Pretend not to See Me


2009 52 minutes & 47.5 minutes – HDCam / DVD-Colour-Stereo

    Director and Producer: Katherine Knight
    Cinematographer: Marcia Connolly
    Producer: David Craig
    Composer: Sam Shalabi
    Editor: Anthony Seck

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Life and art intersect on a spectacular Newfoundland farm where visual artist Colette Urban mounts thirteen art performances in the fields and barns of her property. Resilient, determined, self aware and funny, Colette embraces the transformative power of art as she restages the significant art performances of her thirty-year career. With the camera as her audience she transforms the quotidian into a playful world of the imagination with elaborate costumes and idiosyncratic self invented rituals. The film features the astonishing juxtaposition of Urban’s enigmatic art performances set against the rugged beauty of the Newfoundland landscape. She emerges as an empathetic, courageous and visionary character that has achieved artistic excellence through a focused and solitary journey. Urban takes her art out of the gallery and rediscovers it in the natural environment. The film documents the passion of an artist carving out her own distinctive place in the world. Pretend Not To See Me transports audiences to that place.


Yorkton Short Film and Video Festival, 2009
St John’s International Women’s Film Festival, 2009
Reel Artist Film Festival, Toronto, 2009
Reel Artist Film Festival, Calgary, 2010
Ecofilms, Rhodos International Films and Visual Art Fesitval, 2010


Director: Katherine Knight

Producer: David Craig, Katherine Knight

Performer: Colette Urban

Cinematographer: Marcia Connolly

Additional Camera: Katherine Knight, Almerinda Travassos

Editor: Anthony Seck

Original Music: Sam Shalabi

Musicians: Xarah Dion, Sam Shalabi, Jason Sharp, Molly Sweeny, Josh Zubot

Recorded by: Moumneh at HOTEL 2 TANGO

Graphic Designer: Barr Gilmore

Sound Edit: Alan Geldart


Art, written and performed by Tanya Davis in 2006

Upside Down Story (traditional) performed and recorded by Stephanie Stella Payne and Daniel Obediah Payne in 2008. Original version recorded 1950, Port au Port, Newfoundland. MUNFLA 78-054

Ten Commandments (traditional) performed and recorded by Stephanie Stephanie Stella Payne and

Daniel Obediah Payne in 2008 Hard, Hard Times (traditional) performed and recorded by Stephanie Stella Payne and Daniel Obediah Payne in 2008

Ode to Newfoundland, written by Sir Cavendish Boyle, composed by Hubert Parry in 1902, performed and recorded by Stephanie Stella Payne and Daniel Obediah Payne in 2008Blue Sunshine, written and performed by Shalabi Effect in 2004

Kinder Surprise, written and performed by Shalabi Effect in 2004

Orchestrina Songs, written and performed by John Gzowski in 2004

Tropical Thunder, written and performed by John Gzowski in 2004


Trash Stash Store, archival super 8 by Pamela Johnston and Colette Urban

Orchestrina archival video by David Craig

Recalling Belvedere, archival video by Sonya Schönberger


Performance photographs by Elisabeth Feryn

Newfoundland Resettlement Photographs (PF-317.483, PF.317-482, PF-317.037) courtesy of the Maritime

History Archives at Memorial University, St. John’s and the United Church Archives, Newfoundland and Labrador Conference Joey Smallwood’s Ceremonial Scissors courtesy of Dave LeDrew at The Newfoundland Emporium, Corner Brook, Newfoundland.

Funding credits:

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Canada and York University. Created with the assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts.

Filmed on location at Full Tilt Creative Centre, McIvers, Newfoundland; at the Sir Wilfred Grenfell College

Art Gallery and in the communities of Meadows, McIvers, Twillingate, Newfoundland. All performances © Colette Urban: Hey! (2008); Bare (2008); Mega Moose (2008); Spellbound (2006); Sphincter Moment (2002); Recalling Belvedere (2004); Big Guy (1999); Pretend Not To See Me (1996); Augur (1996); Two Heads Are Better Than One (1996); Round Peg in a Square Hole (1995); Consumer Cyclone (1993); Orchestrina (1989); A Song to Sing, A Tale to Tell, A Point to Make (1989); I Feel Faint (1985); and Blindspot (1987).