Freeshow Seymour is a film-craft collaboration between Christina Zeidler and Allyson Mitchell. The collaboration is based on a shared practice and politic, and sometimes resulted in collaborative works. Freeshow Seymour began touring work together in 2003, and most notably toured “Deep Lez Filmcraft: The stuffed and Sticky Filmcraft of Allyson Mitchell and Christina Zeidler” in 2007-2008.
Feeshow Seymour description by Andrew Harwood:
Like Siegfried and Roy, Allyson Mitchell and Christina Zeidler are first and foremost collaborative folks, but without the tigers, the cosmetic surgeries or the Las Vegas budgets. They have been buddies and co-conspirators in the experimental moving image scene since 1994. Their film and video productions have spanned almost ten years and with accolades from film festivals around the world. Welcome their new collaborative effort: FREESHOW SEYMOUR.
Zeidler and Mitchell’s works are always experimental and playful – even when narratives are serious or sad. These gals believe that a story can always be told in more meaningful ways – through experimentation. Their works are invariably subjective with the first person and autobiographical topics as central themes.
Mitchell practically invented the genre of the “break-up” film, where ex-girlfriends often help in the production of the resulting films. Mitchell presents the ultimate autobiopic “My Life in 5 Minutes”. The basics of her life story is told in roughly five minutes using animation and family snaps (yes fat + thin). Some photos hold painful or awkward memories for the artist and via computer animation, she enlarges her own eyes to blink the pain away.
Zeidler deals with the family traumedy in her new fictional work “Kill Road”. Through stop-action animation with live actors, the artist tells the funny/sad story of an “average” family outing. Their car day trip and ensuing adventures lead them ultimately to ignore their own family dysfunction and keeps their family status quo intact. The ‘family’, mother, father, daughter, pet are all played by women in drag allowing the ironic possibilities of hyper-feminist -magic-realism. The entire film was re-photographed from the original 16 mm which exaggerates the animation of the characters and conjures the “Keystone Cops” at moments.
Mitchell and Zeidler’s works always promote a crisp wit and keen observations of life. They often deal with sadness and loss, but not in ways that dumb-down their audience or completely depress them either. This balancing act, in their works, speaks to an acceptance of sorrow and loss as part of everyday life – with just a little sugar on it to make it more palatable. Life is bittersweet.
There are references to experimental films from the 60′s and 70′s present in their oeuvres. It’s as though these gals are continuously living in and celebrating the 70′s yet not stuck in that decade’s rhetoric – always fresh in content, sometimes exposing the carnage of the beliefs from that time period.
DEEP LEZ FILM CRAFT: THE STUFFED & STICKY FILMS OF FREESHOW SEYMOUR
Programmed by Amy Lynn Kazymerchyk, Christina Zeidler and Allyson Mitchell
Freeshow Seymour is the tag-team alias for the collaborative works of Toronto filmmakers Christina Zeidler and Allyson Mitchell, who have been sharing their love for film craft, thrift shopping, and maximalist approach to art making since 1994. Their collaboration is grounded in “Deep Lez”, a posi-core practice of reclaiming diss’ed and discarded feminist root values in performance, writing, organizing, teaching, music, film, sculpture, and installation.
This retrospective resembles your childhood dress-up box and teenage hope chest. Childhood trauma, puberty, fatphobia, queer fantasies, homophobia, feminist epiphanies, misogyny, breakups and breakdowns, ballerina dreams, and ghost pets are the tattered rags that Freeshow Seymour lovingly transform into dazzling celluloid quilts. Wrap yourself in the Deep Lez Love.