A short documentary film contrasting the Northern Lights with decaying manmade debris surrounding the Arctic Canadian town of Churchill, Manitoba. The film touches on the regenerative power of nature and the futility of mankind’s struggle against the processes of decay. The film features an original score by Jim O'Rourke, a voice-over by Will Oldham and likely some of the best footage of the aurora borealis ever captured.
Magnetic Reconnection received its world premiere at AFI Fest 2012, and has since been selected for SxSW 2013, Raindance UK, Ann Arbor Film Festival, CPH:DOX, Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM), the Guanajuato International Film Festival, Rooftop Films, Seattle International Film Festival, Maryland Film Festival, True/False Documentary Film Festival, Black Maria Film Festival, Imagine Science Film Festival among others, and will screen more than 100 times in 2013. It won the 2013 Edmonton Film Prize, best short film at the Canadian Music Week Film Festival, best experimental film at FAVA Fest, took home Second Place at the Big Sur International Short Film series (jury members included Phillip Glass, Laurie Anderson, Kristin Dunst and Vilmos Zsigmond) received a Jury Citation Award for the Black Maria Film Festival, best Experimental Film at Rural Routes Film Festival and has been shortlisted for the 2014 Cinema Eye Honours in the category of Documentary Short Film.
In March of 2012 Canadian filmmaker Kyle Armstrong travelled to Churchill Manitoba to capture images of the northern lights. Using a one of a kind purpose built digital IMAX resolution camera Armstrong captured astonishingly detailed images of the aurora on nine of ten possible nights. The camera utilizes two precisely calibrated fast wide angle prime lenses allowing for a field of view of nearly 90° at a 4:3 aspect ratio captured at over 6K resolution, and a very large and highly sensitive digital sensor capable of ultrahigh ISO settings allowing for frame rates previously impossible.
During the day, Armstrong and co-cinematographer and auroral scientist Dr Trond Trondsen explored the landscape surrounding the town of Churchill. They went to great lengths in arctic conditions to shoot super8, 16mm and DSLR time-lapse footage of Miss Piggy, a C46 aircraft which crashed just short of the airport in 1979, the Ithaca IV, a Greek steamship trapped on the shores of Hudson Bay since the 1950s, and Fort Churchill, the American-operated rocket range active during the 1960s.
Magnetic Reconnection features an original score by the Grammy Award winning experimental composer/ artist/producer Jim O’Rourke (Sonic Youth, Gastr Del Sol, Wilco, Werner Herzog’s Grizzly Man) and with a voice-over provided by singer/songwriter/actor Will Oldham (Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Old Joy, Matewan). The film was produced with the assistance of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, the Edmonton Arts Council and MacEwan University.