Inspired by the experimental films of the 1930’s Parisian avant-garde and the work of Maya Deren, The Rehearsal documents a musical gathering which is interrupted by a series of surreal encounters between the heroine, Natalie Brettschneider, and various objects. Purporting to be made from found historical footage, the film was created by Evann Siebens and Carol Sawyer in response to Sawyer’s ongoing project The Natalie Brettschneider Archive, a series of photographs, texts, and music recitals, that together reconstruct the life and work of a (fictional) genre-blurring historical performance artist. Conceived, written and directed by Carol Sawyer and Evann Siebens. 16mm cinematography and editing by Evann Siebens, sound design by John Oliver. Starring Michael O’Connell, Carol Sawyer, and Neil Wedman. Lighting and production stills: Kate Henderson. Catering and preproduction assistance: Kathleen Taylor. Post production assistance: Pascale Théorét-Groulx.

Biographies of main collaborators:

Carol Sawyer is a visual artist and singer who works with photography, installation, video, performance, and improvised music. Since the early 1990’s her visual art work has been concerned with the connections between photography and fiction, performance, memory, and history. She graduated with Honours in photography from Emily Carr College of Art (now Emily Carr University), and completed a Masters degree in interdisciplinary art practices at Simon Fraser University, both in Vancouver BC. Her photographs and videos have been exhibited in galleries across Canada, including The Vancouver Art Gallery, the Koffler Centre in Toronto, and La Centrale in Montreal, and at the Canadian Cultural Centre, Paris, and Centre d’Art Contemporain d’Herouville St. Clair, Basse Normandie, France. Recent exhibitions include the solo show The Natalie Brettschneider Archive, at the Carleton University Art Gallery in Ottawa. This exhibition will be reprised, with new additions, at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria in the fall of 2016.

Sawyer performs regularly with her improvising ensemble ion Zoo (with whom she has released two CDs) and in other ad hoc improvising ensembles. Her work is represented by Republic Gallery, Vancouver.

Evann Siebens makes media with movement. She has exhibited her projects at galleries such as Eyebeam and Centre Pompidou, while her documentaries have been screened at MOMA and on PBS. A former dancer with the National Ballet of Canada and Bonn Ballet, Evann graduated from New York University. Now based in Vancouver, Evann co-curated CONTAINR during the 2010 Olympics. She has participated in residencies at the Banff Centre, UNIT/PITT and ACME/UK with KEITH DOYLE. Recent exhibitions include MediaArtLab/Urban Screen, Russia; dc3 Art Projects, Edmonton; Burrard Arts Foundation, Wil Aballe Art Projects, Thru the Trap Door and Gallery 295, Vancouver. Evann recently won the ID/Identities Istanbul Best Video Prize and was in ISEA2015 with MIMMiC. She is represented by Wil Aballe Art Projects.

Evann Siebens’ full CV and filmography can be viewed here

John Oliver‘s “wonderfully, creative music” (Fanfare) displays “a delicate yet often complex sense of beauty” (Musicworks). Winner of the Classical Composition of the Year Award at the 2013 Western Canadian Music Awards for his orchestral composition Forging Utopia, he has received high praise for the breadth of his creative output, from orchestral and chamber music, to intercultural works, electroacoustic music, and opera. Throughout the diversity of his work, one hears music that engages and challenges a wide audience. John Oliver came to international attention early in his career when he won six composition prizes for five compositions ranging from chamber to orchestral to electroacoustic music, including the Grand Prize at the 8th CBC National Young Composers’ Competition for his live electroacoustic work El Reposo del Fuego. Commissions and performances flowed from the likes of the Canadian Opera Company, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony, CBC, Vancouver New Music, St. Lawrence String Quartet, Turning Point Ensemble, New Music Concerts, among others. Two solo releases in 2012 celebrate the breadth of Oliver’s music: Time is Dust, a DVD-audio disc of Oliver’s immersive electroacoustic music, and the CD Forging Utopia: Orchestral Music by John Oliver.