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MONOGRAPH: Under Prairie Skies - The Short Films of Mike Rollo (2008-2017)

  • Contemporary Calgary 701 11 St SW, Calgary, AB Calgary Canada (map)

Thursday, October 17, 6-8 PM
MONOGRAPH: Under Prairie Skies - The Short Films of Mike Rollo (2008-2017)
Super 8, 16mm and 35mm to Video | Sound + Silent - 55 minutes
Filmmaker in Attendance
Admission is by donation (pay what you can)

Contemporary Calgary is pleased to be partnering with MONOGRAPH and to present, Under Prairie Skies- The Short Films of Mike Rollo (2008-2017), with Regina based filmmaker Mike Rollo in attendance.


The Broken Altar
2013 | colour | sound | 35mm | 19mins

The Broken Altar is a portrait of open ­air theatres documented under the strange light of day, emptied of the once present hum of human voices, radioed ­in soundtracks and tires on gravel. Scripting the landscape and exploring the residue of a cinematic history, The Broken Altar forms a sculptural treatment of the architectural artifacts of these abandoned and barren spaces: speaker boxes rise from tall grass like grave markers and the screens themselves are monumental, sepulchral in their peeling whiteness.

au bord de la rivière
2014 | colour | sound | 16mm to HD | 3mins

EN: au bord de la rivière is an unblinking examination of the light and movement patterns that animate a riverbank; an earthly mysticism in miniature, a professing of natural secrets hidden in plain sight.

Ghosts and Gravel Roads
2008 | colour | sound | Super 16mm to HD | 16mins

An inventory of lost memories and places, the sun­bleached landscape of Saskatchewan serves as a metaphor for displacement, a framing of emptiness and absence. Travelling to forgotten towns and channelled through old family photographs the camera catalogues the haunting remnants of the past, frail monuments and communities laid bare, broken under economic collapse. Under the weight of the prairie skies a visceral, personal encounter is revealed in the solace of open space.

The Hunter Hunted
2013 | b&w | Super 8 | silent | 3mins

In search of a subject, I hunted. I found it in myself.

Farewell Transmission
2017 | b&w | 16mm to HD | sound | 14mins

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation opened the doors of the CBK Transmitter Station in 1939 to serve the prairie region of Canada. Farewell Transmission is equal parts indexical record of the demolition of CBK in 2015 and subjective response to the residual media documenting the event. The building is framed with tension preceding its destruction: emulsion pulsates as if with decades of radio transmission, creating an unsettled eulogy for a cultural institution.


Mike Rollo’s work explores alternative approaches to documentary cinema — methods that thematize vanishing cultures and transitional spaces through references to memory, history, religion, and autobiography. A founding member of Montreal’s experimental film collective Double Negative, Mike has curated the work of prominent international and Canadian experimental filmmakers. Currently, he is a member of Independent Visions a curatorial incubator devoted to making independent and experimental media accessible to a diverse audience in Regina. Mike’s films have shown at festivals, galleries, and conferences across Canada and internationally. His film Ghosts and Gravel Roads (2008) was honoured as one of Canada’s Top Ten Shorts in 2008 by the Toronto International Film Group and received the Mikeldi Silver Documentary Award at the 50th Edition of the International Festival of Documentary and Short Film of Bilbao. Mike teaches film production at the University of Regina.