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Strange and Familiar: Architecture on Fogo Island

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Grade Level: SrH-Adult
Producer: Site Media
Closed Captioned: Yes
Running Time: 54 mins
Country of Origin: Canada
Study Guide: No

Copyright Date: 2014
Available in French: No

Architect Todd Saunders' sculpture-like artist studios perched on the rocky shores of Fogo Island created a buzz among worldwide architecture fans when the first images were released. Since then, the four artists studios and the new Fogo Island Inn have been documented in more than 80 international magazines and blogs ranging from the New York Times Magazine, to fashion arbiter Wallpaper to architectural magazines such as Domus.
The striking buildings are located in an equally dramatic natural setting that is the rugged sub-arctic landscape of Fogo Island, a small, remote rocky outcrop off the coast of Newfoundland.
The success of Todd Saunders’ designs re-brands Fogo Island as a geo-tourism destination. This fulfills one of the goals of Zita Cobb, the Fogo Island-born social entrepreneur. With her ‘artscentric’ approach she has spearheaded the architectural commission and an international artists residency while enlisting the local support that has helped get these projects off the ground. The community’s two thousand residents effectively host the project and, ultimately, have the most at stake. With the traditional cod industry gone, Fogo Island society must find new ways to generate its economy or gradually wither away.
For Zita Cobb the project has to “take the lived experience, take the land, take who we are, and do our very best to express it in a contemporary way.” For Saunders the commission was “a yes project from the beginning because there was no way anybody knew more about this place than I did as an architect”. His buildings pay homage to his heritage while imbuing each structure with the spirit of the ‘new’ and achieving a winning balance between the strange and familiar. 

Best Canadian Film - Festival International du Films Sur L'Art (FIFA) Montreal 2015
Best Atlantic Documentary - Atlantic Film Festival Halifax 2015
Best Atlantic Cinematography - Marcia Connolly for Strange and Familiar - Atlantic Film Festival 2015

Official Selection:
Providence Architecture Film Fest.
Arquiteturas Film Fest.
New York Architecture and Design Film Fest.
AFFR - Architectuur Film Fest.

Screened at:
Planet in Focus
Canadian Cultural Centre
Northwest Film Forum, Seattle, Washington
Architecture Association of New Brunswick
Festival International du Film Sur L’Art – Montreal (FIFA)
Winnipeg Architecture & Design Film
Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, in conjunction with the Toronto Offsite Design Festival
St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival
Musee Nationale des beaux arts du Quebec, Quebec City
Fogo Island Inn, Fogo Island, Newfoundland
Atlantic Film Festival
St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival
Guelph Film Festival
Carbon Arc Cinema, Halifax, Nova Scotia
Burlington City Arts (Burlington, VT)
Bergen International Film
Milano Design Film Festival
Providence (Rhode Island) Architecture Film Festival
Tallinn Wood Architecture Conference
Transitions Film Festival
Hungarian Contemporary Architecture Centre
Copenhagen Architecture Film Festival
New Zealand’s Resene Architecture & Design Film Festival

Links: www.fogoislandinn.ca/ 

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