Images Research Forum

Images Research Forum

news date: Apr 5, 2018

The Images Research Forum is an educational initiative that takes place during the 31st edition of Images Festival. Understanding the need to support the creation and dissemination of critical thinking and dialogue, Images Festival invites emerging colleagues to explore contemporary moving image culture within the context of the festival and with mentorship from leading international curators, artists, and researchers in the field.


We received many outstanding applications this year, and are excited to congratulate and welcome our 13 Research Forum participants!


Aaditya Aggarwal is a writer and editor based in Toronto. He was the 2016 Online Editorial Intern at Canadian Art, and the Programming Coordinator at the 2017 Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival.


Nour Bishouty's autobiographical practice revolves around the research and making of multidisciplinary works which draw upon familial and material narratives. Bishouty’s work has been exhibited internationally. She holds a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Massachusetts Amherst (2014) and was a fellow at Home Workspace Program at Ashkal Alwan, Beirut (2014/15). Bishouty lives and works in Toronto as a visual artist and designer.


Jaclyn Bruneau is a writer and editor in Toronto. Her work engages film, memoir, queerness, grief, power and the absurd. In 2017, she completed a year-long research project on contemporary criticism and participated in Fan Wu and Art Metropole's Close Workshop on grief and mourning. She took part in The Banff Centre's Critical Art Writing Ensemble II in 2016 and was the Editorial Resident at Canadian Art in 2015. She's the managing editor of MICE.


Caroline Doherty is an artist and educator based in Buffalo, NY. She employs multiple mediums, including performance, video, sculpture, and public projects. She has been selected for residencies including the Squeaky Wheel Workspace Residency in Buffalo; the SOMA Summer Program in Mexico City; Guapamacataro Center for Art and Ecology in Michoacan, Mexico; and ArtPark in Lewiston, NY. Her work has been exhibited throughout North America, in

Europe, and in China.


Born and raised in Bulgaria, Ralitsa Doncheva is an artist - filmmaker based in Montréal. Working with experimental and expanded approaches to documentary, dream and reality, her projects have screened internationally in galleries and in cinema theatres. Her recent film Baba Dana Talks To The Wolves won The Eileen Maitland Award at the 54th Ann Arbor Film Festival. She is currently developing a new cinematic installation using analogue film techniques and photochemical processes.


Eleanor Ford is a curator and researcher currently at the University of Toronto. With a focus on the politics of space, they co-founded and curated Cherry & Lucic in Portland, Oregon, participated in the 2016 Portland Biennial, and co-facilitated a course titled "Project Space Industrial Complex" for the pop-up art school home school. Their current research focuses on sites of nuclear testing and the intersections of scientific inquiry and late-liberalism.


Esmé Hogeveen is a reader, writer, and editor based in Toronto. She’s currently a PhD candidate in the Art History and Visual Culture department at York University and has previously studied at the University of King’s College (BA), the Pacific Northwest College of Art (MA), and the School of Criticism and Theory program at Cornell University. Her interests include auto-theory and ficto-criticism, cyberfeminism, and alternative pedagogies, and she is a current Collective Member at M,I,C,E. Magazine.


Steffanie Ling is a writer, film and art critic and a curator at VIVO Media Arts Centre. Her art and film writing has appeared in The Hong Kong Review of Books, Canadian Art, San Francisco Art Quarterly, Flash Art, The Brooklyn Rail, among others. In 2016 she participated in the Young Critics Workshop led by film essayist Kevin B. Lee at the Cairo International Film Festival. She is an editor of Charcuterie, a journal of experimental art writing and polemics and has published two books of prose, NASCAR (Blank Cheque, 2016) and a book of minimal poems, CUTS OF THIN MEAT (Spare Room, 2015).


Almudena Escobar López is an archivist, curator, and writer from Spain. She is a PhD student at the University of Rochester, and has written for publications including MUBI Notebook, The Brooklyn Rail, Afterimage, Film Quarterly and Desistfilm Magazine. She serves in the Board of Trustees of the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, NY.  She is member of the collective screening project On-Film, and co-programmed (with Herb Shellenberger) the Flaherty Seminar series ‘Common Visions’ at Anthology Film Archives.


Tak Pham is a Vietnamese new media art curator, art critic and architectural historian based in Toronto. Pham’s curatorial approach concerns the spatial experience of exhibition architecture. Pham’s academic research has been examining the contemporary consequences of modern architectural movements, and how contemporary art can respond in order to remedy and ameliorate them. Pham actively looks for adaptive-reuse architectural projects and opportunities, not only to investigate their sites, but also, to reimagine their possibilities.


Zainab Saleh holds a Masters degree in Visual and Cultural Studies from the University of Rochester where she co-founded On Film, a film series that aims to exhibit rarely-seen work in their original formats. Zainab is interested in the intersections between comics and film, interactive storytelling, and all things data. Zainab was a Robert Flaherty Film Seminar Fellow in 2015, and served on the selection committee for the 2017 Summer Residency program at Squeaky Wheel Media Art Center.


Shelby Shaw is a multidisciplinary writer based in New York, where she is the co-editor of the biannual art and literary journal, Storyfile. Shelby is the program coordinator for Projections, the New York Film Festival’s section devoted to premiering artists’ films and experimental moving images, and she works with the programmers at the IFC Center in Manhattan.


Fan Wu is a writer and community organizer who works at the intersection of film, literature, and continental philosophy. He hosts critical reading / creative writing workshops through Art Metropole. You can find his most recent work, on cruising and Tsai Ming Liang, at MICE Magazine:'s-spectral-intimacies-four-scenes. Send him dreams and love letters at


OPPORTUNITY // Call for Performers

OPPORTUNITY // Call for Performers

news date: Mar 26, 2018

OPPORTUNITY // Images Festival is calling for local performers to perform with Lafawndah on Friday, April 20 at The Garrison! Compensation: Honorarium and a full Images Festival pass!

Auditions: 6-8pm, 18th April 
Rehearsal: Afternoon, 19th April 
Performance date: 11.30pm, 20th April 2018 (The Garrison, Toronto)

Lafawndah is expanding her live performance to include 10 collaborators to join her onstage at Images Festival in April, where she will be headlining the closing party.
On special occasions such as this, Lafawndah performs with an onstage troupe to whom she gives instructions which vary widely from performance to performance. The outcome is a show which in turn emulates a theatre play or tv film set, and brings in interaction with the audience.

15 years and above
Female identifying
Black, brown, asian, latinx

Submit interest to by April 12.

Producer and singer Yasmine Dubois has only been making music as Lafawndah for a short time, but has already caused ripples worldwide as a riveting music and film visionary.
2016 saw Lafawndah's first EP release, 'Tan', via Warp, and propelled her to become the go-to composer for Kenzo runways and adverts, a renowned DJ, and songstress touring internationally with an ever-expanding live show. Her visual flair as a director is also continually being explored as she delves into the world of film and documentary this year, motivated by her background in theatre and dance and proving her boldness and expansive creativity.

Images Research Forum Call for Applications
photo: Sardar Farrokhi

photo: Sardar Farrokhi

Images Research Forum Call for Applications

news date: Mar 8, 2018

The Images Research Forum is an educational initiative that takes place during the 31st edition of Images Festival. Understanding the need to support the creation and dissemination of critical thinking and dialogue, Images Festival is inviting emerging colleagues to explore contemporary moving image culture within the context of the festival and with mentorship from leading international curators, artists, and researchers in the field.


This year’s forum will grant each participant a pass to attend the entire festival, include intensive seminar meetings with mentor and guests, and culminate in a public presentation. A successful applicant will be engaged in contemporary moving image culture in their own practice, through writing, curating or in graduate school.


Participation in the forum will be a commitment to attend as many of the screenings as possible and to present a culminating project that reflects on the works encountered in the festival, either in the form of a written piece of criticism to be published in an outlet, or a brief presentation given during the public conversation. Participants will be required to attend two meetings during the festival, with additional opportunities for conversations and group activities.


Festival dates: April 12-20, 2018

Research Forum seminars: April 15 1:00-3:00 PM ; April 18 1:00-4:00 PM


Emerging curators, writers, scholars, filmmakers and artists are encouraged to apply.

People of color, women, queer, trans and gender non-conforming people are encouraged to apply.


Images Research Forum will be lead by curator Ekrem Serdar.


Application should include:

  • CV
  • 350 word statement about why attending Images Festival and discussing contemporary moving image culture with a group of colleagues would be productive for you. Please indicate whether you’re interested in doing a written piece or a public presentation for the culminating project.
  • A writing sample (limit 800 words) OR a preview link to a moving image work you’ve produced OR Supporting materials (website, press release, documentation) of a screening or exhibition you’ve curated.​


Email all materials to with the subject line “Images Research Forum - your first and last name”


Application Deadline: Friday, March 23 by midnight.


Successful participants will be notified by March 30.


Please note: Participation in Images Research Forum is free, but participants coming from outside of Toronto are responsible for their own travel and accommodations.


Ekrem Serdar is the curator at Squeaky Wheel Film & Media Art Center (2015–present), where he is responsible for the organization’s exhibitions, public programming, and artist residencies. Previously, he was a programmer with Experimental Response Cinema (Austin, TX) which he co-founded. He is the recipient of a Curatorial Fellowship from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts (2017). He is an advisory member of Experimental Response Cinema, and the FOL Cinema Society (Istanbul). His writing has appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, Millennium Film Journal, INCITE: Journal of Experimental Media, 5harfliler, among others. He completed his B.A. in Critical Studies, and his M.F.A in Media Arts Production at the Department of Media Study at SUNY Buffalo. He is from Ankara, Turkey.


This program is generously supported by TD Bank Group.


Images Festival 2018 Programming Launch and Karaoke Party with Trisha Baga in conjunction with the opening of Trisha Baga’s exhibition Biologue
Trisha Baga, The Voice (video still), 2017. Image courtesy of the artist and Greene Naftali Gallery, New York.

Trisha Baga, The Voice (video still), 2017. Image courtesy of the artist and Greene Naftali Gallery, New York.

Images Festival 2018 Programming Launch and Karaoke Party with Trisha Baga in conjunction with the opening of Trisha Baga’s exhibition Biologue

news date: Mar 1, 2018

15 March 2018, 5:30-11PM

Gallery TPW


170 St Helens Ave. Toronto

5:30 - 7:00PM Press and Programming Launch

7:00 - 9:00PM Opening Reception of the exhibition Biologue

9:00 - 11:00PM Karaoke Pizza Party with Trisha Baga


Join us on 15 March 2018 at Gallery TPW to learn about the exciting programs featured during the 31st  Annual Images Festival happening April 12-20, 2018.

Images Festival’s newly appointed Head of Programming Aily Nash will discuss upcoming screenings, exhibitions, and performances of the 2018 festival schedule with returning Executive Director Heather Keung! Take this opportunity to meet Aily, welcome back Heather, and learn about our incredible line-up and the future activities of Images Festival.

Following the press and programming launch is the opening reception of Biologue, the first Canadian solo-exhibition by Trisha Baga co-curated and co-presented with Gallery TPW.


Beginning at 9PM, Trisha Baga will host a group karaoke party in the gallery. Help us celebrate the 31st edition of Images Festival with a night of singing and snacks.


Images Festival Announces 2018 Programming Highlights
Leilah Weinraub, SHAKEDOWN, 2017

Leilah Weinraub, SHAKEDOWN, 2017

Images Festival Announces 2018 Programming Highlights

news date: Feb 14, 2018

Images Festival’s opening night on Thursday, April 12 will be SHAKEDOWN by Leilah Weinraub at The Royal Cinema. SHAKEDOWN is an intimate time capsule of a weekly party founded by and featuring African American women in Los Angeles’ underground lesbian strip club scene in the early 2000s.


On Friday, April 20 the closing night program will include Djamilia, an exquisite documentary shot on Super 8, by French filmmaker Aminatou Echard at Innis Town Hall. Premiering in the Berlinale, and also making its North American premiere at Images, Djamilia traces the influence of Tchinghiz Aitmatov's 1958 novel of the same title, whose protagonist broke societal norms for female conduct, inspiring generations of women to follow their own desires and ambitions. The screening will be followed by a performance by the Egyptian-Iranian performer and musician Lafawndah.


This year’s Canadian Artist Spotlight is Steve Reinke - an artist, writer and queer Nietzschean best known for his monologue-based film essays. He returns to Toronto to present a solo screening program, as well as an exhibition at Vtape, and the presentation of What Weakens the Flesh is the Flesh Itself, a collaborative work with British artist James Richards, which premiered in the 2017 Venice Biennale.


On Friday, April 13 at the newly constructed Toronto Media Arts Centre (TMAC), artist Lucy Raven and musician Deantoni Parks will present Bullet Points for a Hard Western, a live performance inspired by the artwork and music of Walter De Maria.


Images Festival will present short form works by a number of renowned  international artists  including Korakrit Arunanondchai’s with history in a room filled with people with funny names 4 which recently won the Tiger Shorts Award at Rotterdam; Moyra Davey’s Hemlock Forest, which was first presented in the Montreal Biennial; British artist Patrick Staff’s Weed Killer, commissioned by MOCA Los Angeles; Wutharr, Saltwater Dreams by grassroots Indigenous based media group The Karrabing Film Collective; as well as the North American premiere of Ben Rivers and Ben Russell’s new collaborative film THE RARE EVENT.


In addition to Images Festival ON Screen programs, the festival is pleased to announce its co-presentation of 4 first-time, Canadian solo exhibitions. Mercer Union will present Black Friday, by Qatari-American artist, writer, and filmmaker Sophia Al-Maria. Black Friday foregrounds the artist’s ongoing investigation into the accelerated development of the Gulf Nations and the sobering signs of a hyper-capitalist future to come. In a new two-part installation, American artist Trisha Baga presents an immersive 3D video environment titled Biologue at Gallery TPW. In her first museum exhibition in Canada, Vancouver-born artist Sara Cwynar presents her acclaimed works Soft Film and Rose Gold alongside the debut of her newest film at Oakville Galleries. YYZ Artists’ Outlet will present When Things Occur by artist Oraib Toukan. This compelling work weaves together Skype conversations with Gaza-based photographers, fixers, and drivers who were behind specific images that diffused from screen to screen in the 2014 War on Gaza.


As something new, in partnership with Super 8 Hotel, Images Festival will present a site-specific, multi-channel installation titled Public Intimacies with works by Jon Wang, Dani Restack and Sheilah Restack. Taking place in hotel rooms at the Super 8 Hotel on Spadina Avenue, Public Intimacies speaks to the boundaries between public and private space, presenting works that challenge notions of domesticity, and contemplate themes of intimacy, expressions of sexuality, desire, and identity.


Images Festival is also excited to announce the 2018 jury: scholar and critic, Erika Balsom, artist and curator, Christina Battle, and film programmer Charlotte Selb who are tasked with selecting the winners of the festival’s many awards, including Marian McMahon Akimbo Award, TD Bank Group Award, and York University Award for Best Student Work on Screen. In addition to being on the jury, Erika Balsom will present a lecture titled "Mere" Recording? : Documentary, Contemporary Art, and the Orthodoxy of Ecstatic Truth at Innis Town Hall on Sunday, April 15.


The full program for the 2018 Images Festival will be announced on March 15th at the Images Festival Programming Launch presented in conjunction with the opening of Trisha Baga’s exhibition at Gallery TPW.


Images Festival Welcomes Head of Programming Aily Nash

Images Festival Welcomes Head of Programming Aily Nash

news date: Feb 8, 2018

Welcome Aily Nash

The Images Festival Board of Directors is pleased to announce our new Head of Programming, Aily Nash! Aily has distinguished herself as a strong voice in moving image culture as the co-curator of Projections, the New York Film Festival’s artists' film and video section, as well as co-curator of the film program for the 2017 Whitney Biennial. Aily has curated programs and exhibitions for MoMA PS1, Anthology Film Archives, Kiasma (Helsinki), Tabakalera (San Sebastian), FACT (Liverpool), Image Forum (Tokyo) and others. She curated five seasons of the Basilica Screenings series at Basilica Hudson (2012-2016). Her writing has appeared in the Brooklyn Rail, BOMB,, Film Comment, and elsewhere. In 2015, she was awarded a Curatorial Fellowship from the Andy Warhol Foundation. You may not have seen Aily around the office, as she is working remotely from New York - but Aily is working with Programmer Faraz Anoushahpour to bring together an exciting program for Images 2018. Welcome Aily!


Welcome Back Heather

Another huge welcome back to the festival this month is Executive Director Heather Keung. Heather is returning to the festival after a maternity leave - just in time for the lead-up to Images 2018. The Board and staff are excited to have Heather bring her remarkable talents and enthusiastic passion back to the organization. And Heather is delighted to rejoin the moving image community. Glad to have you back, Heather!


Thank You Keli! 

Another big transition for the festival is saying goodbye to our Development Director Keli Maksud. Keli has been an important part of the Images Festival family for 4 years, starting as our Operations Manager from 2013 to 2016, and then rejoining us as our Development Director from 2017 until 2018. Keli leaves the Images Festival to focus on her brilliant artistic practice at residencies in Korea, London and New York. The Images Festival would like to send out a sincere thank you for Keli's hard work, steady hand, and wonderful presence at the festival. You will be missed!

Images Festival co-presenting at The Toronto Palestine Film Festival

Images Festival co-presenting at The Toronto Palestine Film Festival

news date: Sep 22, 2017

Images Festival is pleased to co-present Ouroboros by Basma Alsharif at The Palestine Film Festival. The Canadian premiere will take place at the TIFF Bell Lightbox C2 on Friday, September 22nd at 5:30pm. 

Click here more information
Buy Tickets Here

Images Festival Catalogue

Images Festival Catalogue

news date: Jul 7, 2017

30th Images Festival Award Winners
OCAD University Off Screen Award Winners Ivana Dizdar and Alvin Luong for their exhibition Bidding War at Y+ Contemporary

OCAD University Off Screen Award Winners Ivana Dizdar and Alvin Luong for their exhibition Bidding War at Y+ Contemporary

30th Images Festival Award Winners

news date: May 9, 2017

Jury: Sharlene Bamboat, Johnson Ngo, Carly Whitefield

More with Less Award: Sponsored by CFMDC, CARFAC Ontario, Charles Street Video, Dames Making Games, Gamma Space, ImagineNative, LIFT, SAW Video, Toronto Reel Asian Int’l Film Festival, Amar Wala and Anonymous. This award was established in 2015 to honour Scott Miller Berry (Images staff 2001-2015) and is presented annually to a project whose artwork does more with less and honours the resourceful spirit. The recipient receives a $1,500 cash prize.

Scene 38, Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit
For capturing a rich and humorous meta-cinematic imaginary in a single shot

OCAD University Off Screen Award: Sponsored by the Ontario College of Art 
and Design University (OCADU), this award honours the strongest new Canadian or international installation or new media work in the festival. The recipient receives a $500 award.

Y+ contemporary
Bidding War, Ivana Dizdar and Alvin Luong
For its thoughtful integration of time-based media into a comprehensive installation and its simultaneously playful and critical approach to site-specificity, addressing poignant issues within urban/suburban cityscapes with humour. We love that they take the piss.

Steam Whistle Homebrew Award:
Sponsored by Steam Whistle Brewing, this award honours excellence and promise in a local artist. The recipient receives $500 and a Steam Whistle Prize Package.

Lumapit Sa Akin, Paraiso / Come to Me, Paradise, Stephanie Comilang
For its multivalent approach, moving between various screens, staged and appropriated images, and between speculative fiction and contemporary social realities to underscore the resilience of disenfranchised domestic workers.

Overkill Award: Sponsored by an anonymous donor. Established in 2000 to honour former Executive Director Deirdre Logue, this award is presented annually to an artist whose work approaches extremes of incorrigibility through form and/or content and challenges our notions of experimental practice. The recipient receives a $500 award.

Can’t Get You out of My Head Award
Hard as Opal, Dani Leventhal and Jared Buckhiester 
We’ve decided to amend the title of this award this year to recognize a work we felt was in the spirit of Deirdre Logue’s ‘extremes of incorrigibility’ but for which the ‘Overkill’ designation would have misread the approach. This Can’t Get You out of My Head Award goes to Hard as Opal for its truly sticky images.

Marian McMahon Akimbo Award: Sponsored by Akimbo Art Promotion. This award is given to a woman filmmaker each year to honour strong work in autobiography, complexity of “subject” and the spirit of Marian McMahon.
The recipient is funded to attend the annual Independent Imaging retreat (Film Farm) and workshop in Mount Forest, Ontario. The recipient also receives $500 worth of transfer services courtesy of Frame Discreet.

Untitled, Anonymous 

York University Award for Best Student Work on Screen: Sponsored by York University’s Department of CINEMA & MEDIA ARTS awarded to the best student work on screen. The recipient receives $500. 

Fiesta Forever, Jorge Jácome
For its technical expertise, seamless and subtle navigation of narrative layers and lost spaces.

Vtape Award for Best Student Work on Screen: Sponsored by Vtape, Toronto’s video art Distributor awarded to the best student work on screen. The recipient receives $500.

Herat in my Head in my Heart, Weeda Azim
For its deft interweaving of personal and political content in a concise experimental form. We want to see more!

Trinity Square Video Award: Sponsored by Trinity Square Video. This award honours the best GTA media artists at the Images festival. The recipient will receives a $100 membership + $1000 in-kind equipment rentals.

A Mountain That Opens Like a Door and Closes Like a Mountain, Felix Kalmenson
For its precise composition, and animating archival materials with signs of human life and physical vulnerability, toxicity, and collective memory.

Additional Award:

Special Programming Mention
We want to give a special mention to an exceptionally curated program, Housekeeping Notes, by the Images programming team. This program was dynamic in its form and content, the range of approaches and traditions it drew in, and threads it opened up.


I Want To Dance With Faith, Faith, Faith

I Want To Dance With Faith, Faith, Faith

news date: Mar 21, 2017

Join us at OFFSITE to celebrate Images Festival 30th Anniversary!
Come dressed in your best 1987 style - your Whitney Houston, your George Michael.
Featuring the DJ stylings of Lana Leprich! 
867 Dundas St. West
March 23rd 
6pm - 8pm Drink and Chats 
8pm - 2am Dance and Celebrations 
Catalogues will be available. A limited number of festival passes will be available for purchase at a special discounted rate!
Images Festival would like to acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, Heritage Canada, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council, Telefilm Canada, and Goethe Institut.
For more information about the party click here