A city is transformed when the lights go out on its residents for several days.
Writer/director/producer: Sharron Mirsky
At the time of the northeast blackout of 2003, I was living in Toronto but was away on a short trip and missed the whole thing. I remember hearing about it, and the initial fear that it was some sort of terrorist attack.
After all, those were strange times of heightened paranoia: less than two years after 9/11, and a few months into the war in Iraq. Everything sounded like sabotage.
When I got back to Toronto and heard my friends’ stories it sounded like once everyone figured out that there was nothing sinister going on, the objective was to take care of each other and to have fun. Eat all the ice cream! Cook all the meat! Everything would melt or spoil in the sweltering heat and so the race was on to use it all up, share, give it away to strangers and invite friends for impromptu barbecue parties.
The descriptions of the darkness in the city, the stars, the surreality of it all. I knew I had missed something really special and would probably never get the chance to see that side of Toronto ever [again].
Of course I know it was’t fun for everyone. People stuck in hot, upper floor apartments with no air conditioning or elevators, rotten food, etc. I know for some it was scary and unpleasant but those stories of kindness, beauty and spontaneous good times always stayed with me.
I wanted to capture the spirit of it and animation seemed like a great way to do it.
Blackout was my graduation film for the animation program at Concordia University in Montreal. It was only after I was already in production that I realized it was coming on the 10 year anniversary of the event.
About Sharron Mirsky
Sharron Mirsky is a 2013 graduate of the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema at Concordia University in Montreal. Her graduation film Blackout has screened at over 30 festivals worldwide.