Ryerson University: Arts & Cultural Programming 
Short Films

Bloordale Beach is a short film by fourth year Image Arts film studies student Beth Warrian. It examines local Toronto artist Shari Kasman’s public art phenomenon of the same name as a springboard for larger issues of public space, community identity and the Toronto housing crisis. The “beach” existed in the neighbourhood of Bloordale from May 2020 to September 2021 as a piece of fenced-off demolition land a friend of Kasman's (who prefers to remain anonymous) rendered publicly accessible by removing the fence bolts. Kasman erected signs dubbing the space “Bloordale Beach,” and even led guided “beach tours” throughout the summers. The site invites a layered reading of the increasing social and economic untenability of life in downtown Toronto—and many major urban centres worldwide—as exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The video echoes this tone by wreathing earnest commentary in absurd humour. Just as the beach fostered joy and community engagement in a trying time, the video poses an alternative strategy to the exhausting cycle of “disaster porn” imagery for depicting social crises.

Flag Bearer is a short film by second year Image Arts film studies student Fatemeh Saba Forouzan. The black and white film presents a young Muslim woman putting on her hijab. Muslim women are often called the Flag Bearers of Islam as they wear their faith like a flag, knowing this visual cue will identify their religion. Though these women are often seen as oppressed, for most this isn't the reality. Rather it shows the strength and beauty found in the hijab.

Moderator:
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Glen Lowry

Glen Lowry

Executive Director and Advisor to the Provost, Partnerships, Outreach and Research, OCAD University

As a literary and cultural theorist (PhD in English), Glen Lowry has published widely on contemporary arts and culture—literature, photography, film, and television. Specializing in cross-disciplinary collaboration and creative practice-led research, Dr. Lowry works across critical and creative modalities—scholarly research, poetics, design, visual art, publishing, and public engagement—to engage diverse communities and stakeholders. Recent projects focus on the convergence of public art, community engagement, and institutional transform. 


From 2011-2015, Lowry was a publishing advisor/ editor with the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, travelling across Canada to participate in discussions about Truth and Reconciliation among Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities. From 2007 to 2015, he co-led the Maraya project. From 2001 to 2012, Lowry edited West Coast Line, a Simon Fraser University-based literary and cultural journal. Currently, Lowry is the Executive Director and Advisor to the Provost, Partnerships, Outreach, and Research at OCAD University, where he works to connect artists, designers, and media makers with partnership-driven initiatives.

Artists:
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Beth Warrian

Beth Warrian

Bachelor of Fine Arts, Image Arts: Film Studies, X University (formerly Ryerson University)

Beth Warrian (she/her) is an emerging writer-director based in Toronto. She is fascinated by inner worlds, liminal states, and the spiritual dimensions of queer experience. She draws from a background in theatre performance and credits her previous decade-long career as a sous chef with instilling the dedicated work ethic and passion for conscientious leadership with which she approaches her filmmaking.

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Fatemeh Saba
Forouzan

Fatemeh Saba Forouzan

Bachelor of Fine Arts, Image Arts: Film Studies, X University (formerly Ryerson University)

Born in St. John, New Brunswick to Iranian parents, filmmaker Fatemeh Saba Forouzan currently studies in Toronto at X University (formerly Ryerson University). She works on projects inspired by her identity as an Iranian Muslim woman and second-generation immigrant.