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TIFF Reveals Full Details on Massive, Media-spanning “THE CRONENBERG PROJECT”

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A staggering monument to a modern master, this fall the Toronto International Film Festival’s CRONENBERG PROJECT will serve as an exhibition seemingly unlike any other. Honoring Cronenberg and his contributions to film and media, the lengthy (it spans well into winter 2014) Project is comprised of a great many components including two film retrospectives (one of all Cronenberg films, and one of the “Rise of Body Horror”); a museum-esque exhibition including props, costumes and audio-visual elements that trace the evolution of his career and filmography; one of Guillermo del Toro’s beloved Master Classes with Cronenberg in attendance; and an actual space to take you within the filmmaker’s mind and films and much more. Additionally, FANGORIA will be on hand, honored to be playing an as-yet unannounced role in The CRONENBERG PROJECT.

For the full details, see the comprehensive release below and visit the official site of THE CRONENBERG PROJECT.

Piers Handling, CEO and Director, TIFF and Noah Cowan, Artistic Director, TIFF Bell Lightbox along with David Cronenberg came together this morning at a press conference held at TIFF Bell Lightbox to unveil exciting new details of The Cronenberg Project. Included in the announcements were the full film retrospective and sidebar film programme, eBook and a selection of special guests and events. The Cronenberg Project, TIFF’s multi-platform celebration of Cronenberg’s work, will have its world premiere at TIFF Bell Lightbox from November 1, 2013 to January 19, 2014. Additional details for the original film exhibition David Cronenberg: Evolution, digital-experience extension Body/Mind/Change, visual art exhibition David Cronenberg: Transformation, the David Cronenberg: Virtual Exhibition and original publications that comprise The Cronenberg Project were also announced.

TIFF’s first original major touring exhibition—and the core component of The Cronenberg Project—David Cronenberg: Evolution parallels David Cronenberg’s evolution as a filmmaker with his ongoing examination of human evolution. The exhibition will be divided into three major sections that, through props, costumes, audio-visual elements and behind-the-scenes footage, trace thematic developments across Cronenberg’s cinema while exploring sub-themes of sexual control, personal identity and Cronenberg’s relationship to science and science fiction. The first section, titled Who Is My Creator?, comprises Cronenberg’s earliest works, from Stereo (1969) to his breakthrough film Videodrome (1983), and examines his protagonists’ search for father figures within the worlds of science and technology. Who Am I? looks at Cronenberg’s “middle period” from The Dead Zone (1983) to eXistenZ (1999), as characters seek control of their own identities and divided selves, and experiments with their own bodies. Who Are We? takes these protagonists out into the world, examining both their psychological and physical relationship to family, friends and society, from Spider (2002) up to Cronenberg’s most recent film with Cosmopolis (2012).

Other newly announced highlights include two subsections of David Cronenberg: Evolution, offering audiences the chance to step inside the world and mind of David Cronenberg. At the exit of the exhibition will be a special viewing area where short films by David Cronenberg will be screened; and inside the exhibition, there will be a special space devoted to Naked Lunch—including a recreation of the film’s famous bar, complete with Mugwump—in part as a tribute to William S. Burroughs and other 20th century artists and thinkers that have informed and inspired Cronenberg’s work.

“As the international community turns its attention to Toronto for the Festival, we are thrilled to share a piece of our legacy with David Cronenberg, one of the world’s greatest living filmmakers and someone who represents Canadian cinema at its very best,” said Piers Handling, CEO and Director, TIFF. “TIFF has grown and evolved alongside David for over three decades, and with The Cronenberg Project we celebrate David’s history while also moving forward into a new era for TIFF Bell Lightbox with our first large-scale, original touring exhibition.”

“David Cronenberg has made an immeasurable contribution to Canadian and global cinema. TIFF has been fortunate enough to have worked with him throughout his career to amass a significant collection of artifacts and documents that have made this celebration possible,” added Noah Cowan, Artistic Director, TIFF Bell Lightbox. “We are approaching Cronenberg’s work across multiple platforms, with a number of creative partners, to create an immersive and experiential project that has been our dream since TIFF Bell Lightbox was conceived. This is what TIFF Bell Lightbox was built for.”

“My personal and professional roots are in Toronto, so to have an exhibition of my work created and displayed here by an organization that has had such an indelible impact on my career is an especially unique and humbling experience,” said David Cronenberg.

The full film retrospective, From Within: The Films of David Cronenberg (October 31, 2013 to January 19, 2014), showcases  Cronenberg’s oeuvre from his first short feature Stereo (1969) to his most recent film Cosmopolis (2012), and features a substantial number of newly struck and restored 35mm prints and new digital presentations, including a new digital restoration of his controversial debut feature Shivers (1975) created by TIFF especially for this series, which will first have its World Premiere this afternoon as part of the TIFF Cinematheque programme at the Festival, introduced by David Cronenberg himself. From Within: The Films of David Cronenberg also includes: Crimes of the Future (1970); a new 35 mm print of Rabid (1977); a new digital presentation of Fast Company (1979); archival prints of The Brood (1979) and Scanners (1981); a new 35mm director’s cut of Videodrome (1983); a new digital presentation of The Dead Zone (1983); new 35mm prints of The Fly (1986) and Dead Ringers (1988); Naked Lunch (1991); M. Butterfly (1993); Crash (1996); eXistenz (1999); Spider (2002); A History of Violence (2005); Eastern Promises (2007); A Dangerous Method (2011); and Cronenberg’s short films Transfer (1966) and From the Drain (1967), both in new digital restorations, as well as Camera (2000) and At the Suicide of the Last Jew in the World in the Last Cinema in the World (2007).

Throughout the run of the film programmes and exhibition, we will be joined by several esteemed guests, scholars and Cronenberg  collaborators to introduce a number of screenings and explore the themes and cultural relevance of Cronenberg’s work. David Cronenberg himself officially kicks the film programmes off on October 31 with a special Halloween screening of Dead Ringers (1988). We’re thrilled to welcome David back throughout the run of the programme for Naked Lunch (1991) on November 1 with producer Jeremy Thomas; The Brood (1979) on December 1 with religious studies scholar Elijah Siegler; and on November 21 with avid cinephile and acclaimed director Guillermo del Toro, who returns to TIFF Bell Lightbox to reprise his popular Master Classes with an extended intro to Eastern Promises (2007) followed by a post-screening discussion on stage with David Cronenberg.

Additional screenings with special guests include: M. Butterfly (1993) with costume designer Denise Cronenberg, and The Fly (1986) with Academy Award-winning special effects and prosthetics designer Stéphan Dupuis on November 2; eXistenZ (1999) with Genie Award-winning production designer Carol Spier on November 16; Dead Ringers (1988) with an introductory lecture by film scholar Christine Ramsay on November 17; A History of Violence (2005) with Genie Award-winning cinematographer Peter Suschitzky on December 7; and Naked Lunch (1991) with Academy Award-winning composer Howard Shore on December 8. Also on December 8, we welcome back Denise Cronenberg, Howard Shore, Peter Suschitzky, and Genie Award-winning editor Ron Sanders for a panel discussion following a screening of A Dangerous Method (2011). On December 7, Noah Cowan will share his thoughts on Crash

(1996), Cronenberg’s take on J.G. Ballard’s disturbing novel; while Piers Handling will discuss a central film in the Cronenberg canon, Videodrome (1983), on November 24. More special guests to be announced in the coming weeks.

As a sidebar to the retrospective, the 10-film programme Psychoplasmic Panic! Cronenberg and the Rise of Body Horror (November 2 to December 21) has been curated by Colin Geddes, International Programmer for the Toronto International Film Festival. It includes works by Cronenberg’s body-horror contemporaries and later filmmakers whom he influenced, including Shinya Tsukamoto’s original cyber-punk masterpiece Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989), Andrzej Zulawski’s outrageous cult film Possession (1981), and Ken Russell’s psychedelic journey down the rabbit hole, Altered States (1980). Psychoplasmic Panic! Cronenberg and the Rise of Body Horror also includes: Beyond the Black Rainbow (2010), In My Skin (Dans ma peau) (2002), Body Melt (1993), Slither (2006), Sisters (1973), Society (1989), and The Thing (1982).

Premiering today as part of the Future Projections programme at the Toronto International Film Festival, and running until December 29, is David Cronenberg: Transformation, the visual art component of The Cronenberg Project, curated by Noah Cowan and David Liss, presented in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA). Located at MOCCA, the exhibition features six new, TIFF-commissioned artworks from leading Canadian and international contemporary artists who have been inspired by, or are responding to one of Cronenberg’s primary themes: the desire to witness the next stage of human evolution. Works include: Treatmentby Candice Breitz, a trio of redubbed key scenes from The Brood, examining the film’s universal themes of relationship disintegration and parental anxiety, featuring Breitz, her therapist and her parents; Swarm by James Coupe, a J.G. Ballard-inspired installation that allows the gallery visitor to have their image captured and temporarily re-channeled onto monitors, examining themes of social paranoia, technological anxiety and loss of identity; Une Danse des Bouffons (or A Jester’s Dance) by Canadian-born Marcel Dzama, which mixes references to Cronenberg’s cinema with playful art-historical quotations from Duchamp to Picasso, Beuys to Orsler, and features an original soundtrack by Arcade Fire and an appearance by former Sonic Youth frontwoman Kim Gordon; Jeremy Shaw’s startling expanded variation on his acclaimed installation Introduction to the Memory Personality, which evokes the idea of brain infiltration by placing the spectator alone in an enclosed room and allowing them only a single, fixed perspective whileconfronting them with a barrage of hypnotic and mind-manipulating techniques; Rough Cut (Hiker Meat) by British conceptual artist Jamie Shovlin, a fabricated documentary about the imaginary exploitation film Hiker Meat, which Shovlin (perhaps) created by splicing together 1,500 separate sequences from a myriad of low-budget slasher films; and Laurel Woodcock’s newest installment ofwalkthrough, a site-specific series that continues her exploration of the relationship between cinema and the written word by culling slug lines from screenplays of Cronenberg’s films and scattering them throughout the galleries of MOCCA.

Then, beginning on November 2, MOCCA, the National Gallery of Canada and TIFF present David Cronenberg: Through the Eye,an exhibition curated by David Cronenberg from the collection of the National Gallery of Canada, including artworks by LouiseBourgeois, Charles Burns, William S. Burroughs, Alex Colville, John Massey, Mark Prent and John Scott. David Cronenberg: Through the Eye runs at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art until the close of David Cronenberg: Transformation on December 29.

Body/Mind/Change, the digital-experience extension of the film exhibition, a co-production with TIFF and the Canadian Film Centre’s Media Lab, with creative direction by Lance Weiler, officially launches on October 25. Enabling participants to experience what it is like to live inside a David Cronenberg film, Body/Mind/Change is an elaborate multi-media production starring David Cronenberg that presents the plausible science fiction found in his work as scientific fact. In Body/Mind/Change, Cronenberg partners with BMC Labs, a fictional biotech firm to develop biotech enhancement implants inspired by the intellectual property found in his films, such as Scanners, Videodrome and eXistenZ. Cronenberg invites users to help BMC develop their first product, POD (Personal-On-Demand), the ultimate recommendation-engine. At launch on October 25, registered participants will be guided through an episodic interactive narrative that functions as a simulator for training their PODs. Completing this three-part experience will guarantee them a unique POD generated from their behaviour during the simulations. Their POD will be available for pick-up at the close of the David Cronenberg: Evolution exhibition in January 2014 at the BMC Labs installation, located in the CIBC Canadian Film Gallery on the 4th floor of the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Participants can sign up now at www.bodymindchange.ca to register for POD.

An eBook preview of TIFF’s original exhibition David Cronenberg: Evolution is available today as a free download from the Apple iBookstore. Divided into three sections that mirror the organization of the exhibition, the eBook offers a selection of behind-the-scenes images, props and film stills included in David Cronenberg: Evolution. The eBook release precedes that of TIFF’s two previously announced original publications, both designed by and co-published with the Torino-based art publisher Volumina: an image-based book to accompany David Cronenberg: Evolution, featuring lead essays by Piers Handling and Noah Cowan; and a complementary artcommissions publication devoted to David Cronenberg: Transformation, the original visual-art exhibition produced by TIFF in collaboration with the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA). Both publications will be available, separately or as a limited edition deluxe boxed set, at the TIFF Shop beginning November 1, 2013, to coincide with the opening of David Cronenberg: Evolution.

As a next step for TIFF’s Higher Learning Digital Resource Hub, which provides satellite educational programming to academic communities and the general public, David Cronenberg: Virtual Exhibition provides an invaluable in-depth academic resource in conjunction with the exhibition. This virtual museum makes TIFF’s collection of David Cronenberg materials available online, including new scholarship, an interactive map of Cronenberg’s Toronto, an immersive timeline, and rare behind-the-scenes footage and exclusive interviews with David Cronenberg and his past and present collaborators. David Cronenberg: Virtual Exhibition launches in fall 2013.

Evolution, the opening celebration for the exhibition David Cronenberg: Evolution, will take over TIFF Bell Lightbox for the evening of Wednesday, October 30, featuring live entertainment, interactive art installations, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Tickets are now on sale at tiff.net/cronenbergparty, with proceeds supporting annual film programming at TIFF along with education and community initiatives.

TIFF Members get free access to David Cronenberg: Evolution and can purchase film programme tickets starting on September 17. Tickets for the exhibition and film programme go on sale September 25 for non-members. Non-member exhibition tickets are $15 plustax (child/student/senior discounts available). Combo pack (film and exhibition) is $20 plus tax, and new for David Cronenberg: Evolution, all tickets to the exhibition are $5 on Tuesdays (Tuesday tickets can only be purchased in person at the box office). Service fees may apply. Timed-entry ticketing will guarantee visitors entrance at their chosen time.

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About the author
Samuel Zimmerman
Fangoria.com Managing Editor Samuel Zimmerman has been at FANGORIA since 2009, where fresh out of the Purchase College Cinema Studies program, he began as an editorial assistant. Since, he’s honed both his writing and karaoke skills and been trusted with the responsibility of jury duty at Austin’s incredible Fantastic Fest. Zimmerman lives in and hails from The Bronx, New York where his pants are too tight and he’ll watch anything with witches.
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