Film & TV

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Local horror film The Crescent needs your help

Posted By on Thu, Jul 13, 2017 at 2:40 PM

Vandersteen and Graves in a still from The Crescent - SUBMITTED
  • Vandersteen and Graves in a still from The Crescent
  • submitted

Director Seth Smith, producer Nancy Urich (full disclosure, Urich and I play in a band together) and screenwriter Darcy Spidle, the team behind CUT/OFF/TAIL Pictures, are back on their grind again, so rejoice. With a supremely spooky trailer for The Crescent, Smith continues to deal in the watery horror framework set down by 2012's Lowlife, this time directing Smith and Urich's son Woodrow Graves and artist and musician (Fake Buildings, Building Confidence Through Play, Old & Weird) Danika Vandersteen.

Watch the trailer below for the film described as "an elevated horror that blends formalist, fictional drama with documentary-like moments of realism–think cult classics like Rosemary’s Baby, Phenomena, Don’t Look Now, and contemporary arthouse-thrillers like Under the Skin, The Witch, and Personal Shopper."

In the wake of funding cuts to provincial film programs, CUT/OFF/TAIL Pictures is asking for public backers to complete the final stages of the process. Learn more about the project and donate here.

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Friday, May 19, 2017

Sixth annual OUTeast Queer Film Festival lineup announced

Posted By on Fri, May 19, 2017 at 9:09 AM

The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson - DIANA DAVIES
  • The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson
  • Diana Davies

The much anticipated OUTeast Queer Film Festival has announced the lineup of films and events for June 15-18 and the fun can't be contained, my people.

1970s California pool party-themed silent discos, Romy and Michele's High School Reunion quote along (outdoors, yet), the Beers 4 Queers social, an awards brunch and of course the award-winning films: Canadian and international shorts programs, powerful documentaries, rom-coms and more.

All tickets, and a limited amount of All-OUT, all-access passes are available now online at,, and through Ticketpro outlets. Opening Night Gala tickets are $15, pre-reception included. All other screening tickets are $12, with the All-OUT, All Access Festival Pass available for $60.

Keep a-scrolling for the full program and film details.

  • TODRICK!!!!!!

2017 OUTeast Film Festival Program

Thursday, June 15, 2017 8pm
Halifax Central Library $15
Pre-Reception at 6:30pm
The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson
2017 / USA / Documentary / 105:00 Director: David France
Following Marsha P. Johnson from the Village in the 1960s where she teamed up with fellow trans activist Sylvia Rivera, to her tragic death, The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson is the untold story of two of the biggest unsung heroes in LGBTQ history.
Together, the radical duo fought arrests, condemned police brutality, battled the intolerant majority within the gay community, and helped spearhead the Stonewall Riots. Despite their many challenges over the years—bias, homelessness, illness—Marsha and Sylvia ignited a powerful and lasting civil rights movement. When Marsha was found dead in the Hudson River in 1992 the NYPD called her death a suicide. Protests erupted but the police remained impassive and refused to investigate. Now, a quarter century later, a dynamic activist named Victoria Cruz has taken it upon herself to reexamine the case.

In this timely and essential film, Academy Award nominated director and journalist David France (How to Survive a Plague) examines Marsha’s death—and her extraordinary life.

Preceded by: A Toast to Opening Night with Rosie Porter
Join us for our reception before the screening, and raise a glass to the festival films. 6:30pm
Included with Screening Ticket

Friday, June 16
Museum of Natural History $12
Signature Move
2017 / USA / Comedy / 80:00 Director: Jennifer Reeder
Stop me if you’ve heard this one. Zaynab, a queer Muslim Pakistani woman, walks into a bar and meets Alma, a Mexican woman. Their repartee is charming and their connection immediate, but that’s just the beginning.

Zaynab is a Chicago lawyer whose work is her life. Her most common social contact is her roommate/widowed mother Parveen who spends her days watching TV and searching for a potential husband for her only daughter. As Zaynab begins to fall for Alma, and also takes up wrestling, the secrets she keeps from her mother begin to pile up. As the hiding threatens to tear Zaynab and Alma apart, Zaynab must decide between the things she loves and keeping her secrets.

Signature Move is a comedic and heartfelt look at modern families and the complexities of love in its many forms.

Friday, June 16
Museum of Natural History $12
Tom of Finland
Dome Karukoski
2017 / Finland/Sweden/Denmark/Germany/USA / 115:00
Leather daddies, charcoal drawings of impossibly good looking men, and one of the most influential and celebrated figures of twentieth century gay culture. Tom of Finland tells the story of the visionary artist behind the brand.

A decorated officer, Tuoko Laaksonen returns home after serving his country in World War II. But life after the war does not necessarily bring him peace. The only place that Tuoko finds refuge from homophobic Helsinki is in his art. Under his secret signature, Tom of Finland, Tuoko creates hypersexual drawings of muscular men that would eventually become a symbol of freedom and expression for a generation of gay men.

From a World War II soldier to the forefather of the leather scene, to becoming a voice at the forefront of the AIDS epidemic, Tom of Finland is a beautiful story of a courageous man who stands at the center of the gay revolution.

Friday, June 16
10pm- 2am
Beers 4 Queers Social
Good Robot Taproom
Cap off a fabulous Friday night of films with drinks at our second home, the Good Robot Taproom. Our signature festival brew will be on tap all night.

Saturday, June 17
Museum of Natural History Free - Tickets Sponsored by RBC
Canadian Shorts

Apart from Everything Canada / 2016 / 19:00 Director: Ben Lewis
After a two-year absence and a recent stint in rehab, Fran (Tatiana Maslany) returns to make amends with the girlfriend and the brother she left behind.

I Want to Kill Myself Canada / 2017 / 9:00 Director: Vivek Shraya
Contemplating suicide: a biography.

Meet Me Under the Clock
Canada / 2017 / 16:00
Director: Sonya Reynolds and Lauren Hortie
An underground Halloween tradition in Toronto becomes an annual confrontation between an invisible gay community and the fascinated, often hateful public.

The Gift Giver
Canada / 2017 / 8:00 Director: Denis Theriault
A young man attends an HIV support group with the intention of purposely contracting the virus.

Picture This
Canada / 2017 / 33:00 Director: Jari Osborne
Picture This weaves together the intimate, unflinching testimonies of Andrew and Stella as they navigate sex and disability.
The Night Cleaner Canada / 2016 / 5:00 Director: Blair Fukumura
Travis, a cleaner in Canada's busiest bathhouse, takes the audience on an amusing, sometimes harrowing tour through his nightly duties.

International Shorts
Saturday, June 17
Museum of Natural History $12
Little Potato
USA / 2016 / 14:00 Director: Wes Hurley
Little Potato is an autobiographical short about a gay boy growing up in the Soviet Union and his mail- order-bride mom.
The News Today USA / 2016 / 12:00 Director: Lisa Donato

Inspired by the Pulse Nightclub shooting, this short examines the mundane moments that occur between two men in love—moments that become precious in an instant.

UK / 2017 / 15:00 Director: Jake Graf
Growing up in 1950s England in an intolerant and uninformed world, young Chris Winters struggles to fit into the gender roles dictated by wider society.

Poland / 2016 / 14:00
Director: Yifan Sun
An ex-couple spend the day together before one moves away for good. Will they finally achieve the closure they need or will they further complicate their situation?

Lebanon/USA / 2016 / 15:00
Director: Tarek Turkey
As his body starts to mature, Nidal is forced to navigate the confines of a Syrian refugee camp in a culture that does not comprehend gender fluidity.

My Gay Sister
Norway/Sweden / 2017 / 15:00 Director: Lia Hietala
When Cleo meets her sister’s new girlfriend she isn’t sure what to expect. But when friendship blooms between them, Cleo sees an opportunity to clear a few things up.

Saturday, June 17
4:30 PM
Museum of Natural History $12
The Fabulous Allan Carr
2017 / USA / Documentary / 90:00 Director: Jeffrey Schwarz
OUTeast favourite Jeffrey Schwarz (Vito, I am Divine) returns with another larger than life tale. This time he takes on The Fabulous Allan Carr. You may not know the man by name but you definitely know his work. Allan Carr is responsible for bringing us Grease and the broadway version of La Cage aux Folles. Pretty good, right? Well, not so fast. He is also responsible for the disastrous 1989 Academy Awards, Grease 2, and the imagined origin story of the Village People, Can’t Stop the Music. A hit and miss visionary, Allan Carr experienced many ups and downs but at the heart of it all is a man who isn’t afraid to dream big.

An awe inspiring cautionary tale, The Fabulous Allan Carr is one man’s journey from toast of tinseltown to absolutely down and out.

Saturday, June 17
Museum of Natural History $12
A Date for Mad Mary
2016 / Ireland / Drama/Comedy / 82:00 Director: Darren Thornton
Imagine a gritty, Irish version of Bridesmaids and throw in a convention-bending lesbian twist. The result is A Date for Mad Mary, an irresistibly charming, intelligent film that's as fierce as its titular character.

Mary is angry. Fresh out of prison, she's trying to reconnect with her former, soon-to-be married best friend, Charlene. As defiant as ever, Mary seeks to win back Charlene’s approval and save their flailing friendship. Her plan? To spite Charlene's predictions and instead find a proper date for the wedding. Mary’s string of hilariously bad choices takes an unexpected turn when Jess, the wedding videographer, enters the picture.

With a star-making performance by lead actress Seána Kerslake, A Date for Mad Mary is a delightfully funny and tenderly human portrait of self-discovery.

Saturday, June 17
Museum of Natural History $12
Behind the Curtain: Todrick Hall
2017 / USA / Documentary / 100:00 Director: Katherine Fairfax Wright

Even if you think you know YouTube superstar Todrick Hall, you don’t. Not yet, anyway.

Behind the Curtain: Todrick Hall follows Todrick as he launches his most ambitious project yet: the original musical, Straight Outta Oz. Writing and recording songs by night and shooting music videos by day, while simultaneously preparing to take the show on the road, this documentary showcases a hardworking man on a mission. Through the songs and videos he creates, Todrick entertains while tackling issues such as gun violence, police brutality and personal concerns that include a difficult relationship with his mother and struggles with his identity as a gay black man.

From the co-director of Call Me Kuchu, Katherine Fairfax Wright, Behind the Curtain: Todrick Hall gives us an insider's look at the inspiring man behind the computer screen.

Saturday, June 17 10pm - 2am Good Robot Taproom $10
Can’t Stop the Music
This year OUTeast and Good Robot are taking our Saturday party from noise complaint to noise compliant but don’t let that deter you! Surely you won’t want to miss a no pool pool party / silent disco. Curious?

Inspired by the afternoon screening of The Fabulous Allan Carr, OUTeast and Good Robot will transport you to a 1970s California style poolside party. Drinks, inflatable toys, and dancing in our pool party best. And those disco beats? Well, they are for our ears only. Grab some headphones and dance your fabulous heart out because we are hopelessly devoted to you having the time of your life.

Sunday, June 18
OUTeats Brunch
Good Robot Taproom $12 or All-OUT pass
Join us at Good Robot for one of OUTeast’s most popular events, the OUTeats brunch. Close out the festival in comfort and style as we toast the winners of the 2017 Audience and Juried awards.

Plus friends! Coffee! Beer! And the comedy stylings of Megan McDowell. #pinkpancakes

Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion Quote-Along
Good Robot Brewing Company. Free
Twenty years ago all of our lives were changed for the better. How? Well, in 1997 we were blessed with the gift that is Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion. So, join OUTeast and Good Robot Brewing Company in celebration of this monumental moment in history with a Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion Quote-Along. If you know the words, come on down and shout ‘em out. If you don’t, come on down and finally understand what your friends meant when they said, “I’m the Mary,” or “my shoe is filling up with blood,” or “what a bitch taking your hamburger. I mean, what was that?”

Good Robot will be serving you a businesswoman’s special all night long and for those on a fat free diet, not to worry, we will have gummy bears, jelly beans, and candy corn.

Next stop: Tuscon!


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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, January 19, 2016

Check out this year's winning Film 5 projects

Posted By on Tue, Jan 19, 2016 at 5:40 PM

Nicole Holland (director) & Jess Smallwood (producer), participants in 2016's Film 5 program - JESS SMALLWOOD
  • Nicole Holland (director) & Jess Smallwood (producer), participants in 2016's Film 5 program
  • Jess Smallwood

Last week, the Atlantic Filmmakers Cooperative aka AFCOOP announced the 2016 winners of the Film 5 program in which aspiring and emerging directors, producers and crew produce a five-minute film from script to budget to star-studded premiere. With two phases — Program Development (Phase I) and Production (Phase II) — participants experience the full range of filmmaking on a manageable scale to gain the skills to produce films on a larger scale. Hollywood, baby. Since 1994, Film 5 has provided training to hundreds of film professionals. Every year, four teams are selected by a jury to receive training, mentorship and over $30,000 in cash and services to produce a five-minute film. Grads of the program include Jason Eisener, Andrea Dorfman, Andy BushJay Dahl, Ashley MacKenzieThom Fitzgerald and many more

Despite an earlier potential loss of funding to the program because of the dissolution of Film & Creative Industries, along with the devastating impact of the Liberal changes to the Nova Scotia Film Tax Credit on the entire film industry, the cameras will roll. This year's projects:

Black Guitar
Director/writer: Devin Cesario
Producer: Todd Fraser
Synopsis: A weathered troubadour in the midst of a tailspin travels through a dark night of debauchery and self-destruction that can only end in one of two ways: death or death by epiphany.

Charlie's P.O.C. 
Director/writer: Kevin Hartford
Producer: Thom Payne
Synopsis: A year and a half after their breakup, Charlie returns to the apartment he used to share with his ex to pick up some things he left behind, but after a surprise encounter with his ex's mother, Charlie realizes he may have left more behind than he originally thought.

Tipping Point
Director/writer: Stephanie Young
Producer: Jack Ivany
A painfully shy barista is crushing on a customer who turns out to be a not-so-shy burlesque performer, and must overcome their own self-doubt to tell her how they really feel.

Don't Be Late
Director/writer: Nicole Holland
Producer: Jessica Smallwood
Brandy prepares to go out on a first date with a man she met on the Internet. She is severely delayed when she hits a strange, otherwordly creature with her car. Maybe it's for the best.

Nicole Holland location scouting for 'Don't Be Late' - JESS SMALLWOOD
  • Nicole Holland location scouting for 'Don't Be Late'
  • Jess Smallwood

"Nicole and I decided to apply to the FILM 5 program last September," says producer Jessica Smallwood, a film fanatic and co-organizer of film series Thrillema. "When I read the script for Don't Be Late, we started collaborating on ideas and it slowly evolved into something more like a horror or subtle genre film. We plan on showcasing rural Nova Scotia in an unconventional way through the horror genre and we hope to shoot in Prospect, where Nicole grew up." Heck yes.

Smallwood continues: "As women who love genre film, we are excited at the opportunity to create a relatable female lead who isn't portrayed as a victim, an accessory, or is over-sexualized. In a genre predominantly dominated by men, it's exciting to be able to contribute and show our individual points of view. We are excited about being mentored in this program by some of the best filmmakers in the industry and look forward to applying to festivals around the world." 

"This is an important year for the FILM 5 program," says Martha Cooley, AFCOOP's Executive Director. "In the wake of the changes to our industry, providing opportunities for emerging Nova Scotia talent is more important than ever. FILM 5 is grateful for the ongoing support of the film community and we look forward to this year's projects." So do we! Congratulations, Film 5'ers.

FILM 5 20th Anniversary Highlight Reel from AFCOOP on Vimeo.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Always say Namas-DIE

Vote for the local in CineCoup

Posted By on Wed, Apr 29, 2015 at 4:16 PM


A few years ago, a couple of local horror filmmakers entered a Quentin Tarantino contest with a fake grindhouse-inspired trailer. The entry ended up winning, and that honour scored financing and development for one of Halifax’s most well-known film productions, 2011’s Hobo with a Shotgun.

This year, a couple of local horror filmmakers entered the 2015 CineCoup challenge, a 12-week genre-film contest with a one million dollar development deal for the winning trailer. This week, the Nicole Steeves and Struan Sutherland joint, Namas-DIE, placed in the Top 30 of over 120 entries. It’s the only trailer from Atlantic Canada still in the running, but in order for Namas-DIE to win, it needs your votes!

Produced by Sahar Yousefi and André Pettigrew, Namas-DIE is a horror-comedy with an all-female cast that features a group of old friends who treat themselves to a yoga weekend, but here’s the sick twist: the last yogi alive wins $20 million bucks. Soon, quaint female friendships turn into yoga-mat blood-baths, in keeping with Sutherland’s dark, absurdist humour and the expressive performance of Steeves and company. It’s a starkly styled, gross-out horror with layers of satire that could be Sutherland’s first directed feature (just yesterday, his AFCOOP Film 5, The Hold Up, was nominated by Screen Nova Scotia for Best Short Film). Using skills from both of their experiences in the Film 5 program, Steeves and Sutherland have been nailing their routine CineCoup “missions,” which are mini-projects that demonstrate all dimensions of the film’s mood and concept, from silent scenes to promo materials.


All of the missions so far can be viewed online, and Namas-DIE’s continued success in the contest relies on votes and shares. It’s an opportunity that could bring film jobs to Nova Scotia (#NSFilmJobs) and could create a genre cult-classic like Hobo with a Shotgun or last year’s CineCoup winner, Wolfcop. And I don’t know about you, but yoga sure makes me want to kill people. Plus, the all-female focus is much-needed. Even films like The House on Sorority Row or the thousands of strong female horror leads still defer to male perspective. Finally, female-focus has become deliberate (and welcome) in genre films; director Nicolas Winding Refn’s The Neon Demon, for example, has been waving that flag since its conception. 

But what makes Namas-DIE well-suited for a win is the scope of project in relation to the budget, which isn’t a huge amount for a feature film. But Namas-DIE has been designed for that budget line, and a million bones can get you an awful lot of fake blood and rubber skin. And, one more time: #NSFilmJobs.

Along with helping local filmmakers achieve something amazing, this is a good chance to check out the rest of CineCoup’s indie film competitors. It’s also likely that entries placing in the Top 15 will be positioned to option scripts for further development, so every single vote and share counts! Namaste.

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Screen Nova Scotia awards nominees announced

Let's be happy for a second!

Posted By on Wed, Apr 29, 2015 at 2:43 PM

Mr. D
  • Mr. D

Lights, camera, action! The nominees are in for the inaugural Screen Nova Scotia Awards Show. The show will take place Saturday, May 2 at Casino Nova Scotia. The event will be hosted by Jonathan Torrens, Canadian personality and sharer of my birthday.

“It has taken twenty years to build the depth of talent our membership enjoys today, and believe me, they are taking that talent to screens across the world,” says Jamie Bradley, President of ACTRA Maritimes in a press release. The event will be a huge celebration of all the Nova Scotian talent we’ve been seeing, and also a nice change from all the negative press of the NS Film Tax Credit.

"The past three weeks have been very challenging for the film and television industry in Nova Scotia, for reasons that everyone is well aware of," said Scott Simpson, vice chair of Screen Nova Scotia. “But let’s be clear about one thing – the quality of work that is done by people in this industry is second to none. We have much to be proud of and on Saturday night, we will celebrate some of the best film and television projects in Canada.”

The nominees were presented by Screen Nova Scotia, the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE).


Outstanding Female Actor in a Leading Role:

Mary-Colin Chisholm - Cast No Shadow

Alexis Milligan - Some Things Won’t Sleep 

Andrea Lee Norwood - Lure 

Jennie Raymond - Sex & Violence 

Jackie Torrens - Sex & Violence

Outstanding Male Actor in a Leading Role:

Pasha Ebrahimi - Lord of Chaos

Glen Matthews – Lure

Mike McLeod - Forgive Me

Gharrett Paon - I Am Syd Stone

Robb Wells - Trailer Park Boys

Outstanding Female Actor in a Supporting Role:

Bette MacDonald - Mr. D

Candy Palmater - Forgive Me

Carol Sinclair - Sex and Violence

Shelley Thompson - Trailer Park Boys

Jackie Torrens – Heartbeat

Outstanding Male Actor in a Supporting Role:

Richard Donat – Lure

John Dunsworth - Trailer Park Boys

Pasha Ebrahimi - Sex and Violence

Michael McPhee - Sex and Violence

Jonathan Torrens - Mr.D


Christopher Ball – Director of Photography

Matt Likely – Art Director

Brian Power – Re-recording Mixer


 Best Feature Film:



Relative Happiness

Trailer Park Boys – Don’t Legalize It

Best Short Film:


Some Things Won’t Sleep

The Hold Up

The Toll

Best Documentary Film:

28 Feet – Life on a Little Wooden Boat 

Arctic Defenders 

Bounty – Into the Hurricane 

Edge of East

Wild & Dangerous – The World of Exotic Pets

Best TV Series:

Forgive Me


Mr. D

The Candy Show

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Friday, April 17, 2015

NSCAD Film 4 Thesis Shorts Film Screening this Monday

A bright light for film lovers

Posted By on Fri, Apr 17, 2015 at 4:26 PM

Daniel Crowther and Megin Peake, in front of the very daunting schedule of their past year
  • Daniel Crowther and Megin Peake, in front of the very daunting schedule of their past year

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!)

A still from Megin Peake’s film, Rowan
  • A still from Megin Peake’s film, Rowan

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.”

This still from 37:7 still doesn’t help me get it, so I’ll see you guys at the screening
  • This still from 37:7 still doesn’t help me get it, so I’ll see you guys at the screening

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

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Keeping the cameras rolling

Thousands hit the streets to protest slashed tax film credit

Posted By on Thu, Apr 16, 2015 at 10:22 AM

  • Gabby Peyton

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.

  • Gabby Peyton

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.”

  • Gabby Peyton
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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

NS film tax credit lives on?

There is (some) hope (maybe?) for local movie industry.

Posted By on Tue, Apr 14, 2015 at 11:39 AM

Scott Simpson of Playmaker Films talks to reporters - JESSICA FLOWER
  • Scott Simpson of Playmaker Films talks to reporters
  • Jessica Flower

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*

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AFCOOP reacts to Film Industry Tax Credit cuts

The film industry is pissed so they’re gonna make a movie about it

Posted By on Tue, Apr 14, 2015 at 4:00 AM


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.”

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Monday, April 13, 2015

Mayor Mike Savage on the NS Film Tax Credit cuts

He's not a fan

Posted By on Mon, Apr 13, 2015 at 3:37 PM

Savage dishes. - BIANCA MÜLLER
  • Savage dishes.

In a blog post published today on, 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.

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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Nova Scotia Film Tax Credit slashed by Liberals by 75%

Snoop Dogg tried.

Posted By on Thu, Apr 9, 2015 at 1:00 AM

The NS film industry is looking at one hell of a death scene.
  • The NS film industry is looking at one hell of a death scene.

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.

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Monday, November 10, 2014

Outlier Film Festival lineup announced

Strange films from around the world in Halifax Nov 27-29

Posted By on Mon, Nov 10, 2014 at 4:25 PM

Kung Fu Elliot
  • Kung Fu Elliot
Outlier Film Festival brings "acclaimed, strange, and remarkable films" from all over the world to a select few venues across the city from November 27-29, this year featuring What We Do In The Shadows, Wetlands, Kung Fu Elliot, Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead and more. The festival specifically explores the genres of cult, fantasy, experimental, documentary, horror, and science fiction into a program that delights the oddball film fan in you. Festival passes and tickets are available here.

Here's the complete lineup, start penciling in your dayplanners now and if you still have a dayplanner that's really cute.

The Creeping Garden - 2014 |United Kingdom|Documentary
"An absolute must ‐ see." - Voir
November 27th | 7pm | Halifax North Memorial Library (2285 Gottingen Street) The Creeping Garden is a feature length documentary exploring the work of fringe scientists, mycologists and artists, and their relationship with the extraordinary plasmodial slime mould. Presented with short film Palimpset.

What We Do In The Shadows - 2014 | New Zealand | Comedy
"An instant classic..." -
November 27th | 9pm | The Bus Stop Theatre (2203 Gottingen Street) Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords) and Taika Waititi (Eagle vs Shark, Boy) write, direct, and star in this outstandingly fresh mockumentary that follows a trio of New Zealand vampires—ranging from 183 to 8,000 years old—as they struggle to adapt to contemporary society. Presented with short film Day 40.

Fateful Findings - 2014 | United States | Fantasy
"An oddball, lunatic, masterpiece..." -
November 27th | 11pm | The Bus Stop Theatre (2203 Gottingen Street) Fateful Findings is a truly odd and wonderful cinematic experience that The Seattle International Film Festival called, “David Lynch meets Tom Wiseau."

The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears - 2014 | Belgium | Horror
"...a gorgeous movie..." -
November 28th | 6:30pm | Museum of Natural History (1747 Summer Street) In The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears, Belgium co-directors/writers Helene Catlet and Bruno Forani have crafted a psychological horror as much inspired by ‘60/’70s Italian giallo films as it is entirely original. Presented with short film Elsewhere, the Survivors.

R100 - 2014 | Japan | Comedy
"A delightful collision of humour and self-reflexive philosophizing" - Twitch
November 28th | 8:40pm | Museum of Natural History (1747 Summer Street) Director Hitoshi Matsumoto’s latest feature is an avant-garde BDSM flick about a furniture salesman who grieves for his wife through sexual escapism. Presented with short film Burnt Grass.

Wetlands - 2014 | Germany | Comedy
"Crass, vulgar, and brilliant." - San Francisco Chronicle
November 28th | 10:50pm | Museum of Natural History (1747 Summer Street) Wetlands artfully blends shock with sweetness. Adapted from Charlotte Roche’s bestselling and controversial novel of the same name, the film follows the story of Helen, played by the mesmerizing and wonderfully uninhibited Swiss-born actress Carla Juri. Presented with short film ((NULL)).

Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley's Island of Dr. Moreau 2014 | United States |Documentary
"...a must-watch." - Topless Robot
November 29th | 4:00pm | The Bus Stop Theatre (2203 Gottingen Street) A behind the scenes chronicle of how clash of vision, bad creative decisions, lack of interest, and really bad weather plagued the disastrous production of the infamous 1996 remake of The Island of Dr. Moreau. Presented with short film FANFARE for MARCHING BAND.

Kung Fu Elliot - 2014 | Canada | Documentary |
Featuring Q & A with driectors Matthew Bauckman & Jaret Belliveau
"...the film catches lightning in a bottle..." - High-Def Digest
November 29th | 6:30pm | The Bus Stop Theatre (2203 Gottingen Street) Elliot "White Lightning" Scott plans on becoming Canada's first action hero with his low-budget karate epic, Blood Fight. This surreal documentary captures two years in the lives of a passionate amateur filmmaker, his supportive partner Linda, and their outrageous cast as they all try to realize their dreams.

TV Carnage
November 29th | 9:15pm | The Bus Stop Theatre (2203 Gottingen Street)
For over 12 years, TV Carnage has been at the forefront of incredibly humorous video collages. It is the innovator of a popularized movement that arranges glimpses into brilliant and hypnotic stories that examine and satirize media’s involvement in today’s evolution of popular culture. TV Carnage's creator Derrick Beckles also currently hosts Adult Swim's Hot Package, is a producer and correspondent for Vice TV, and recently appeared on Comedy Central's Drunk History.

Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead - 2014 | Norway / Iceland | Horror/Comedy
"Dementedly enjoyable..." - Entertainment Weekly
November 29th | 11:50pm | The Bus Stop Theatre (2203 Gottingen Street)
If the worst day of your life consisted of accidentally killing your girlfriend with an axe, chainsawing your arm off, and watching in horror as your closest friends were devoured by a zombified Nazi battalion, you'd have to assume that things couldn't get much worse. In Martin's case, that was only the beginning. Presented with short film Saving Face.

For more information on Outlier, see

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