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Artists cash in with In Your Pocket

Fourth edition of smartphone-video program demands less from artists upfront, pays more

The fourth edition of In Your Pocket invites artists to submit proposals for videos based on their interpretations of the theme After Midnight. Tera Mallette was one of the pre-selected artists for a previous version of IYP.

Credit: Tera Mallette

The RT Collective will approve video submissions for its upcoming event, In Your Pocket: After Midnight, based only on proposals. Artists whose proposals are approved will not only be paid to create their proposed work but will see it screened at the 2015 Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival.

In Your Pocket (IYP) is a screening of select short videos shot entirely on smartphones and similar devices. The screening is part of Inside Out and takes place at an off-site venue.

Previously, the RT Collective, which consists of Marcin Wisniewski and Chris Dupuis, asked people to submit completed original works, which would then be either approved or rejected for the screening. This format was problematic: it meant artists went to the trouble of creating new works on IYP’s quite specific themes with no guarantee those works would ever be screened.

“Theoretically, they could go and screen those works elsewhere, but that might not happen,” Dupuis says. “We felt like this hindered people rather than inspired them.”

To remedy this, the fourth edition of IYP is asking not for completed works for consideration, but for proposals only. If a proposal is approved, the artist can then go ahead and create work with the guarantee that it will be screened at IYP.

More than that — and a rarity in the arts world — they’ll be paid. Those whose proposals have been approved will receive $200 upon submission of their work (a higher fee than RT Collective paid in previous years).

These videos will be screened alongside works by pre-selected artists. This year’s pre-selectees are Jess Dobkin, Daniel McIntyre, Mikiki and Natalie Wood. “It helps in terms of getting people to submit if they know that some [better-known artists] are also screening,” Dupuis says.

The theme for 2015 is After Midnight. “In popular culture, the time just after midnight is one of exciting change and events: bells chime, men turn into beasts, witches celebrate the moon and the princess turns back into Cinderella,” says Wisniewski, who came up with the theme. He adds that each proposed work should address this theme from a queer perspective. “For queer people, that time after midnight has been a time of making connections . . . it is a time when many queer people openly occupy streets, spilling out of bars and clubs and taking them over with self-expression.”