Line-Up: Andrew Duke, Granny’Ark, Jesse Fisk, Jimmy Edgar/Morris Nightingale, Konrad Black, Loscil, Mathew Jonson, Quadra, Tomas Jirku
Venues: Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre, Open Studios, Scotiabank Dance Centre
In early 2003, Malcolm Levy was invited to the international media art festival Transmediale. There, he got to see the reality of what NFF was trying to create playing out, with club nights, exhibitions, and conferences all happening cohesively. With this experience, Levy felt the solidification of NFF’s vision.
NFF03 expanded the scope of its interdisciplinary mode, unifying its conference, cinema, dance, and installation aspects. Camille Baker stepped up her role as the curatorial and conference director, co-curating the festival’s performance art. Baker helped coordinate dozens of video and installation artists, including internationally renowned artist David Rokeby and robotic installation artist Reva Stone, as well as 18 conference presentations and panels. NomIg curated and performed at a new cinema event, bringing audio-visual pioneer Jean Piché out from Montreal for the occasion.
NFF03 marked the first event ever to happen at Open Forum Media Arts Society (now Open Studios). As soon as the lease was taken over, set-up began for a late night music performance the next day. Notable appearances include Mathew Jonson, before he co-founded the iconic Wagon Repair label, and Jimmy Edgar, before he signed to Warp Records.
NFF03 saw the festival expand wildly beyond its means, but in doing so learned a great deal about the operational responsibility required to execute a large-scale festival. Canada Council for the Arts took notice of the festival this year. By next year, NFF received annual funding.