In the Blink of an Eye

Concordia’s Undergraduate Film Magazine “Afterimages” Celebrates Students’ Love of Cinema

“Afterimages” is Concordia’s sole undergraduate film publication, started last year by two cinema students with a vision. Photo Amelia Moses

An afterimage is a ghost image on your retinas, an impression that light makes on your eyes that remains present even after you close them.

Now, it’s also the title of Concordia’s newly founded undergraduate film magazine.

Afterimages is a celebration of cinephilia and those films that are engrained in our memories, and is welcoming submissions for its second-ever issue.

The magazine was started a year ago by film studies and art history student Nina Patterson alongside fellow film student and friend Jennifer Sin. Launching a brand-new magazine as a duo proved to be a challenging endeavour, admitted Patterson, who is now the editor-in-chief of the publication.

“It was just the two of us, kind of just scraping to get money and get people to submit,” she said.

Patterson explained the significance of the afterimage phenomenon in naming the new magazine as something that just “made sense.”

“An afterimage is the image you see on your eyelid after you close [your eyes] after staring at a picture. In film this is quite relevant, when you’re staring at the screen and close your eyes,” she said.

“It’s about the impact film has on people and how it kind of resonates [with you].”

As for why she felt Concordia needed a film publication, Patterson said she noticed a lack of exposure for work by film studies undergrads, including her own, and that this inspired the magazine’s beginnings.

“We felt there was a gap for film studies students to get their work out there. Film production students’ work is promoted a lot, but we were kind of left behind,” she said.

The first issue was published last May with funding by FASA, and was printed by Rubiks. Over 20 pages long, it featured a diverse mix of film stills, film reel graphics and essays on various cinema subjects.

Among them is Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s 1974 film Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, an exploration of the ups and downs of actor Jeff Goldblum’s career, and an exposé on early representations of minorities in film and how Bruce Lee and the kung fu genre ushered in a new era of film without stereotypes.

But distribution of Afterimages ’ premiere issue proved a bit problematic.

“It’s kind of hard to get it out to Concordia overall,” Patterson said.

“The Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema is very enclosed in its own world, and I wanted the magazine to reach film lovers or [students] in any department.”

The first issue was distributed by hand around fine arts centres on campus, such as the cinema department in the Faubourg Building, the Visual Arts Building on René-Levesque Blvd. and the Moving Image Resource Centre in the Hall Building, which is Concordia’s go-to film library and viewing space. Patterson hopes the second issue will extend its reach across campus into sectors not associated with fine arts.

Pushing Boundaries

With Sin studying abroad this term, Patterson is now the sole leader of the publication. But since the release of the first issue, a dedicated Afterimages team has assembled to take on their second issue, including writers and visual artists.

Patterson said a goal of this second issue is to be much more accessible to those not as well versed in the ins and outs of cinema.

“This year we’re trying to focus on shorter articles that someone who picks it up would want to read, as opposed to a longer essay, although we are going to include a couple strong essays,” she said.

“The difference will be shorter, maybe more exciting articles, such as Top 10 lists. Like something you’d read in a magazine rather than in a scholarly journal.”

As for the visual aspect of the magazine, Patterson said that is evolving and branching out as well, while still remaining connected to film.

“We have two photography students planning photo shoots, […] and we have someone interested in doing comics related to film,” she said.

Patterson hopes this issue will reach a nice equilibrium in its ratio of academic content to pop culture-oriented content.

“Since we’re getting people to write for the magazine as opposed to submitting their essays from class, I’d say the balance [between mainstream and academic films] will be more level,” she said.

“Someone wanted to write about Spring Breakers, and someone’s already written something about A Clockwork Orange, so its like classic and really important films but also contemporary films that kind of push boundaries,” she continued.

“That’s actually what we’re looking for this term: films that push boundaries.”

Some of Patterson’s own favourite films include Wes Anderson’s quirky flicks, and the critically acclaimed French film The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, which tells the true story of Elle magazine editor Jean-Dominique Bauby, who could only communicate by blinking after suffering a stroke that left him almost completely paralyzed.

Pushing boundaries is just a loose theme for the second issue, a way to generate inspiration rather than hinder any submissions, Patterson said.

She has high hopes that Afterimages will remain in Concordia’s collective consciousness for years to come, like a good film often does in the minds of its cinema students.

Afterimages is now accepting essays, illustrations, poetry, photography and comics with a cinematic focus. To submit, email by Friday, Nov. 1.