May 6: HerStory – Dominique Gusset

 May 6: HerStory   Dominique GussetI grew up in Duncans Cove, a small coastal community just outside of Halifax, Nova Scotia. My parents were musicians who had immigrated from Québec to play with the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra. Along with another pair of musicians from the United States, they bought two old houses in what was then a dying fishing out-port, and proceeded to rebuild and re-populate the small community with their children, colleagues and friends. So my childhood was surrounded by an extended family of musicians, actors and artists.

At an early age, I had decided that I wanted to be many things, including a violinist, a National Geographic photographer, and a scientific illustrator. My first camera was a Kodak Brownie which I received when I was six; by the age of nine I was in the darkroom with my father, and by the age of twelve I had inherited his Nikon. As a teenager, I pursued my varied interests with enthusiasm: music, photography, theatre lighting, and working in the natural history section of the NS Museum. But I always felt the dilemma of having too many interests to make a career choice. I spent several years studying at Dalhousie University and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (towards a major in Environmental Communication), while at the same time working in a wide range of diverse jobs, including waitressing, working on the trains, delivery driving, and as a biodiversity technician.

During this time I also became a member of the Atlantic Filmmakers’ Cooperative and started volunteering on a few projects. It is there that I finally solved my predicament of incorporating my various interests into a career. To me, film offered more opportunities than photography to tell a story, to collaborate with others in the creative process, and there was no limit to the stories I could help tell!

In 1984 I got my first contract and began working in the film industry full-time, syncing rushes at the NFB. I freelanced as an assistant picture and music editor, and within two years I finally worked my way into the camera department. For over 15 years I worked primarily as a camera assistant on numerous documentaries (mostly for the NFB), and as a focus puller on TV dramas and independent feature films (with Bill MacGillivray, Michael Jones, and Ken Pittman, among others), shooting a few documentaries, music videos, and short dramas along the way. I traveled extensively, working in Africa, Europe, Australia and across Canada, including the High Arctic.

In 2005 I transitioned to working full-time as a cinematographer shooting music videos and documentaries for various broadcasters and independent producers on a wide-range of topics including the arts, the environment, and human/cultural issues. Some credits include: “Black Mother, Black Daughter” (NFB 1989), “Kink V” (Showcase 2006), “Home Out of Nothing” (2009), “Roméo Savoie – la peinture au corps” (R-C/ ARTV 2010), and “La Petitcodiac – une rivière renaît” (R-C 2011.)

In addition, over the years I always felt the need to contribute to media literacy in young people, and have instructed various workshops and mentoring sessions in basic filmmaking, animation, and cinematography through film Co-ops, schools, and film festivals for ages ranging from toddlers to adults.

After living in Halifax, St. John’s, Toronto, and Montreal, I finally returned to live in the same house where I grew up in Duncans Cove with my husband and two boys, and strive to have a proper garden. I continue to work, albeit closer to home, always looking for opportunities to document and collaborate, and contribute with my interdisciplinary interests.

Canadian Women Artists Documentary Series at Dalhousie University

The Dalhousie Art Gallery is pleased to present a special series of documentary film screenings that offer intimate portraits of four notable contemporary Canadian women artists: Shuvinai Ashoona, Wanda Koop, Annie Pootoogook and Colette Urban. The films highlight the work of Marcia Connolly and Katherine Knight, Toronto-based filmmakers who frequently collaborate. Marcia Connolly, who is currently teaching for the Fall term at NSCAD University, will be on hand to introduce the films and answer questions following the screenings. This free series runs November 10, 17, 24 at 8 pm.

Thursday 17 November
Pretend Not To See Me, 2009, 48 minutes
Director: Katherine Knight, Cinematographer: Marcia Connolly, Editor Anthony Seck, Producer: David Craig, Katherine Knight, Site Media Inc.
Life and art intersect on a spectacular Newfoundland farm where visual artist Colette Urban mounts thirteen art performances in the fields and barns of her property. Resilient, determined, self aware and funny, Colette embraces the transformative power of art as she restages the significant art performances of her thirty-year career. The film features the astonishing juxtaposition of Urban’s enigmatic art performances set against the rugged beauty of the Newfoundland landscape. She emerges as an empathetic, courageous and visionary character that has achieved artistic excellence through a focused and solitary journey.

Thursday 24 November
Koop: The Art of Wanda Koop, 2011, 47 minutes
Director: Katherine Knight, Cinematographer: Marcia Connolly, Producer: David Craig, Katherine Knight, Site Media Inc. Editor: Jared Raab
Two 30-year career retrospectives at the Winnipeg and National Art Gallery’s are approaching and the visionary Canadian artist Wanda Koop is preparing massive new paintings of archetypal cities and familiar yet disquieting landscapes. Breaking from the demands of the studio she embarks on a journey by freighter boat. Sketches, photographs and moments of observation soon lead to a new group of astonishing paintings and insights into the creative process.

For More information about these films, visit

photo020810 01 300x200 Canadian Women Artists Documentary Series at Dalhousie UniversityMarcia Connolly is an award-winning filmmaker, cinematographer and video journalist. In response to Connolly’s documentary on artist Annie Pootoogook, Atom Egoyan stated, “Her camera has found a beautiful way of implicating itself into Pootoogook’s community in Cape Dorset, creating an intimacy and sense of spiritual kinship which is profoundly touching and rare.”

Connolly’s independent films have shown internationally and nationally including at the Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume in Paris, the Toronto International Film Festival, International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), the Edinburgh International Film Festival, the Vancouver International Film Festival, the Smithsonian Institute and at the Margaret Mead Film and Video Festival. Ghost Noise received the 2010 Lodestar Award for Best Canadian or International film at the Dawson City International Short Film Festival and Jury’s Choice First Prize at the Black Maria Film and Video Festival. Since 1999 Connolly has also worked as a Producer and Video Journalist at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). These programs have received multiple Gemini’s, an International Emmy, and the Japan Prize.

knight Canadian Women Artists Documentary Series at Dalhousie UniversityKatherine Knight is Associate Professor, Department of Visual Art, Faculty of Fine Arts, York University. Knight’s photographic work is represented in the collection of the National Gallery, Museum London, Department of Foreign Affairs, and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.  Knight, founded Site Media Inc in 2006 to produce documentaries of creative individuals in extraordinary places. Site Media has produced four documentaries on Canadian artists, including “Annie Pootoogook” and “Kinngait: Riding Light into the World.” In 2009 Knight directed, “Pretend Not To See Me,” which received Special Mention at the Ecofilm Festival, 2010 in Rhodos, Greece. Knight’s documentary on artist Wanda Koop, was the gala night selection for Reel Artist Film Festival, Toronto, February 2011. Knight is currently developing a film on the architecture of Todd Saunders.

For more information, please contact:

Dalhousie Art Gallery
6101 University Avenue, PO Box 15000, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3H 4R2
T 902.494.2403 / E /
Hours: Tuesday to Friday, 11 am to 5 pm. Weekends, noon to 5 pm. Free admission.