Local RDC instructors unveil new film project

Red Deer College film instructors Larry Reese and James Wilson are ready to unveil their highly-anticipated film that offers an up-close look at the the creative process.

Mapping Creativity premiers Oct. 28 at the Arts Centre. Showtime is 8 p.m.

It will be screened after an art show reception and fundraiser called ‘Creativity’ in the Arts Centre Lobby starting at 7 p.m. In collaboration with the Motion Picture Arts and the Visual Art departments, ‘Creativity’ includes works by various artists who appear in the film. Proceeds will raise money for the two departments.

“We’re excited and nervous,” says Reese of how he and Wilson are feeling these days prior to the screening. “This has been two years in the making, and the concept was actually born two and one-half years ago.”

The guys note that what was really exciting was how much in the way of artistic creativity remains untapped – right here in the local region.

“The more we looked into it, the more we could see potential people we could have interviewed. That list just seemed to grow.”

The film also follows Reese’s own creative journey as he produced three stunning paintings during that period as well. One of them, the beautifully-rendered Guardians of the Sleeping Duck, was mounted at RDC in the Centre for Visual Art last spring. The painting’s formation is the thread that runs through the documentary as well.

Last year, Reese also featured an exhibit of exquisite examples of his work at the Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery called ‘Mapping Creativity – a Journey of Transformations’. The film project was underway at the time but as Wilson and Reese chatted with acclaimed artists from musicians to visual masters, it became clear the project had to be longer.

They went on to explore the creative process through interviews with artists including Jazz great PJ Perry, blues impresario and radio host Holger Petersen and film legend Fil Fraser. Shaun Johnston of CBC’s Heartland, local painter David More and Jean Grand-Maitre, the artistic director of Alberta Ballet also share their insights on the creative process.

The concept for the film itself surfaced simply enough.

“The idea came to me while staring at a blank canvas,” said Reese. “I was feeling overwhelmed and thinking of the number of times I have had similar feelings over the last 25 years when it came to working on a role as an actor, or on a piece of music as a musician or on a screenplay as a director.”

Reese and Wilson interviewed Alberta actors, musicians, filmmakers and painters for the feature film that began as a short film three years ago.

Altogether, there was about 20 hours of film shot which of course had to be edited down to the film’s current length. It’s never an easy process, but as Reese said, hopefully the full-length interviews can be made available online down the road.

Ultimately, Wilson and Reese want the film to be used primarily as a teaching tool, and of course to inspire viewers and students. It’s a unique project in that it’s not often folks are taken ‘behind the scenes’ in the artistic process.

Most, of course, simply see the finished product. Mapping Creativity opens a rich world of how things grow from a spark of inspiration to the realization of its development.

“I have a lot of friends who are extremely creative people and are well established in their careers in the arts in Alberta,” said Reese.

“I also have a lot of students who are seeking the same. A film seemed to be a wonderful vehicle to collect the insights of the professionals to share and hopefully inspire those with an interest in expressing their own brand of artistic creativity.”

The film does carry a language advisory.