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The Act of Becoming

Saturday, May 7, 2016 - 12:00pm
Thursday, May 12, 2016 - 9:15pm
Screening Partner
Community Partner(s)

The Act of Becoming

Vernon Lott and Jennifer Anderson | 
USA |
 2015 | 
61 minutes

We all have our favourite books — the ones that hold a place of honour on our bookshelves, pages well-worn and oft-quoted. And many of us have lived through the disappointing experience of seeing our most beloved books committed to the big screen, confirming the popular refrain that films often don’t do justice to books. But what if the film didn’t attempt to recreate the story, but instead set out to capture the singular, intimate relationship a reader can have with a literary work?

In 1965, a man named John Williams published a book called Stoner. It sold 2,000 copies, had a short shelf life, and eventually faded into the dusty archives of the publishing world. What happened afterwards is one of those rare stories that seems almost too good to be true. Almost 50 years after its initial publication, Stoner enjoyed a genuine literary rebirth. In the early 2000s, the book was re-released in several editions and critics and readers alike heralded it as one of the Great American Novels of our time. The Act of Becoming is a film about literature and, more importantly, the love that literature can inspire. Critics, writers, publishers, and translators whose encounter with Stoner profoundly changed their lives share their relationship to the novel, and ultimately we are left with the feeling that a film finally got the book right. -PP

Preceded By
Sarah (Emmett) Race | 
Canada |
 2016 | 
17 minutes

Devoted bibliophiles Jan and Crispin Elsted have lovingly cared for their printing press for over 30 years. In the unlikely location of Mission, B.C., they make rare limited editions of beautifully engraved texts including everything from Shakespearean plays to contemporary West Coast poetry. -PP

Filmmaker

Vernon Lott and Jennifer Anderson

Husband and wife independent filmmakers, Vernon Lott and Jennifer Anderson have completed three previous feature-length documentary films. BAD WRITING (2010), their first film, was hailed by the Wall Street Journal as "charming and smartly conceived." Their second film, CONFLUENCE (2011), won the Special Jury Prize at the 2011 Local Sightings Film Festival, and was called "compelling" and "soulful" by the Seattle Times. Their third film, MASSACRED FOR GOLD (2013), had its world premiere at the Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival.