Thursday, May 12, 2016

Public art coming to the Roy Building construction site

Starfish Properties is up to something mysterious this weekend

Posted By on Thu, May 12, 2016 at 4:09 PM

Jessgo hard at work. - VIA FACEBOOK
  • Jessgo hard at work.
  • Via Facebook

Starfish Properties is plotting something big for the Roy Building construction site this weekend.

Details are scarce, but the property management company has invited Toronto-based performance artist and live painter Jessica Gorlicky (aka Jessgo) to scale the scaffolding and spruce up the Roy Building’s exterior.

Josh Lerner, vice president of Starfish Properties remains tight-lipped about the details, only offering that the weekend’s art project will reflect “Halifax and its tradition and history and the evolution of downtown,” before adding, “there may be a quote up there. I don't want to give too much away.”

Capitalizing on the increased pedestrian presence on Barrington Street for Urban Outfitters’ one-year anniversary celebration, local artists will set to work on Saturday evening to begin painting “some funky stuff on the building” before Gorlicky takes over for her performance on Sunday afternoon.

Lerner hinted at a social media contest that–for some reason or another–involves the mayor, so keep a close eye on the Roy Building’s Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for clues.

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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

May the fourth be with you: watch this local Star Wars fan film

Posted By on Wed, May 4, 2016 at 2:48 PM


In March, we posted this Jedi mind trick (i.e. casting call) for actors to audition for a local Star Wars fan film to be entered in the 2016 Star Wars Fan Film Awards. Today, from a galaxy not that far away, director David Connellan presents his official entry, The Mask of Leia. 

Written by Ian Wilson, and starring Halifax actors Britney Canzi as Princess Leia and Fox Lidstone as a remarkable Han Solo lookalike (check him out in our 2015 Hal-Con photos), the five-minute short is set after the battle of Endor. It's a dramatic piece with an impressive use of digital effect and Jabba the Hut. I've got a good feeling about this. May the fourth be with you!

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Friday, April 22, 2016

Jordan Boneparty is recording things that go bump in the night

The Night Time Podcast explores the mysterious side of Atlantic Canada

Posted By on Fri, Apr 22, 2016 at 12:13 PM

  • Andrew D

Jordan Boneparty had always thought about creating his own podcast, but the idea didn’t move forward until he got involved in a mystery of his own.

While walking home from work on Joseph Howe Drive last year, he noticed some papers on the side of the road. Sitting among them was an old journal:  “It just looked like something that some kid had tossed on the last day of school,” says Boneparty. But when he had a closer look, it turned out to be much older than it appeared. A mention of the death of King George VI as a current event dated the book to 1952. Boneparty researched every fact he could find in the journal to track down the original owner. With the help of Reddit, he located the author in just two days.

Two weeks later, as reported by the CBC, he was able to reunite the journal with 76-year old Eva Smith MacKay. She had not seen the journal in 63 years. Boneparty contacted the Mysterious Topics podcast—a favourite podcast of his—to tell them about the journal mystery. They invited him on as a guest to share his story. At the time, as well, Boneparty had been researching and compiling material about his grandfather’s story of his UFO sighting from the 1970s.

“My initial thought was interviewing my grandad, and trying to make a short documentary,” he says. He had also considered packaging the material as an audio story and submitting it to the Mysterious Topics or Astonishing Legends podcasts. But bolstered by his recent success, he decided to release the story on his own, as the first episode of The Night Time Podcast.

As a first-time podcaster, Boneparty had to rely on diverse skills to get his show off the ground.

“I do it all, man. The music, everything. I’m a musician as well,” he says, “Not a good one, but good enough to make that intro.” Boneparty’s background as a musician helped him with audio editing.

He started by recording himself playing guitar on a tape deck with a four-track recorder. When he and some friends formed a band, he got his first taste of digitally editing audio.

“I just got good at it. The way you edit a podcast is the same way you would edit guitar,” he says. The equipment he uses is leftover from his days as a musician. Boneparty had also dabbled in photography; he’s used his skills to create visuals that help set the show’s eerie tone. While the show now has a consistent look and sound, Boneparty admits he didn’t have a master plan.

“When I started it, I just thought it was going to be a podcast that my friends and I would listen to," he says. Now, he's got over 16 episodes uploaded on the podcast's creepy website with topics that range from mysterious disappearances to paranormal accounts and activity in the region. 

For each epsiode, Boneparty lets himself get wrapped up in each story he comes across.

“If something comes up that I’m interested in, I just obsess about it. Read about it. Find out the whole history,” says Boneparty, “And then a month later I’ve completely forgotten about it.” He says some of the topics he covers are more ‘out there’ than others. But Boneparty, who describes himself as a skeptic, is careful not to weigh in on whether or not he doubts a guests’ claims.

“It’s not for me to judge whether or not what someone experienced is real,” he says. “I want to have guests tell their story, and let the listeners have the conversation about what to believe.” By following his passions, Boneparty seems to have discovered a winning formula. The Night Time Podcast was ranked 49 in iTunes’ Society & Culture section, outpacing both of his major influences Astonishing Mysteries and Mysterious Topics. Eventually, he says, "I’d like to be able to find something I can do and do it well. But it’s probably not podcasting. It’s probably raising my son.”

He says his three-year-old son is responsible for the name of the podcast. "Really it’s called The Night Time Podcast because when my son’s asleep, that’s when I have an hour or two to do this.”

_ _ _ _ 

Fueled by fandom

Before starting his own show, Boneparty was an avid podcast listener himself. “Pretty much everywhere I go, I walk and I’m listening to podcasts,” he says. Here are a few of his favourites.

Mystery Show
A show involving small-scale mysteries, such as tracking down the original owner of a one-of-a-kind belt buckle.

Astonishing Legends
This podcast about strange happenings brings a research-based approach to the topic. It's a “must listen” for Boneparty.

Mysterious Topics
Another podcast about the unexplained. “They inspired me, because it’s just two guys talking about stuff they like,” he says.

The X-Files Files<
Comedian Kumail Nanjiani and a guest discuss their favourite cases of the X-Files. As a fan of the TV series, Boneparty describes himself as, "more of a Scully, trying to be as Mulder as possible."

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Meet the Atlantic artists longlisted for the 2016 Sobey Art Award

Posted By on Thu, Apr 21, 2016 at 3:23 PM

William Robinson is on the longlist - MEGHAN TANSEY WHITTON
  • William Robinson is on the longlist
  • Meghan Tansey Whitton

Since 2002, the Sobey Art Award has been the largest prize for contemporary artists in Canada in the history of Canadian art. Established by The Sobey Art Foundation and named for collector and grocery magnate Frank H. Sobey, the prize is now worth $100,000, with $50,000 going to the winner and $12,500 going to four finalists who make up the shortlist. The five finalists represent the best in artistic provocation, innovation and overall conceptual merit, selected from a five-person regional list (West Coast & Yukon, Prairies & North, Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic). 

Hosted by the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia since its inception, it was announced last December that the Sobey Award will now be hosted at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. While Nova Scotia will lose that annual national spotlight, the move centralizes the art award to the nation's capital and also allows the AGNS to dedicate more time to programming. 

While one finalist from each region is selected for the shortlist, an Atlantic artist has yet to be awarded the grand prize. But this year, like every year, the Atlantic offers exceptional talent, and last year's Atlantic finalist Lisa Lipton has been longlisted again, along with four other artists: Halifax's William Robinson, Jerry Ropson, Ursula Johnson and Jordan Bennett

"I'm stoked about being longlisted for the 2016 Sobey Art Awards, who wouldn't be?," says Lipton (AKA Frankie Frankie), the Halifax-based multidisciplinary artist. "It's a pretty significant year to be highlighted. I'm gearing up for the premiere of THE IMPOSSIBLE BLUE ROSE this fall." The film is a highly conceptual artistic experience that incorporates performance art (Bayside Jaguars VS Deep Chaos), complex installation pieces and an auto-biographical cinematic multi-series. 

THE IMPOSSIBLE BLUE ROSE by Lisa Lipton | Unofficial Trailer from Luma Quarterly on Vimeo.

"I'm almost finished the final chapter and feature film," she explains of the diverse project that she's been working on for three and a half years. The film stars fellow artist Josh Salter and a number of Halifax locals. "I can't wait to put it out in the world and finally pronounce THE END." 

Joining Lipton on the longlist is Halifax-based William Robinson, a grant-winning multimedia artist whose work has been shown at various Halifax galleries, with an upcoming performance at the OBEY Convention and a solo exhibition at Gallery Sans Nom in May in Moncton, NB. 

"Representing the Atlantic region, as one of the longlist nominees, evokes a strong feeling of gratitude for the people, communities, and organizations throughout Atlantic Canada who have supported and inspired my artistic development and practice," he says. His work often challenges the properties of materiality and aural movement. His installation Young Prayer was shown in churches in Australia, Toronto and Halifax, described as an "electronics-based kinetic sculpture that functions as a guitar smashing and feedback machine" to celebrate unique auditory effects. 

Young Prayer at Scotiabank Nuit Blance in Toronto (2011) - JEFF BIERK
  • Young Prayer at Scotiabank Nuit Blance in Toronto (2011)
  • Jeff Bierk

"The Sobey helps to introduce and expose a nominated artist's work to a wider national and international audience, which can only positively benefit their career," Robinson says. Past award winners and nominees have gone on to worldwide acclaim; he's excited to be among them.

"Ursula, Lisa, Jerry and Jordan are all unique and intriguing artists. I admire all of their practices and achievements," he says. You can view the full list of nominees here. The shortlist of nominees will be announced in June, and their works will be on view at the National Gallery from October 6 to February 5, 2017. The winner of the 2016 Sobey Art Award will be held at a gala in November.

"Mi'Kmaq Artifact" from Newfoundland's Jordan Bennett - JORDAN BENNETT
  • "Mi'Kmaq Artifact" from Newfoundland's Jordan Bennett
  • Jordan Bennett
L’nuwelti’k from Mi'Kmaw artist Ursula Johnson - TRY MAMER
  • L’nuwelti’k from Mi'Kmaw artist Ursula Johnson
  • Try Mamer
"as previously seen" by Newfoundland mixed-media artist Jerry Ropson - JERRY ROPSON
  • "as previously seen" by Newfoundland mixed-media artist Jerry Ropson
  • Jerry Ropson

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

No change for film industry in Nova Scotia’s new budget

The cameras are rolling, but there’s no film inside.

Posted By on Wed, Apr 20, 2016 at 4:00 AM

A scene outside the Legislature last spring, when hundreds gathered to protest the provincial budget. - VIA SCREEN NOVA SCOTIA
  • A scene outside the Legislature last spring, when hundreds gathered to protest the provincial budget.
  • via Screen Nova Scotia

Well, the province has finished crunching the numbers and this year’s budget thankfully won’t see any more cuts to the film industry. But it won’t be fattening up its wallet either. The Film Incentive Fund remains unchanged, still capped at $10 million despite the chilly reception from both the industry and the public since it came into effect.

After axing the Film Tax Credit last April, the province implemented the Nova Scotia Film and Television Production Incentive Fund. This fund allows productions to claim 25 percent of all production costs incurred in Nova Scotia. The previous tax credit covered up to 65 percent of labour costs.

About a third of the Film Incentive Fund’s $10 million was awarded over the last year. That’s prompted some film workers to call for the province to roll over the unused portion of the Incentive fund to attract bigger budget pictures to Nova Scotia. But those calls were ignored in Tuesday’s budget.

According to the budget address, the province is still honouring productions that began before the July 1 cut-off date for the Film Industry Tax Credit, stating “tax expenditures are expected to continue to occur in the 2016–2017 fiscal year, and until the 2018–2019 fiscal year.”

Off the film set, the arts are faring a little better. The creative economy will receive $2.5 million “to support our artists, musicians and publishers,” according to the budget.

The province is also investing an additional $500,000 “for major events hosting.” Scott Long, executive director with Music Nova Scotia, says he was pleased with the news. “It was definitely more than we were anticipating.”

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Friday, April 15, 2016

Gallery Page & Strange adventures

The Granville gallery is working on a new, secret, space

Posted By on Fri, Apr 15, 2016 at 10:45 AM

  • via Facebook

Gallery Page & Strange is on the move. With 11 years of exhibitions under their collective belt, owners/artists Victoria Page and Victoria Strange have closed their longtime gallery space at 1869 Granville Street in favour of a new—and very secret—location.

Though Page and Strange are remaining mum on details about their next iteration, it is in the works, has some serious “Toronto gallery” vibes and should be ready for the public in two months time. For now, you can continue to peruse and purchase art from the comfort of your couch, at

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Agricola Street’s Open Mic House shut down by HRM

Artistic event looks for ways to move forward after sudden bylaw enforcement.

Posted By on Wed, Apr 13, 2016 at 2:37 PM

The Open Mic House's main stage - MITCHELL MULLEN
  • The Open Mic House's main stage
  • Mitchell Mullen

It’s lights out for Halifax’s humble hideaway for sing-a-longs, impromptu band performances and close-knit shows—at least for the moment.

The Open Mic House has run its weekly Monday night open mic from 2539 Agricola Street for the past seven years, but the venue has gone on hiatus after running into a land-use conflict with the city.

A noise complaint earlier in the year drew the municipality’s attention. That lead to an investigation which found the open mic was violating city bylaws. The municipality says it considers the property to be a business running without proper permits and business insurance. That took current organizer Heather Moore by surprise.

“We got no warnings,” says Moore. “Our landlord asked that we call the municipality and they demanded we get a permit for what we do here.”

To Moore and the members of the open mic community the venue was never about money and HRM didn’t take the time to understand the event.

“They’re not going to find any big money coming into this place because we’re not a business and we’re not running like a business,” says Moore.

Brendan Elliott, spokesperson for the municipality, says HRM is treating the open mic house the same as though it were a flea market or road side sale.

“If it’s once or twice we don’t have any problem but if it becomes a routine we look at that as a business and would want them to take the appropriate steps to become legal,” Elliott says.

The house has been a hub for the Halifax arts community for nearly a decade. The first open mic event was held in 2008 by musicians living in the house and quickly grew into a larger weekly gathering. Many musicians from Halifax and across the country have graced the small living-room stage including local band Krasnogorsk, Nick Everett, Willie Stratton and Ben Caplan. Both Jacques Mindreau (of Krasnogorsk) and Caplan were involved with the early years of the event, living in the house and hosting the event as MCs.

The open mic has received attention both locally and across Canada. It won best open mic last year in The Coast’s Best of Halifax awards, and the provincial government recognized its artistic value in a letter congratulating the event for its cultural contributions. A 2013 Globe and Mail article called it “Halifax’s worst kept secret.”

It certainly wasn’t off the radar of the authorities, though. The open mic has had several noise complaints over the years, which organizers say they always cooperated with.

Now, for the open mic to continue the event organizers will have to get business insurance and the property owner will have to apply for building code approval.

Even if that doesn’t happen, Moore says that the open mic will live on in some form. The organizers are already looking for new ways to continue the event, but they’re hoping they can clear things up with the city.

“This is a home and people are comfortable here,” says Moore. “There’s a rare time now that a stranger comes into the open mic because everyone knows about us by now.”

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Monday, April 4, 2016

Canadian icon Jeanne Beker coming to NSCAD's Epoch show

Posted By on Mon, Apr 4, 2016 at 12:53 PM

click image You're my obsession - JEANNEBEKER.COM
  • You're my obsession
Canadian fashion icon, Globe & Mail columnist and former host of Fashion Television, Jeanne Beker will be this year's special guest at the Epoch Fashion Show at NSCAD's Port Campus on April 16 (7pm). The runway will debut the spring collections of senior NSCAD Textile/Fashion students, including Maggie MacCormick, Cai Ripley, Leanne Hansen and a dozen more. 

“I feel this incredible responsibility to encourage this next generation of emerging designers. It’s such a different time now and it’s tough,” Beker says in a press release for the event. “I want to be there to offer my support and applaud innovation.” For decades, Beker has been at the forefront of Canadian fashion journalism and reporting, including 27 years as host of Fashion Television, the author of five style books and three seasons as a judge on Canada's Next Top Model.

Tickets are on sale nowEpoch is billed as two events in one. The Port Campus will feature a 100-foot runway for the collection walk ($20 general/$10 students and unwaged) and a cash-bar. The waterside studios overlooking George's Island will feature a separate runway, complimentary refreshments, gifts, door prizes and a VIP party with the designers, models and Beker ($100). I can't wait; I've been obsessed with Beker since 1993.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Atlantic Book Awards nominees 2016: Read 'em and reap...

...the joys of enjoying good stories and supporting locals.

Posted By on Tue, Mar 29, 2016 at 3:14 PM

Books by Nova Scotian authors Dean Jobb, Janet Maybee and Sarah Mian each received two 2016 Atlantic Book Awards nominations.
  • Books by Nova Scotian authors Dean Jobb, Janet Maybee and Sarah Mian each received two 2016 Atlantic Book Awards nominations.

Nominees for the 2016 Atlantic Books Awards were announced today, and Nova Scotian authors were well represented. Locals Dean Jobb, Janet Maybee and Sarah Mian are the only writers on the list to be nominated in two different categories, and a new award has been created in honour of Cape Breton's late literary legend Alistair MacLeod.

The ABA's real story, however, is New Brunswick: Along with the launch of the New Brunswick Book Awards and a prize for poetry sponsored by Fredericton bookstore Westminster Books, for the first time the big awards night is happening New Brunswick. (Check the ABA site to get tickets to the gala, April 27 at Moncton's Capital Theatre.)

In honour of the awards announcement and as an ABA fundraiser, tonight writers Don Aker, Vicki Grant and B.R. Myers are part of a panel and creative writing presentation at the Central Library (7pm, $12). The nominee shortlist will also be presented, which will be useful for learning any tricky pronunciations. Dean Jobb, for instance. Is he a "job" like work, a "jobe" like the bible or "jobby" as in hobby? After you read the complete list of nominees below, head to the library to find out.

Knife Party at the Hotel Europa by Mark Anthony Jarman (published by Goose Lane Editions)

I Am What I Am Because You Are What You Are by Carole Glasser Langille (Gaspereau Press Ltd.)

Wild Pieces by Catherine Hogan Safer (Creative Book Publishing)

Delusion Road by Don Aker (HarperCollins Publishers)

Prison Boy by Sharon E. McKay (Annick Press)

Rain Shadow by Valerie Sherrard (Fitzhenry & Whiteside)

Breakwater Books for Racket: New Writing Made in Newfoundland, edited by Lisa Moore

Nimbus Publishing for A Seaglass Journey: Ebb and Flow by Teri Hall

Pedlar Press for Winter in Tilting: Slide Hauling in a Newfoundland Outport by Robert Mellin

Roman: Car la nuit est longue by/par Sophie Bérubé (Éditions Prise de parole)

Monographie: Théâtre l’Escaouette, 1977-2012 by/par David Lonergan (Éditions David)

Recueil de poésie: Les anodins by/par Gabriel Robichaud (Éditions Perce-Neige)

Stubborn Resistance: New Brunswick Maliseet and Mi’kmaq in defence of their lands by Brian Cuthbertson (Nimbus Publishing)

Seanchaidh na Coille / Memory Keeper of the Forest: Anthology of Scottish Gaelic Literature of Canada by Michael Newton (Cape Breton University Press)

The Servant State: Overseeing Capital Accumulation in Canada by Geoffrey McCormack & Thom Workman (Fernwood Publishing)

The Times of African Nova Scotians, Vol. II by Tony Colaiacovo (Delmore “Buddy” Daye Learning Institute)

Empire of Deception: The Incredible Story of a Master Swindler Who Seduced a City and Captivated the Nation by Dean Jobb (Harper Avenue)

Aftershock: The Halifax Explosion and the Persecution of Pilot Francis Mackey by Janet Maybee (Nimbus Publishing)

The Story of the Basilica of St. John the Baptist by Susan Chalker Browne (Flanker Press)

Empire of Deception: The Incredible Story of a Master Swindler Who Seduced a City and Captivated the Nation by Dean Jobb (Harper Avenue)

Katherine Hughes: A Life and a Journey by Pádraig Ó Siadhail (Penumbra Publishing)

Amazing Grace by Lesley Crewe (Nimbus Publishing)

What Kills Good Men by David Hood (Nimbus Publishing)

When the Saints by Sarah Mian (HarperCollins Publishing)

Doretta Groenendyk for I’m Drawing a Picture (also written by Doretta Groenendyk) (Acorn Press)

Ron Lightburn for Frankenstink!: Garbage Gone Bad (also written by Ron Lightburn) (Tundra Books)

Tamara Thiebaux-Heikalo for Mayann’s Train Ride (written by The Honourable Mayann Francis) (Nimbus Publishing)

A Stroke in Time by Gerard Doran (Flanker Press)

Aftershock: The Halifax Explosion and the Persecution of Pilot Francis Mackey by Janet Maybee (Nimbus Publishing)

When the Saints by Sarah Mian (HarperCollins Publishing)

Entropic by R.W. Gray (NeWest Press)

Knife Party at the Hotel Europa by Mark Anthony Jarman (Goose Lane Editions)

A Measure of Light by Beth Powning (Knopf)

The Lost Wilderness: Rediscovering W.F. Ganong's New Brunswick by Nicholas Guitard (Goose Lane Editions)

What is Government Good At?: A Canadian Answer by Donald Savoie (McGill-Queen's University Press)

Boss Gibson: Lumber King of New Brunswick by David Sullivan (Self-published)

Not Even Laughter by Phillip Crymble (Salmon Poetry)

Crossover by M. Travis Lane (Cormorant Books)

Electric Affinities by Michael Pacey (Signature Editions)

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Casting call: Star Wars fan film seeks actors in Halifax galaxy

Posted By on Tue, Mar 29, 2016 at 3:06 PM

  • Grzegorz Domaradzki Gabz

Calling all defenders of a galaxy far, far away: Halifax director David Connellan is looking for several actors to fill various roles for a locally shot Star Wars fan film at an open casting session on Saturday, April 2, at the Sobeys Community Room (2651 Windsor Street, 2pm-6pm). 

"The movie will be a five minute-long short that will be entered in the 2016 Official Star Wars Fan Film Awards," explains Connellan, . "As this is a fan film using copy-written characters and settings, it's not a commercial film. It's an all-volunteer project." The synopsis? "The story is set after the battle of Endor which takes place at the end of Return of The Jedi. The film is based around Princess Leia and her emotional distress of dealing with being the leader during a long and bloody civil war, and her relationships, especially with Han Solo. This will be a dramatic piece." 

As such, Connellan is seeking non-union actors for the following roles:

Princess Leia, female 22-29 lead actor
Han Solo, male 33- 40
Voice Over Actors
Admeral Ackbar
Darth Vader
Jaba the Hutt
Secondary actors and extras
Various rebel troops and offices
Stormtroopers and Imperials

You can book an audition by emailing or visiting the Halifax Star Wars Fan Film Facebook. Filming will begin in Halifax this spring. Use the force.


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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Bill Niven and Jay Dahl want to throw a $300,000 Halloween Party

Provincial funding might comes with conditions for The Book of Negroes producer.

Posted By on Thu, Mar 24, 2016 at 5:00 PM

Bill Niven wants to throw a Halloween Party - VIA FACEBOOK
  • Bill Niven wants to throw a Halloween Party
  • via Facebook

Nearly $300,000 in funding from the province might not be enough to keep Bill Niven’s next feature in Nova Scotia.

This week, Nova Scotia Business Inc. announced feature film Halloween Party, will receive a funding commitment of $299,143 through the Nova Scotia Film and Television Production Incentive Fund. Niven’s producing the movie, which is being written and directed by Jay Dahl.

Niven, who also produced the award-winning TV mini-series The Book of Negroes and Andrea Dorfman feature Heartbeat, says although he would love to film in Nova Scotia, he is unsure whether or not that will still be possible.

“With the local film fund gone, we might have to shoot it somewhere else.”

The funding commitment provided by Nova Scotia Business Inc. is conditional, according to Niven.

“If they feel we didn’t do everything that the fund says we should it's conceivable that we wont get the money,” he says.

While it’s unsure when the film will hit theatres, the producer recently secured a theatrical distributer. Niven and crew are now working on the final stages of development, including assembling all the requirements to begin filming—especially finances.

“Really what we are doing is finalizing the financing,” he says. “That’s the big thing right now.”

Niven describes Halloween Party as a contemporary urban thriller, but wouldn’t give away much more of the plot.

“We are very excited, it’s a great project,” he says. “We have high hopes for the film. It’s going to be terrific.”

The duo have been planning the feature for roughly two years, and Niven says production would have begun last year if the Liberal government hadn’t cut the province’s Film Tax Credit.

Last year’s provincial budget axed the $24 million Film Tax Credit for a new production incentive fund. Twelve film and TV projects over the last year have received a total of roughly three million dollars in funding from the new system’s $10 million pool of money.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A merry band of Merritt winners

Posted By on Tue, Mar 22, 2016 at 10:48 AM

The Tempest was the night's big winner, but there was plenty of admiration for all. - KEN SCHWARTZ
  • The Tempest was the night's big winner, but there was plenty of admiration for all.
  • Ken Schwartz

Stories about the power of community were front and centre at the 2016 Merritt Awards.

From Two Planks’ director Ken Schwartz’s hilarious tale of the entire cast of The Tempest soldiering on through a bout of the evocatively-named “poop flu” to Emerging Theatre Artist Award-winner Colleen MacIsaac’s generous donation of her Merritt winnings to the beloved Bus Stop Theatre, the mood was very much “all for one and one for all”.

Presenter Shahin Sayadi drew thunderous applause for his assessment that striving for more cultural diversity in the theatre scene could attract more people to Nova Scotia. “People simply want to see themselves reflected on our stages.”

Shakespeare By The Sea’s Elizabeth Murphy (recipient of the Mayor’s Award for Achievement in Theatre) and Bruce Klinger (winner of the Legacy Award) both spoke of the growth of the Nova Scotia theatre scene over the past 30 years, and of the community spirit that drives it.

The depth, breadth and future of the of the Nova Scotian theatre community was brought home by two poignant moments: The acceptance of the volunteer award by 89-year-old playwright Dean Taylor and the presentation of the Outstanding Production Award by Dalhousie's entire third year acting class.

Robert Merritt Award Winners 2016

Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (female)

Stephanie MacDonald as Gail/Glory/Rosellen in Watching Glory Die  (Mulgrave Road Theatre)

Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (male)

Stewart Legere as Charlotte Von Mahlsdorf  in I Am My Own Wife  (Shakespeare by the Sea)

Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (male)

Christopher Little as Ray Spangler, Finn Vannier, Lee Cassidy, Guy Pope, Mike Wallace, The Egg Salvador in  Hardboiled – A Sal Dali Crime Tale  by LoHiFi Productions

Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (female)

Mauralea Austin as Aoife in Outside Mullingar (Festival Antigonish)

Outstanding Choreography

Jim Morrow (puppetry choreography) for The Tempest  (Two Planks and a Passion Theatre)

Outstanding Costume Design

Jennifer Goodman  for The Tempest   (Two Planks and a Passion Theatre)

Outstanding Direction

Ken Schwartz for The Tempest  (Two Planks and a Passion Theatre)

Outstanding Lighting Design

Leigh Ann Vardy for The 39 Steps  (Neptune Theatre)

Outstanding Musical Direction

Allen Cole for  The Highest Tides  (Chester Playhouse)

Outstanding New Play by a Nova Scotian

Theo Pitsiavas Hardboiled – A Sal Dali Crime Tale  (LoHiFi Productions)

Outstanding Original Score

Allen Cole for The Tempest  (Two Planks and a Passion Theatre)

Outstanding Set Design

Theo Pitsiavas, Christopher Little, Tony Owen  for Hardboiled – A Sal Dali Crime Tale (LoHiFi Productions)

Outstanding Sound Design

Brian Riley for Pop-Up Love Party (Zuppa Theatre Company)

Outstanding Production by a New or Emerging Company

The Story of a Sinking Man (Kick At The Dark Theatre Company)

Outstanding Production by an Established Company

The Tempest  (Two Planks and a Passion Theatre)

Outstanding Presentation

The Queen of Paradise’s Garden
by Andy Jones Productions, presented by Eastern Front Theatre

Special Awards:

Outstanding Technician
: Justin Dakai

Outstanding Stage Manager: Jane Creaser

Outstanding Volunteer
: Dean Taylor

Theatre Nova Scotia Scholarship
: GaRRy Williams & Ivy Charles

Wes Daniel’s Design Award: Rob Greene & Valley Summer Theatre

Mayor’s Award for Emerging Theatre Artist
: Colleen MacIsaac

Mayor’s Award for Achievement in Theatre: Elizabeth Murphy

Theatre Nova Scotia Legacy Award: Bruce Klinger
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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Watch teaser for a John Dunsworth and Cathy Jones webseries

Posted By on Tue, Mar 15, 2016 at 2:36 PM

On the set of Nichols And Dimez, a potential new IPF webseries - CALEY MACLENNAN
  • On the set of Nichols And Dimez, a potential new IPF webseries
  • Caley MacLennan

In a bid to win funding from the IPF (Independent Production Fund) for an episodic webseries, the creator of Noon Gun2015's Best Film in The Coast's Best of Halifax Awards, filmmaker Caley MacLennan recently released a teaser for Nichols and Dimez.

If it wins, the locally produced series promises to be a boozey, comedy crime-thriller that would star John Dunsworth (The Trailer Park Boys) and Cathy Jones (This Hour Has 22 Minutes): "When small town drug dealer Big Mike (Kevin Kincaid) dies, John Nichols is left to take care of his drug-smuggling business and 12-year old son. With rival drug dealers, police and social services pressing him, Nichols stumbles upon a secret weapon: Big Mike’s ghost." 

"The more social media attention our teaser video receives, the more chance we have to obtain funding," says director MacLennan (fans can follow the potential series on Facebook), who is also co-producing with André Pettigrew. Set in the fictional Skag Harbour, "This project is very different from most film or TV projects for so many reasons—two known Canadian icons starring in web-based series with ghosts and drug dealers. And it's a good-news story about the otherwise desperate condition of the Nova Scotia film industry," he adds. The series would also mark the first time Jones and Dunsworth appear onscreen together. #NSFILMJOBS.

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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Smartphone Film Festival deadline extended to March 14!

Posted By on Tue, Mar 8, 2016 at 4:52 PM


Due to a technical glitch, or what we're lovingly calling "spissues," the Halifax Smartphone Film Festival (SPFF) submission deadline has been extended until Monday, March 14!

You now have the rest of this week and this whole darn weekend to create a short-film on your cellphone for a chance to win over $2,000 in cash, prizes or an Eastlink phone! Head on over to SPFF.CA to check out contest rules, submission guidelines, FAQs and all the deets on the SPFF Screening Party on April 22 at the Halifax Central Library. Lights, camera, action!

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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Nova Scotia offers $810,368 for new Trailer Park Boys TV show

Ricky, Julian and Bubbles may visit Europe thanks to some Nova Scotian funding.

Posted By on Tue, Mar 1, 2016 at 7:02 PM

The park is open.
  • The park is open.

Ricky, Julian and Bubbles just made an $800,000 score.

Nova Scotia Business Inc. announced Tuesday that it’s offering $810,368 in production funding for Trailer Park Boys Out of the Park: Europe, the newest television show chronicling the escapades of actors/executive producers Mike Smith, Robb Wells and John Paul Tremblay.

At close to a million dollars, it’s the largest block of funding from the province’s new Film and Television Production Incentive Fund. Feature film nineteenseventysomething, from director Bruce MacDonald and Halifax playwright Daniel MacIvor, is the second-highest funding with $320,000 from NSBI.

The Film and Television Production Incentive Fund came into being after Nova Scotia’s former Film Tax Credit was eliminated by the McNeil government last year. The tax credit system offered $24 million in credits through which film and television productions could recoup 50 percent of labour costs. The new $10 million incentive fund offers a 25 percent rebate on all production costs, including labour.

Since its creation, 10 projects (five TV series, two documentaries and three feature films) have received money from the new fund. With the $810,368 commitment to Trailer Park Boys, the province has now spent just under $2.5 million of the fund’s annually available $10 million.

Out of the Park: Europe is the latest expansion of the Trailer Park BoysKardashian-like media empire, which now includes a podcast, an upcoming mobile game and the show’s 10th season that debuts March 18 on Netflix. There’s also a campaign underway for the three characters to host Saturday Night Live.

Tuesday’s press release from NSBI doesn’t include any details about the plot of the Trailer Park Boys latest, European-themed adventure, but presumably Amsterdam will be visited.

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