem a little out of place at 5 p.m. on a Friday at the top of a busy staircase inside a downtown building. Events like these can go one of two ways – the good place or the bad place. Thankfully things went well. We could use more pop-up performances like this. Nice job everyone. Go Flourish!

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