16:00 |  Super 16mm – HD | Colour | Stereo | 2008

An inventory of lost memories and places, the sun-bleached landscape of Saskatchewan serves as a metaphor for displacement, a framing of emptiness and absence. Traveling to forgotten towns and channeled through old family photographs the camera catalogs the haunting remnants of the past, frail monuments and communities laid bare, broken under economic collapse. Under the weight of the prairie skies a visceral, personal encounter is revealed in the solace of open space.

“Featuring gorgeous cinematography, this short plays out like a horror movie without any ghosts, monsters, or even people really…It’s a wistful and absolutely stunning film at the same time.” – Mike Everleth, Underground Film Journal

“This is a song of the prairie laid bare, capturing in a few telling images the fragile communities that once were and the place of humans on the Earth.” – RIDM Festival 2008

“The shots of empty fields and dilapidated farmhouses in Mike Rollo’s much-honored short (one of the only Top Ten items to represent the west) are eerie enough to make the Prairies a prime destination for adventurous goths.” – Jason Anderson, Toronto Eye Weekly

“The cinematography is stunning, haunting, poetic and beautiful. The language of montage and sound shows the evolution of an auteur.” – Dan Cross, filmmaker, and producer, Eye Steel Film

Ghosts and Gravel Roads isan atmospheric portrait of empty landscapes and abandoned locations in southern Saskatchewan.” – Will Sloan, Varsity

“Exploring once-settled but now-abandoned areas of the prairies, Mike Rollo uses his keen eye for composition to infuse himself into the ghost towns and vast isolation of southwestern Saskatchewan. With no sign of human existence in sight, except for shadows, relics, and photographic remains, Rollo reminds us of the fragility of our communities and how easily these places are forgotten. This is a mesmerizing and reflective ode to a lost era.” – Alex Rogalski, Toronto International Film Festival

“The Silver Mikeldi Award went to Ghosts and Gravel Roads from Canadian Mike Rollo. A shadow that moves, landscapes without figures, barren fields, homes abandoned, photographs of the past where people once lived, old and forgotten in fields, and worn by time. This is the Great Plains, reminiscent of Grapes of Wrath and Pare Lorentz, without avoiding the influences of John Steinbeck and John Ford. But here there were no Okies; this is Canada and Ghosts is a quiet and contemplative documentary etching different actions towards the end where the shadow of the author is specified.” – Víctor González Rubio – Blogs and Docs

“Clicks and clacks of a film being wound. Or is it an old front door creaking in the breeze ? Radio waves flowing through the air, bouncing off fields, the big sky, barbed-wire fences. Colliding with the solid wall of an abandoned house. Or did it pass right through ? How far have these voices travelled ? Now. The hand of a young man placing photos of people eternally younger, eternally older than himself. Then. In this short film Ghosts and Gravel Roads, Mike Rollo succeeds in traversing great expanses by finding poetry in the document, making solid the evaporated past and collapsing the solidity of the present. Both lyrical and formal, this work encounters the landscapes of the Canadian prairies as they both preserve and erode the memories and histories that have been set adrift upon them.” – Benjamin R. Taylor, director and programmer, VISIONS and cofounder of La lumière collective


Iowa City International Documentary Film Festival, USA

Festival International du Documentaire Marseille, FRANCE

XXII Parnu International Documentary and Anthropology Film Festival, ESTONIA

10th Belo Horizonte Short Film Festival, “Special Documentary Exhibition”, BRAZIL

EXIS Experimental Film and Video Festival, In Competition, Seoul, KOREA

Antimatter Underground Film and Video Festival, Victoria, CANADA

Docupolis, Barcelona, SPAIN

ATA Experimental Film and Video Festival, San Francisco, USA

Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, USA

Utopia Film Festival, Urban and Rural Landscapes curator: Chris Lynn, Maryland, USA

Rencontres Internationales du Documentaire Montreal, CANADA

Kassel Documentary Film Festival, GERMANY

Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ, Postcards from True North, curator: Pablo de Ocampo, Artistic Director,The Images Festival, Amsterdam, NETHERLANDS

ENSBA, The Films of the Double Negative Collective, Curated by Andre Habib, Paris, FRANCE

International Film Festival Rotterdam, Nominee: Short Tiger Award, NETHERLANDS

Cinematheque Ontario, Canada’s Top Ten Shorts, Toronto, CANADA

Deco Dawson’s Personal Top Ten Shorts, Winnipeg Cinematheque, CANADA

Les Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois, Montreal, CANADA

8th National Exhibition of New Filmmakers, Havana, CUBA

Dawson City International Short Film Festival, CANADA

Monoquini, Les Visiteurs du son, featuring works by Robert Schaller, Mike Rollo, and Guy Sherwin, Bourdeaux, FRANCE

(De) Constructions: Memoire(s), program by the Light Cone Collective, featuring works by Mike Rollo, Maki Satake and Hollis Frampton, Le Bal, Paris, FRANCE

Armenian Centre for Contemporary Experimental Art, ARMENIA

Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina, CANADA


Best Cinematography – Delta International Film and Video Festival, USA

Mikeldi Silver Documentary Award – 50th Edition of the International Festival of Documentary and Short Film of Bilbao, SPAIN

2nd Prize, Festival internacional de curtmetratges documentals de Vidreres, SPAIN

Canada’s Top Ten Shorts (2008) – Toronto International Film Festival Group, CANADA

With the financial participation of

The Canada Council of the Arts and Conseil des arts et des lettres Québec

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