What: The Floating Man film screening
When: Wednesday, November 22, 7 to 10 pm
Where: Mary Irwin Theatre, Rotary Centre for the Arts, 421 Cawston Ave., Kelowna
Cost: Sliding scale $10 to $25
In his intimate self-portrait, Michael V. Smith’s feature documentary The Floating Man explores his gender journey with his signature vision of iconic imagery.
During the documentary Smith, who is Professor of Creative Writing in UBC Okanagan’s Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies, sources his art practice to examine a lifetime of untrue stories about his body. Beginning with interviews in his hometown, and moving forward through mentors—such as queer filmmaker John Greyson— and then students of his own in Kelowna, Smith explores the kaleidoscope of a body’s relationship with gender.
Running parallel in a second storyline is footage from a disastrous art project Smith attempted in 2005. Dressed as Peanut the Dancing Clown, Smith hitchhiked from Vancouver to the Sunshine Coast over the Canada Day long weekend in search of celebrated artist Joni Mitchell. However, he felt too awkward to perform as Peanut and never did meet the iconic Canadian singer.
Smith says this new movie is a conversation starter.
“It’s a love letter to my young self, to tell him what beauty is available if he listens to his own joy. And to let other people know that nuance and being in between are exquisite tools for self-actualization and social change, to help others find themselves too.”
The Floating Man premiered at Chicago’s Reeling Film Festival, and is now scheduled in other festivals across North America. The sold-out Canadian premiere took place October 22, in Vancouver, in partnership with UBC Connects at Robson Square and Out On Screen.
“Queers invent ourselves in such communal and compassionate and inquisitive ways, gender being a particularly joyful example of that embodiment, which gets negotiated against social pressures and ignorant lies,” Smith says, noting that he is excited to share this work with the local community in Kelowna. “I’m so glad that people are seeing the movie for what I’d hoped. It’s wonderful to be so witnessed. And to receive that sharing of themselves in return.”
He does warn there is some harmless nudity towards the end of the film, similar to what might be seen in an art gallery. Viewer discretion is advised.
A bar and concession will be available before and during the show. The venue is wheelchair accessible and has gendered, stalled washrooms, with a gender-neutral, accessible washroom available by request.
Doors open at 7 pm, with opening remarks at 7:30 pm. The film is 77 minutes long, with a time for questions afterwards. Tickets for the screening are available on a sliding scale between $10-$25 and can be purchased at: www.eventbrite.ca/e/the-floating-man-kelowna-film-premiere-tickets-731354028587
This event is made possible with the support of UBC Okanagan, the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies and the Rotary Centre for the Arts.