Sled Island film elects streamlined approach

This year Sled Island’s film festival is boasting a streamlined approach — four features screen this year at The Plaza over three days as opposed to last year’s 18 — meant to add to the festival’s already outrageous programming.

“We decided that a smaller program would be better for the festival” says Jeanette Burman the fest’s co-ordinator since 2009. “Even though it’s small it’s a nice size — it’s the perfect little film program for a festival. [In the past] the films were competing with these amazing musical acts that everyone had been waiting years to see.”

But its size however doesn’t detract from its quality. “I selected films for what I think the potential is for audiences but also about potential for vision.”

The vision that Burman speaks of? Read on.

Firewall of Sound

U.S. dir. Devin Dimattia 2011

What : Predicting the trajectory of the independent music industry — let’s not talk about Record Store Day mmkay? — is dicey at best. As Firewall of Sound notes this is an era in which music is increasingly non-physical whereby listeners choose their music with incredible specificity and yes the independent record store is becoming a rarity.

That precisely is the universe explored by rookie director Devin Dimattia’s doc. He packs countless voices — from The AV Club’s Josh Modell to Neutral Milk Hotel’s Julian Koster — in a survey of the music industry’s brave new world. Dimattia will be around after the film to answer questions.

When: Monday June 20 7 p.m. The Plaza

Burman’s take: “He does a good job showing artists open to open-source — open to the freedom of their music and how that impacts the independent record industry.”

New Jerusalem

U.S. dir. Rick Alverson 2011

What: Debuting internationally at Rotterdam and in North America at SXSW Rick Alverson’s sophomore feature stars a legitimate heavyweight in Will “Bonnie Prince Billy” Oldham. In it Oldham a small-town evangelical collides worlds with an Irish immigrant (Colm O’Leary) mechanic vet who’s spent time in Afghanistan.

Their relationship builds from there — and if the early feedback is true expect to find delicious quirk and a dosage of heart.

When: Tuesday June 21 7 p.m.

Burman’s take: “This is an emerging artist — he’s doing interesting things. And I’m totally in love with Will Oldham. Folk fest is co-expensing this and we’re really happy to be working with them on the film front. O’Leary’s really brilliant too.”

Everything Louder than Everything Else

Canada dir. Rob Leickner 2010

What: No this isn’t about the heavy breathin’ Meatloaf (even if we wish it was). This is a peek behind the closed doors of Canadian independent music scenes focused on one of the nation’s eminent recording spaces Vancouver’s Hive Studios.

Accordingly expect things beardy and red-eyed — this is Vancouver we’re talking about after all — to fill Hive’s journey from bit operation to full-fledged Canadian powerhouse. Expect appearances from celebrated stoner Steve McBean (Black Mountain) and Ryan Beattie (Frog Eyes). Stick around for a McBean performance.

When: Monday June 20 9 p.m.

Burman’s take: “It’s a witty mockumentary about [Leickner’s] own personal experiences running the Hive Creative Labs. It’s interesting to look at: He’s an artist and technician who is venturing into a new world in Canadian and international cinema.”

Color Me Obsessed

U.S. dir. Gorman Bechard 2011

What: Remember that moment when your friends stopped listening to Pennywise and started wearing dress shirts? Of course you do. The band they were listening to? The Replacements the subject of music doc Color Me Obsessed.

There’s a reason why everyone in Minneapolis has a Paul Westerberg story and this harnesses them People’s History style: This is built on a colourful caste of characters including Decemberists’ Colin Melloy Greg Norton of Husker Du and legendary Village Voice music critic Robert Christgau.

Where: Tuesday June 21 at 9 p.m.

Burman’s take: “It’s a really off-kilter music doc that doesn’t feature any music. I was really drawn into the [film’s] conversation. As indie-rockers or hipsters they have this approach that’s like ‘I know everything there is to know about a band.’ But it’s really interesting to hear the stories that came from the film.”

Shorts on Bikes

What: As Burman astutely notes the benefit of shorts is if they suck then well they’re short. Here’s the low-down: Riding Along a Cloud follows pro skaters cycling in New Zealand. Veronique Velo intertwines cycling and romance — and won the Golden Shorts award to boot. There’s a Daniel Garcia-directed video of bike jousting to LCD Soundsystem’s “Drunk Girls.” (How perfect.) And then there’s There Goes an Asshole culling security footage of bike wheel theft in action.

Where: Wednesday June 22 6:20 p.m.

Burman’s take: “I love shorts.” ’Nuff said.