Two Kelowna-based filmmakers are taking a look back on the impact of Vancouver’s queer punk scene in a new film set to premiere at Vancouver Queer Film Festival this month.
Filmmakers Kim Kinakin and Michael V. Smith, former members of the offshoot punk scene the film is based on, drew from archives of live performances, combined with indie films and video.
The end result is a snapshot of the scene at the turn of the millennium in a retrospective titled “Punk as Flick.”
Kinakin said in an interview with Kelowna Capital News that he remembers being a part of a unique period of time in the late ’90s and early 2000s, promoting the scene in Vancouver.
Kinakin said like minded-people in the queer community would work together, documenting and sharing resources to get the word out about events before the age of the Internet with a do-it-yourself spirit.
During that time, Kinakin and Smith worked on a documentary called “Punk as F—k.” What came from that is an archive of footage and short films that strongly represents the queer punk movement from that time 20 years ago, which has been used in part for Punk as Flick.
“It’s like this moment where a bunch of people came together, created this creation of community building and art building and a bunch of it got documented,” said Kinakin.
“So, we’re looking back and celebrating what happened during this period of time. If you were partying in 1999 with other freaks, geeks and weirdos, this might be a walk down memory lane.
“If you weren’t there, this is a great taste-test of living west coast alterna-queer history.”
Kinakin said the goal at the time was to bring back what was once an early part of the punk scene – inclusivity.
“The longevity of that community that we created wasn’t punk – it was queer; alterna-queer; it was people who wanted to do queer stuff that was a little bit different and that didn’t fit into the queer mainstream. It was a space in between that brought a lot of people together.”
When the film airs at the Vancouver Film Festival on Aug. 22, Kinakin said he is most excited to share it with those who were a part of the scene. He said he hopes the film reminds those who took part just how important and ground-breaking their scene was, paving way for further acceptance and normalcy within the queer community.
“It’s kind of like a class reunion when you have artists coming from different places, finding a show that brings them all together and finding a common theme is very rare,” said Kinakin.
“People who have inspired that kind of art very seldom to get an opportunity to see an eclectic community of artists and voices in one spot. So, I think that part is historical and for some people to see there are some strides that are happening now that we take for granted, but to go back 20 years and see things that were pushing the envelope 20 years ago but that may not be now.”
Smith also has his own piece in the program. His short film, titled “Pink,” focuses on Smith’s love for the colour. Smith shot the video in one take – just one of the many short films featured with an interesting approach to filmmaking.
“The film was shot with a super punk rock approach with no permits, we just shot what we needed on the street and got out of there,” said Smith.
While this year’s festival has been forced online due to COVID-19 concerns, the festival along with Punk as Flick will have a much bigger outreach, a silver lining that the two filmmakers are excited about.
“The really exciting thing about the festival this year is that because of (COVID-19) everything’s gone online, so anybody in B.C. can access the entire festival and that’s the first time that’s ever happened,” said Smith.
Punk as Flick premieres Aug. 22, 7 p.m., online through the Vancouver Queer Film Festival.