The show ain’t over for (((Parentheses))) Gallery and Art Projects. Word on Gottingen Street was that the gallery was closing, especially after Big Pony’s announcement they would be moving into the space, but co-owner Dave Hayden says they are just shaking things up and breaking from the traditional gallery mold.
“It was never supposed to be a brick and mortar, door, room space—the whole idea was to be part of the community,” says Hayden. He and co-owner Kevin Lewis opened the gallery three years ago to engage with the community and showcase artists from near and far.
“We’re closing but not closing,” says Hayden, describing the multitude of projects he and Lewis have underway. In the upcoming months the wayfaring curators have lots more to showcase—they are collaborating with a local business to present mural in a currently undisclosed location and for the past six months, they’ve been curating shows at FRED. (2606 Agricola Street). They will be presenting a photography exhibition there with Lucy DeCoutere in late May.
The final exhibition at the Gottingen street space, Lost and Looking: New Paintings from Jon Claytor, clues up on Saturday, April 25.
It’s enough to get the cameras rolling again, but for how long?
The provincial government and Screen Nova Scotia have reached a consensus, revealing a new system of incentives for the province’s filmmakers.
The Liberal government has faced harsh criticism since slashing the tax credit two weeks ago, but meetings this week with Screen NS figures seem to have produced some results.
Nova Scotia will now have an all-spend model incentive that Screen Nova Scotia says will keep the film industry competitive and, most importantly, in business.
“It’s different in a lot of ways, but the key difference is it’s not a labour-based tax credit,” says Screen NS’ Scott Simpson. “It’s an incentive fund based on the amount of money that’s spent in Nova Scotia on Nova Scotians.”
Simpson and Marc Almon have been behind closed doors all this week with finance minister Diana Whalen working out some of these details. The two industry figures say they remain concerned about some elements and do not agree entirely with the way events have unfolded, but believe the new system will be beneficial to filmmakers in the province.
“Frankly, if there had been more engagement ahead of time we wouldn’t have been in this situation,” says Almon.
But a lot of questions still remain. The film industry is better off than it was on April 9, but the devil will be in the details.
“I would say actually there is a reduction in funding, in some ways,” Almon says about the new deal. “However, the key thing is that we do feel we’re able to remain competitive. The most important thing has been understanding this is a critical industry to the 21 century.”
Screen Nova Scotia will be holding a session tomorrow for media and businesses impacted by the film tax credit initiative.
Keep a watch on The Coast for more details about how this system will impact Nova Scotia’s film industry.
Sitting with Megin Peake and Daniel Crowther in the slightly unkempt student lounge (what student lounge isn’t?) of the NSCAD Academy Building, it’s clear they’re super stoked about something. Surprisingly enough, it’s because of a goddamned Monday. Specifically, this Monday (April 20).
Peake and Crowther are two of six NSCAD students showing their thesis films at Park Lane Monday evening. And you should go. First, because it gives you something to do on a Monday, and second, because these films sound awesome. Having been working on these films since September, it’s not only been a hell of a school year, it’s been a personal journey.
“I didn’t really know I was afraid of the ocean, because I wouldn’t have said I technically am,” Peake says. “I swim in it, I do like to surf, but I do know there’s always something holding me back.” Peake’s film, Rowan, is about a girl (named Rowan) who is afraid of the ocean, and Peake draws from her own insecurities to tell Rowan’s story.
“It’s interesting to be able to admit it now because I wouldn’t have admitted it before because I felt kind of embarrassed by it. I didn’t really understand it and the more I work shopped the idea and talked it out I knew deep down I was afraid. I didn’t really want to admit to others around me. There’s no specific reason, just becoming vulnerable I guess.” (No spoilers here, I won’t tell you how Rowan deals with that fear, go to the screening!)
Peake’s film is also very specifically Nova Scotian; “I love landscapes and the Nova Scotia landscape is very unique to where we live in Canada. So I wanted to kind of focus on that and bring that out in my artwork; wanting to focus on cinematography as well as the landscape.”
Crowther’s film, 37:7, is a film of a different nature. To put it very generally; “a lot about the trauma of living in the modern civilised world.” Say what? “I think the only way to really know what this film is about is to watch it,” Crowther says, laughing. “Words can only say so much, that’s part of the reason I made it, I feel it’s an expression of something that I couldn’t put into words. That’s what I love about film. It’s a way to express things that I can’t necessarily talk about.”
Both films were a journey, both creatively and emotionally, and like every journey, there were roadblocks. Generally small, from forgetting gear and having to pick up their professor on a Saturday morning for keys, to learning to work with other people, to a low budget. Budget, you say? As in, the NS Film Tax Credit cut? Why yes, that.
“It’s fucking awful,” says Crowther. “It butchers the industry.”
To complete their films this year, fourth year students are required to create a pitch. If that pitch goes successful, then five films get a $2400 budget from Film and Creative Industries Nova Scotia. Oh right, that doesn’t exist anymore.
Without that budget, “this year wouldn’t have been able [to happen],” says Peake. “Some of us are leaving, some of us are staying, but knowing that it’s not even perhaps an option is sad.”
That being said, both Crowther and Peake have tentative future plans that mostly include “life out of a dark cave.”
So, this Monday gather up your friends and head to Park Lane Theatre. Doors open at 5:30pm, $10 dollars for humans, $5 for students.
The complete roster:
37:7 – Daniel Crowther
Gurney For Two – Haley Durkee
Rowan – Megin Peake
A Country Surrounds Us – Geoffrey Vincent
Dérive – Isabella Weetaluktuk
Salt Stains – Keith Whyte
If there’s one thing the film industry knows how to do, it’s put on a good show. Yesterday, thousands of supporters surrounded Province House, while film industry types, from local celebs to costume designers took the stage to talk about the shrunken tax credit. In a matter of days, Screen Nova Scotia put together a pretty fancy-looking event, with a stage on Granville Street flanked by two giant screens, a live stream, and even porta potties. Between media coverage, smart phones and independent filmmakers capturing every second of the rally, the production value of the event was definitely worth a shitload of money.
The rally, which officially began at noon, was well underway by 11:30am with drums beating and supporters marching the square block around the legislature. Jonathan Torrens emceed the event and kept the well-controlled ruckus going all day long.
Mike Smith, Robb Wells and Patrick Roach from the Trailer Park Boys were some of the first to take the stage. They were emphatic about the importance of the tax credit and how the production of the show supports local businesses.
“I can’t even wager how much was spent at the bars,” said Smith.
Zealous signage and pops of bright yellow brightened up the already sunny day with ACTRA flags, crew shirts, balloons and babies with yellow headbands. Bubbles were floating through the air, and the smell of fresh popcorn wafted over Granville Street as thousands, young and old and costumed, attended the event. As advertised, it was a family friendly affair, with kids being pulled from school to support the industry, and students pressing pause on exam study to come out in droves wielding paper mâché bleeding hearts with quippy jabs at Premier McNeil.
Janel Heighton, a 3D modeler at DHX Media, said 90 percent of her office was out in support; most of them walked over together in solidarity. Heighton left Dalhousie after two years of architecture school to pursue a career in film because she believed it to be a more solid industry in the province. She says rallying isn’t about being angry, but sending a message that is “less of a dark and grim one and ‘please come and talk to us’ message.”
She wasn’t alone in the sentiment. Mark Austin, who worked on the Ivany report, took the stage emphasizing the industry’s willingness to work with the government to fix the credit. Austin says even though the credit is still there, “It’s still there the way a balloon is there after it’s popped; it’s lifeless and empty because of one prick.”
The noise was deafening at quitting time for the people inside Province House as supporters crowded the sidewalks of Hollis Street. With trumpets blaring and drums setting the beat for the chants, it was pretty clear the film industry has a lot more fight in them, even after six hours of impassioned demonstration.
As Jay Dahl, Screen Nova Scotia board member said during his moments on stage; “They’re expecting us to move, and guys I’m not going anywhere…We’re not going anywhere.”
The Sobey Art Award, Canada’s pre-eminent contemporary art award since 2002, has announced the curatorial panel's 25 artist-strong longlist. The award is given annually to a visual artist under 40 who has exhibited in a public or commercial art gallery within 18 months of the nomination. There's a total of $100,000 in prize money awarded each year, $50,000 for the winner, $10,000 for each of the shortlisted finalists and $500 for every remaining longlisted artist. An Atlantic artist has never won the award.
Tiziana La Melia
Prairies and the North
Jason de Haan
Sarah Anne Johnson
Sophie Bélair Clément
Yannick Desranleau & Chloe Lum (Seripop)
Jacqueline Huang Nguyen
Artist bios and info on the curatorial panel can be viewed here.
The 2015 shortlist of the Sobey Art Award will be announced June 3. Work by the shortlisted artists will be exhibited at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, beginning September 26, with the winner being announced at a gala event in October.
It seems Diana Whalen finally figured out what everyone else already knew—the budget sucks. Whalen and various members of her cabinet met this morning with a delegation of nine Nova Scotia film industry professionals in an effort to quell the shitstorm that has been brewing since the budget was announced. Members of the film industry group spoke with the media after a two-hour meeting at the finance department offices, and they were cautiously optimistic.
"The progress made is that they've agreed the proposed budget is not workable...We recognize there will be some change, but we still have concerns, especially the implementation date and the numbers," said Marc Almon of Screen Nova Scotia. Almon said the rally scheduled for tomorrow will occur as planned and the delegation will meet again with Whalen later on in the week.
Scott Simpson of Playmaker Films said it was difficult to say if the McNeil government will change, but they seem willing to meet at some middle ground. The delegation submitted a counter-proposal to the government but was unable to discuss it, saying only that it's leading to discussion. So, all is not lost? *Knocks on wood a thousand bajillion times*
It’s lights, camera, reaction for film industry folk in Nova Scotia. Filmmakers across the province are stepping into the spotlight to speak out against the drastic changes to the Film Industry Tax Credit.
The Atlantic Filmmakers Co-op (AFCOOP) put out the casting call to anyone who wanted to talk about their connection to the Nova Scotia independent film industry yesterday at their Cornwallis Street offices.
Nelson MacDonald, AFCOOP’s festival coordinator, says a steady stream of supporters including film students, co-op members and others who benefit from the industry have been filmed giving testimonials about the importance of filmmaking in this province. “We were really upset at first, now it’s time to do what we do best: make films,” says MacDonald about the industry’s reaction to the cuts. He believes the reduction of the tax credit as well as the elimination of Film & Creative Industries Nova Scotia is “an attack on creativity in Nova Scotia.”
Many filmmakers have their cameras rolling including Megan Wennberg, independent filmmaker and AFCOOP alum. Yesterday at Neptune Theatre, Wennberg filmed countless people in the film industry taking a bow on the stage in solidarity at her "Take A Bow" shoot.
Macdonald says they will be editing through the night to have it ready for public viewing tomorrow. The films will be screened all over social media and he has high hopes for their impact.
“This is far from over as far as we’re concerned.”
In a blog post published today on mayormikesavage.blogspot.com, the mayor spoke in a diplomatic way about the Liberal budget. In the nicest way possible, he said that the plan to cut to the film industry tax credit in particular need adjustment. Read the post below.
The provincial budget of 2015 was projected to be tough, and it was. People lost jobs, departmental spending is set to be well below inflation, and an entire department was eliminated. These are tough measures, and I think it is a time for tough measures. The government did, however, also make some important new investments that show they are sensitive to the needs of people who are facing significant challenges. All governments at all levels are facing financial and productivity challenges, and failing to respond to those realities – as painful as they might be - can hurt more people in the long term.
And then there is the restructuring of the Film Tax Credit (FTC). The changes that have been made are quite dramatic and will have a disproportionate impact on film production in the Halifax region. Since the introduction of the FTC in the 1990's the industry has grown significantly, and benefits our Province in a number of ways. It leads to jobs in the industry, and has deeper impacts in supporting other industries and entrepreneurs across the community. I have been on sets locally and seen how many local companies benefit from the film and animation projects.
The financial impact of restructuring the FTC depends on who you ask, but people in the industry and other observers are more than worried about the net result. So am I.
I am reticent to challenge the decisions of other governments as they grapple with tough action. I know from my own political experience, and particularly that of my father who governed in challenging times, that there isn't an easy route out of deficit and debt. And I know that most people are inclined to urge restraint and serious action to reduce government spending, until it has an impact on them or their projects. I also know that Premier McNeil and Minister Whalen are good people who are focussed on doing the right things, even when they are not popular, and they are on the right track. But I think this plan needs to be adjusted.
I am pleased that Minister Whalen is meeting with representatives of the film industry, and I urge reconsideration of the dramatic changes to the film tax credit.
Sadly, it turns out that comments made by finance minister Diana Whalen last week denouncing the Nova Scotia film tax credit weren't just woefully off script, the Liberal government did indeed decide to cut the Nova Scotia film industry tax credit from 100 percent refundable to 25 percent, beginning July 1, as announced in today's 2015/16 budget reveal. Despite Whalen happily accepting a petition with over 25,000 signatures just yesterday, the cut went ahead as planned and people are none too pleased.
Now the tax credit will depend on how much film production companies pay out in taxes, meaning some companies can retain the 100 percent tax credit if they pay enough in provincial taxes.
Despite extensive warnings from industry professionals that a change in the tax credit will result in a mass exodus from the province, taking with it millions in revenue for local workers, restaurants, equipment, car rentals, hotels and effectively gut the industry, the Liberal government seems to be playing chicken, choosing instead a $18 million reduction in payouts next year, dropping the expected amount of payouts to be $6 million. In addition, Film and Creative Industries Nova Scotia has also been axed and will be absorbed by Nova Scotia Business Inc. No one is learning the important lesson that refusing to invest in creative culture is a huge mistake. The Liberal budget sounds short-sighted, but don't take thousands of industry professionals' word for it, why not ask Saskatchewan how their tax credit cut went?
Here's the budget if you want to have a read, you'd better believe there are some gems in here.
Upcoming AGNS exhibitions have a very local focus, with nearly 100 percent Nova Scotian content. See the list below and start planning your gallery visits:
Spring in Cambridge: the Visionary Drawings of John Devlin (more on Devlin here)
Terroir: a Nova Scotia Retrospective
Arm’s Length: the Northwest Arm and the Artist
Greeting Cards and Other Ephemera from the artist
The Path We Share: Charles Doucette, Fran Francis, Courtney Leonard, and Alan Syliboy
The Sobey Art Award shortlist exhibition
The 52nd season closes with The Addams Family on the Fountain Hall stage April 7 - May 24 and Trudeau Stories performed by Brooke Johnson, plays April 21-May 3. Tickets for both shows are available online at www.neptunetheatre.com, in person at the box office, by phone at 902-429-7070 or toll free 1-800-565-7345.
The complete 53rd season:
FOUNTAIN HALL SERIES
September 15 - October 4 Great Expectations
October 20 - November 8 Boom
November 24 - January 3 A Year with Frog and Toad (Holiday Musical)
January 19 - February 7 Stag and Doe
February 15 – March 6 2 Pianos, 4 Hands
March 29 - May 29 Shrek: The Musical
SCOTIABANK STUDIO SERIES
October 13 - 25 Lungs
February 9 - February 21 Marion Bridge
April 19 - May 1 The Drowning Girls
Subscription packages are on sale now.
If art reflects life, then the 2015 Theatre Nova Scotia Merritt Awards show was a perfect reflection of the mood right now in snow-bound Halifax.
There was recognition that making a life in theatre can feel a lot like trying to forge a path through a world of six-foot snow banks. There was a sense that theatre artists, like all Haligonians, are stronger when they work together against adversity. There was bitching. There were jokes. But mostly, there was a celebration of some of Nova Scotia’s best theatre.
Hosts Joanne Miller and Karen Bassett—“Halifax’s Tina Fey and Amy Poehler”—provided some incisive social commentary on everything from the dearth of good roles for middle-aged women to the lack of racial diversity on the Nova Scotia scene (suggested hashtag: #MerrittsSoWhite).
The big winner of the night was Neptune Theatre which scooped up several awards for its vibrant, crowd-pleasing Mary Poppins and its A-1 Billy Bishop Goes to War. Kazan Co-op’s production of His Greatness was recognized with two awards, and the Mayor’s Award for Achievement in Theatre went to Kazan’s co-founder Kathryn MacLellan.
“Artists in Nova Scotia are one of the most valuable resources we have,” said MacLellan in her passionate acceptance speech. “If we thrive culturally, we thrive economically.”
CLICK HERE for a full list of the winners.
Though EGALE Canada Human Rights Trust Out In Print Literary Award Winning poet (and Coast contributor!) Shannon Webb-Campbell’s Still No Word (Breakwater Books) book launch was rescheduled, you can catch a glimpse of some of the lines within with this video. Made by Krista Davis, Webb-Campbell's words are linked up with the music of Kim Harris. Expect more of the same Thursday, April 16 at the Company House for the new book launch, featuring Harris, who has turned some of Webb-Campbell's poems into songs.
The Theatre Nova Scotia annual Merritt Awards have announced the talented nominees who will fight it out for top spot at the Robert Merritt Awards gala on Monday, March 23, 7pm at Casino Nova Scotia’s Schooner Room.
Hosted by Joanne Miller and Karen Bassett and produced by Jeremy Webb, the gala will honour the province's theatre community with awards in 14 categories, from a selection of 50 theatre productions that took place in 2014. Tickets are open to the public. Call Theatre Nova Scotia 902-425-3876 or via www.theatrens.ca Price: $25 each or $200 for a table of ten
CLICK HERE for a full list of nominees. (PDF) In addition to this list, Theatre Nova Scotia will present the Outstanding Technician/Stage Manager, Volunteer, and Legacy, as well as the Mayor’s Awards for Achievement in Theatre and Emerging Artist.
Notaro was recently on Rolling Stone's list of 50 Funniest People Now, and nominated for a Grammy for LIVE but you don't have to take those dudes' word for it. See video. Laugh coffee out of your nose. Enjoy.
Tickets on sale Monday, March 9 at 1pm for $27.50 + service fee, available through etixnow.com. Local support act to be announced in the coming week. Who's the lucky bugger gonna be?
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