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Directed by Ross Sutherland

In his film, STAND BY FOR TAPE BACK-UP, Ross Sutherland asks philosophical questions about coincidence, meaning, life, and death. He questions how the images we see on television and in the cinema impact our lives and how our memories of them change over time.

Sutherland opens the film discussing “The Dark Side of Oz”, an experiment in which people play Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon alongside the classic film THE WIZARD OF OZ. The lyrics and sounds of Pink Floyd’s album seem to line up with Dorothy’s story in a strangely coincidental way; it is almost too perfect. Sutherland uses this as a segue to his own life and a VHS tape owned by his grandfather. He remarks that his grandfather owned only a single blank VHS tape, and used that same tape to record hours of overlapping TV footage throughout his life. Now that his grandfather has passed away, Sutherland plays the tape, reflecting on its footage and how the footage relates to his life. Sutherland pauses, fast-forwards, and rewinds the tape continuously. The result is strange, frustrating, funny, and profound. Sutherland pauses, fast-forwards, and rewinds the tape continuously.


If the film does not mesmerize viewers, at least they will look at the opening of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air differently after seeing it almost ten times. Sutherland also looks at GHOSTBUSTERS, Michael Jackson’s Thriller music video, and the game show, The Crystal Maze. At times, the film is absolutely mind blowing, at other times it is extremely sad. Regardless, Sutherland has created a wholly original experiment that provides an unmatched experience, one that likely won’t be taped over any time soon.

4.5 sheep

STAND BY FOR TAPE BACK-UP will have its World Premiere at the HotDocs Canadian International Documentary Festival, as part of the International Spectrum program. It will be preceded by the short film, COPYCAT, directed by Charlie Lyne.

Screening Schedule …

Firday, April 24, 6:15, TIFF Bell Lightbox

Saturday, April 25, 1:00 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox

Sunday, May 3, 6:45 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox

For more information and for tickets, please visit

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