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Storefront Manitoba's Playlist is a monthly curated list of films, podcasts, and other resources that aim to entertain, inspire, enrich, and advance critical discussion. 


For the month of Halloween, October’s Playlist focuses on FEAR of death, of aliens, and of climate change. It also focuses on responses to fear: a memorial to the victims of a 17th century witch trial, building one’s own coffin as a preparation for death, and embracing the horror genre as a way to confront the horrors of reality.

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2016 | 2 Minutes

This solemn work by Peter Zumthor and Louise Bourgeois honors the victims of 17th-century witch trials in Vardø, above the Arctic Circle in Norway's northeastern reaches. The haunting site is illuminated by the midnight sun and narrated by the calls of seabirds.

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2016 | 1 Minute 

In this very short animation, an apparition reveals itself through celluloid and transmits vestiges of a forgotten provenance. Have the onlookers interpreted its signs correctly or was the message misunderstood? Inspired by found sound of two people’s discovery of a mysterious event in the sky. Produced as part of the 11th edition of the NFB’s Hothouse apprenticeship.

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2020 | 9 Minutes 

Ronald Grimes needed a COVID-19 project and decided to build his own coffin. His daughter, a filmmaker, delved into his story to explore one of the most terrifying fears and mysteries at the heart of life: how can we prepare for death and loss?

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2011 | 9 Minutes 

On November 1, as Americans are finishing their Halloween candy, our neighbors to the south are celebrating Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. Often mistaken for the same holiday, the celebrations are actually quite different. While Halloween is about costumes, haunted houses and trick or treats, Dia de los Muertos is an annual holiday where the living remember and honor their dead. Families across Mexico transform their towns and cemeteries with bright orange marigolds, colorful sugar skulls, and stylish skeleton ladies called Catrinas. At night, by candlelight, they gather to eat, drink and reflect on the lives that have gone before.

Canada’s Creepiest Obscure Ghost Stories

2018 | 31 Minutes 

Is Canada a haunted place? In this bonus Halloween episode Falen and Leah travel to some of Canada's more obscure haunts. From one of Canada's oldest universities to a former asylum in Quebec to a number of haunted theatres across the country. Leah and Falen seek out what hides in these historical haunts.

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How Screwed Are We?

2020 | 11 Minutes 

When you paint­ed your bed­room last month why did you choose that colour? What’s the colour of your favorite sweater? What colour is your front door? What shapes your taste in colours? Episode 18 of Prairie Design Lab meets three peo­ple from the glob­al colour indus­try, with dis­tinct Win­nipeg con­nec­tions, who ana­lyze and shape world­wide colour tastes.

Darth Vader Family Courthouse

2011 | 8 Minutes 

It’s hard to imagine a place where more desperate and depressing drama unfolds on a daily basis than a family courthouse — custody battles, abuse, divorce. And if you were to design a place to reflect and amplify that misery, not mitigate it, it’d probably take the form of the old New York County Family Courthouse in Lower Manhattan. The original shiny black cube, built in 1975, was referred to as the “Darth Vader Building” by court employees (presumably after 1977).

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2003 | 61 Pages

Living in my East Harlem neighborhood amongst abandoned buildings, crack houses, fortified housing projects, and scores of homeless people, I began reflecting not only upon the motivations for defensive urbanism but also on possibilities for diminishing the fear through design and other means. In this essay, I offer a brief history of fear and its relationship to city building in the West along with some new directions in urban design that respond to fear proactively rather than reactively.

THE RISE OF INDIGENOUS HORROR: How a Fiction Genre is Confronting a Monstrous Reality

2019 | 6 Pages

There's comfort in witnessing a world where the horror eventually stops — even if that world is fictional. In a horror book or movie, there's usually some sort of reason for terror to infiltrate and obliterate characters' lives: a character played with a Ouija board, or a family moved into a haunted hotel, or a housing development was built on an Indian burial ground (more on this later). There's usually some internal logic to be followed in this world until the terror is eventually overcome — the kind of logic that isn't offered by the horrors of reality.

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