Pages UnBound celebrates Ann Marie Fleming's Window Horses with a performance of voices dramatizing the graphic novel, an incisive interview, and scintillating music by the Persian-Canadian Circle Band. It's a bewitching night of poetry, art and mesmerizing sounds.
First up will be The Circle Band, Toronto's leading exponent of Persian music. Shahab Baradaran (vocal and guitar), Peter Lutek (reeds), and Pedram Khavarzamini (tombak) create wonderful music that recalls the beauty of Asia Minor while incorporating some of the contemporary feeling of modern times. Next, Omid Abtahi (who voices Ramin in the film) and Fleming (as Rosie Mings) will enact a scene from Window Horses to the visual accompaniment of Kevin Langdale's lavish graphics. Finally, award-winning filmmaker, animator, and author Ellen Besen will interview Fleming about Window Horses — the book and the film.
Ann Marie Fleming is an award-winning Canadian visual artist, writer, director, animator and cross-platform media maker who works in a variety of different genres (animation, experimental, documentary and dramatic). Born in Japan to Chinese and Australian parents, Fleming creates work that addresses themes of family, identity, history, and memory.
She adapted her animated documentary The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam (2003) into an Eisner Award-nominated graphic novel in 2007, that won the Doug Wright Award for Best Canadian Comic, and adapted Bernice Eisenstein's illustrated memoir I Was a Child of Holocaust Survivors into a same-named animated film (2010) Her (1989) short, You Take Care Now (selected as the Top 10 short films as part of Canada's 150th Essential Cinema) and Blue Skies (2002) and New Shoes: an interview in exactly 5 minutes (1990) both won Best Canadian Short Film Awards at TIFF.
Window Horses (2016), her feature-length animated film about a young Canadian poet discovering her family history — at a poetry festival in Iran — has won awards all over the world, was a New York Times Critic's Pick, and at home won Best Canadian and Best B.C. Feature Film at the Vancouver Inernational Film Festival, Best Canadian Screenplay by the Vancouver Critic's Award and Best Canadian Film by the Association of Canadian Online Critics.
Ann Marie was the 2015 Phil Lind Artist in Residence at the University of British Columbia for Film and Asian Studies. In 2011, Ann Marie was the inaugural recipient of VWIFTV's spotlight award for artistic innovation and received a visionary award for best short film from the WIFTS foundation and in in 2016 received the Innovation Award from the Hapapalooza Festival, which celebrates mixed race culture.
As well as her own art practice, Ann Marie gives lectures on her work, the art of adaptation, visual storytelling and the animated documentary.
Omid Abtahi was born in Tehran, Iran. He lived there until the age of five before moving with his family to Paris, France. They lived in France for approximately one year before making their way to the United States and eventually settling in Irvine, California.
Omid started off his career working as a series regular on FX's Over There. His list of television credits have grown to include regular and recurring roles on Showtime's Emmy winningHomeland, FOX's 24, A&E's Damien and Showtime's Sleeper Cell. He can most recently be seen on Starz/Amazon's American Gods, which is currently filming in Toronto.
Omid's venture into the world of film has been equally impressive having appeared in the fourth installment of The Hunger Games directed by Francis Lawrence and opposite Jennifer Lawrence. He has also made notable appearances in the 2012 Oscar Award winning film Argo directed by Ben Affleck, Brothers directed by Jim Sheridan opposite Tobey Maguire, The Boys of Abu Ghraib directed by Luke Moran, and The Mysteries of Pittsburgh directed by Rawson M. Thurber opposite Sienna Miller.
Ellen Besen is…
…an award-winning filmmaker (NFB/Independent)
…an internationally known expert on animation storytelling
…author of Animation Unleashed (MWP 2008)
Her films have been shown internationally at such festivals/institutions as Annecy, OIAF, AGO and MoMA. Former faculty at Sheridan College, her students work at Disney, DreamWorks, Blue Sky and Pixar. A popular speaker on storytelling, she has presented at OIAF, CTNX, Walt Disney Feature Animation, DreamWorks Animation and Blue Sky Studios, often with colleague Aubry Mintz. She and Mintz recently presented a special evening of NFB animation on TCM and have a book-in-progress on Integrated Storytelling.
Shahab Baradaran is a guitarist. vocalist, songwriter and producer. He started learning guitar at the age of 14 in Athens, Greece and after moving to Canada, he studied classical techniques with Dariush Afrasiabi, and electric guitar, blues and classic rock with Cary Juan. He later pursued sound recording studies and received a Diploma in Arts Recording from Centennial College in 2008.
Shahab's love of singing and song writing resulted in his first solo album Maraa Daryaab (2009) where he collaborated with artist such as Dariush Afrasiabi, Richard Uglow and Barbad Bayat and Sara Nejad. In 2011 Shahab released his second solo album Say Nothing based on Rumi's poetry.
In 2011 he formed Circle Music Band, a Toronto-based music band with a unique fusion of jazz and pop with elements of traditional Persian music, performing and recording Shahab's compositions in collaboration with Reza Moghaddas and Saman Shahi. Shahab focuses on classical and contemporary Persian poetry of Rumi, Araghi, Ahmad Shamlou, Hafez and Sohrab Sepehri, as source for his lyrics.
Circle released its first album Beyond The Seas in 2012. The second album My Enigma based on Rumi, Fereydoon Moshiri, Shamloo's poetry was released 2015 and third album Passage was released in 2017.
Peter Lutek is a multi-instrumentalist and session engineer. Lately, he has worked as a reed instrumentalist specializing in improvised music. He frequently use electronics in performance, as a way to extend and modify acoustic sounds. Besides the Circle Band, he plays with Tom Richards' Riverrun and the Avi Granite:6.
Lutek was the session engineer, editor, and mixer for all of the recordings of the 40 Fingers saxophone quartet. He's also made a number of recordings over the last 20 years with David Mott, Joseph Petric, and Tom Richards. Lutek was delighted to mix and master the critically acclaimed debut recording by Rob Mosher's Storytime, entitled The Tortoise.
For many years, Lutek studied classical bassoon performance, most significantly at the University of Toronto and the Banff Centre. Since then he's also been playing clarinets and saxophones, composing, and exploring electronic sound design.
Over the years, he's been involved with New Music Concerts (Toronto), NUMUS (Waterloo), the Art of Time Ensemble, David Buchbinder, Andrew Downing, David Occhipinti, and the Freddie Stone Ensemble. Two ensembles which have been major parts of his life are the 40 Fingers saxophone quartet and the Toronto-based collective, Composers Workshop. More recently, he led his own quintet, ENGINE.
Pedram Khavarzamini was born in 1975 in Tehran. He learned to play the tombak from master musicians Kamyar Mohabbat and Bahman Rajabi. After five years of study, he began performing in public with Bahman Rajabi and helped to write Rajabi's second method book for Tombak. In 1999, in collaboration with Hamid Ghambary, he edited a book on collection of works by Amir Nasser Eftetah, one of Iran's most famous tombak masters.
Pedram has his own percussion tombak group, named Varashan. He has also composed and released his first work for group tombak, named Koutah with the percussionist Hamid Ghambary, produced in Iran and Europe. He is a member of the music group Aftab, and has performed in the music works composed by Reza Fayaz Dargozar and Dar Khane-ye Aftab. Pedram Khavarzamini has worked with the famous classical Persian musicians Kayhan Kalhor and Moradi.
In 2002, Pedram performed some concerts in duet with Kayhan Kalhor, in Germany, and with Kayhan Kalhor, George Petrov, Ross Daly for the Bowed Instrument Festival.
In 2003 he joined the Kayhan Kalhor ensemble for a tour in the US and Europe, organized by the World Music Institute. After meeting Ross Daly in Germany, Pedram decided to leave Iran and join Ross in Greece. He recorded Iris with and under the direction of Ross Daly. This album is the meeting point of the most popular artists of Persian and Indian music: Pedram Khavarzamini, Dhruba Ghosh, Partha Sarathi Mukherjee, along with the Greek virtuosos Vasilis Rakopoulos, Kelli Thoma, Giorgis Xylouris. Pedram became a member of the Labyrinth group, directed by Ross Daly.
He met and played with very talented Greek musicians such as Stelios Petrakis, Vassilis Stavrakakis, Giorgos Xylouris, Kelly Thoma' and also with some of the most interesting musicians from all over the world, such as Habil Aliev, Mohamad Rahim Khushnawaz, Dariush Talai, Shahram Nazeri, Ballake Sissoko, Dhruba Gosh, Khaled and Hossein Arman, Siamak Aghaie, always finding a way to bring his instrument to every kind of music.
Also he teaches Tombak every year (from 2005 up to 2014) in Labyrinth music workshop (Houdetsi-Greece) Beside, he recorded CD`s with great musicians such as Habil Aliev and Siwan with Jon Balke.
In 2003, Ali Akbar Moradi, the famous tanbur player from Kurdistan, invited Perdram to play with him for the Mehregan Festival, in Yazd, Iran. In 2005, he joined Pejman Hadadi and the Zarbang ensemble for a concert in Koln, Germany. Pedram has a unique way of playing the tombak in the sense that he keeps a traditional base whilst adding his own modern patterns. In this way he creates active rhythms and new sounds.
Window Horses is the graphic novelization of the award-winning NFB film by Ann Marie Fleming. The story follow Rosie, a young Chinese/Persian poet as she leaves her home in Vancouver for the first time to visit Shiraz, Iran. Here she discovers the beautiy of poetry, history, and new friendships along with discovering the true story about her estranged Iranian father.