Podgorica Indie Film Festival, Talking Portraits

Talking Portraits video exhibited at Podgorica Independent Film Festival, Montenegro, Nov 5-10, 2008.


The “Talking Portraits” video by Sherry Tompalski (painter) and Graham Thompson (videographer) was exhibited at the Podgorica Independent Film Festival in Podgorica Montenegro. The Nov 5-10, 2008 program was curated by Nena Toth.

The Talking Portrait Video

The Talking Portrait Video provides an overview of the Talking Portrait series  The film features portraits painted from a live model. The audio portion of the film is edited from the comments, questions and reflections made by the model during the sitting. And  as well, time-lapse photography records the development of the portrait.


The Talking Portrait Video provides an inside look at the creation of painted portrait – a psychological interplay of colour and personalty of the process. Where Tompalski’s painting style of brightly coloured patches shows  identity formation as a dialectical process of breaking-up and coming-together of personal and communal experiences. Although the faces are tightly cropped to foreground the individual subject, what is left of the background is filled in, in some paintings with words picked up from the video and in others with multiple photographs of the sitter.  Bright patches of paint, repeated photo-images, words and musical scores vie for attention in Tompalski’s portrait paintings.


Tompalski describes her Talking Portrait series as follows: “To understand ourselves we look at others for clues as to what we are experiencing. The human face conveys a rich complexity of personal history, which I feel in an inexplicable way as an impression or an intuition. Consequently, I value painting from a live model. Most importantly, this allows for a reciprocal mutual influence that is interactive, bi-directional and largely unconscious. Thus the finished painting is a visual coalescence of this process, the process of co-construction.” (Co-construction is the theory that people uniquely contribute and influence the experience that develops between them and others, that is, our experience of ourselves varies greatly depending on the people around us.)

About The Podgorica Independent Film Festival

The film festival took  place in Podgorica, the capital city of Montenegro, at the  Cultural/ Information center “Budo Tomovic”. The festival was organized by Nena Toth,  a graduate from Prague’s renowned FAMU University’s film school, where she earned a Master’s degree in Cinematography. The purpose of the Festival is to entertain film lovers, to raise awareness of filmmaking with artistic value and to promote international collaboration, European coproduction and understanding between cultures.

About Nena Toth the Curator, Teacher & Film Maker

Toth has taught at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts Belgrade (FDU),  the Academy of Film and Television and Art Muses (FAMU) Prague, the University of Southern California (USC) Los Angeles, the University of Toronto, and the Lomonosov Moscow State University. Toth has been the Director of Photography in over one hundred short films and videos, as well as in four feature films. Toth has worked a curator for the XX International Ethnological Festival of Belgrade, the Film Femina of Ottawa, the  Contemporary Canadian Short Film Festival of Podgorica, the International TV Festival Bar  Montenegro, EUROPRESS International Travel Fest of Subotica and Art Link of Belgrade.

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