19:30 | 35mm (1.85) | Stereo Sound | 2013

The Broken Altar is a portrait of open-air theaters documented under the strange light of day, emptied of the once present hum of human voices, radioed-in soundtracks and tires on gravel. Scripting the landscape and exploring the residue of a cinematic history, The Broken Altar forms a sculptural treatment of the architectural artifacts of these abandoned and barren spaces: speaker boxes rise from tall grass like grave markers and the screens themselves are monumental, sepulchral in their peeling whiteness.

“A stunning meditation about drive-in movie theatres and the lands that time forgot.” – Tami Wilson, DOXA Documentary Film Festival

“Filmmaker Mike Rollo mourns the death of drive-ins—and perhaps cinema itself—with his haunting survey of abandoned open-air venues (…) Its mixture of nonfiction footage and sci-fi atmosphere suggests the work of CUFF alum Ben Rivers.” – A.A. Dowd, TimeOut

“Rollo enacts by way of his moving camera, injecting trajectories of shifting perspective onto elements that are invariably still, save for the rustle of grass in the wind or a swing set drifting as though occupied by ghosts of moviegoers past (…) The film is remarkable, an important pause for reflection upon the nature of cinema itself in our age of mobile media.” -Randolph Jordan, Offscreen Magazine

“There is a demographic story being told here of urbanizations, outmigration, and rural depopulation. The emptiness and absence of these spaces stand in for wholesale changes in Canadian life. Once the terrain of cinema and community, these fields and the small towns they serviced are now full of ghosts, the spectres of Saturday nights long past.” – Andrew Burke, Hinterland Remixed: Media, Memory and the Canadian 1970s


Chicago Underground Film Festival, USA (Premiere)

Iowa City International Documentary Film Festival, USA

Yorkton Film Festival, CANADA (Nominee: Best Experimental Film)

Haverhill Experimental Film Festival, USA

Vidreres International Documentary Short Film Festival, SPAIN (Special Jury Citation)

WNDX Festival of Moving Image, CANADA

Arquiteturas Film Festival Lisboa, PORTUGAL

Vermont International Film Festival, USA (Program curated by Carole Zucker)

42 édition Festival du nouveau cinéma, CANADA

Antimatter [Media Art], Victoria, CANADA

FLEX Florida Experimental Film Festival, USA (Program curated by Daïchi Saïto)

It’s All True: International Documentary Film Festival, BRAZIL

The Dawson City International Short Film Festival, CANADA

DOXA Documentary Film Festival, CANADA

Third Space Gallery, Saint John (NB), CANADA

16e Festival des cinemas differents et expérimentaux de paris, FRANCE

Antimatter Touring Programme, San Andrés [Cholula] and Oaxaca, MEXICO

Cineworks, Vancouver, CANADA

Columbus International Film and Video Festival, USA

Deluge Contemporary Art, Victoria, CANADA

Sunspot Cinema, Orlando (FL), USA

Triangle Program: Go Short: International Short Film Festival Nijmegen, NETHERLANDS, VIS: Vienna Independent Shorts, and the Festival du nouveau cinéma (Curated by Dan Karo from Festival du nouveau cinéma)

Unexposed Microcinema, Durham (NC), USA

Panorama XP, Cinématheque québécoise, Montréal, CANADA

Various Positions: Works from Double NegativeLos Angeles Filmforum, Spielberg Theatre (The Egyptian), Hollywood CA, USA

Denison University Experimental Film Symposium ~ New Alchemists ~ Featuring the work of Terra Long, Mike Rollo and Rhayne Vermette, Granville OH, USA

The Films of Mike Rollo: Under (The Weight Of) Prairie Skies, VISIONS, Cinématheque québécoise, Montréal, CANADA

The Films of Mike Rollo: Under (The Weight Of) Prairie Skies, presented by Monograph, Contemporary Calgary, AB, Canada

With the financial participation of

The Canada Council for the Arts and le Conseil des arts et lettres du Québec

Online Preview

The online preview is password protected. If you would like to view an online preview version of The Broken Altar please contact Mike Rollo at mahrollo@gmail.com


The Winnipeg Film Group


%d bloggers like this: