Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Atlantic Film Festival is FIN it to win it

The annual fest announces its new name, plans to take over Park Lane.

Posted By on Wed, Jun 21, 2017 at 2:12 PM

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The Atlantic Film Festival is launching into its 37th year with a new name and big plans. From here on out, the annual event will be referred to as FIN: Atlantic International Film Festival.

The festival teamed up with Revolve for the rebranding. FIN doesn’t stand for anything, but festival director Wayne Carter says its meaning is dual: It references Halifax’s connection to the ocean, as well as giving a nod to the closing titles of international films.

Ironically, says Carter, FIN is representing a new beginning for the festival.

“For us, it’s an opportunity to clarify our message.”

In an effort to make the films more accessible, FIN is partnering with Cineplex to take over Park Lane theatre for the duration of the festival. Every screen will be home to a movie that’s part of FIN.

“It’s very exciting for us that people might potentially come in off the street, wanna see a movie, look at the schedule of films” and become part of the FIN audience “by accident,” says Carter.

“Anybody can come. We want everybody who has any kind of love for movies to be a part of the film festival.”

In the same vein, Carter hopes to encourage more young people to take in FIN.

“If this gives younger people an opportunity to re-look at the festival,” he says, “that’s part of the initiative.”

“We know a lot of the stuff that we show has great resonance with young folks, but we’re not sure they see us that way.”

The festival’s opening night film has yet to be decided—that announcement is expected in July—but it will be in conjunction with Movie Nights Across Canada, a national program of Canadian film screenings happening for Canada 150.

FIN is announcing its full festival line-up at the Lord Nelson Hotel on August 16. This year’s festival will take place from Sept. 14-21.

For the future, Carter is setting his sights on the possibility of digital aspects to the festival so people outside Halifax can take part.

“I’m looking forward to the day where maybe I can issue you a digital pass,” he says. “So for a week during the festival, you can maybe be sitting in Corner Brook, but experiencing all the Atlantic content on your iPad, or on your Apple TV—or however you choose to watch content.”

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Our Common Woods resurrects trees through art

Posted By on Tue, Jun 20, 2017 at 1:54 PM

"elm elm maple elm" by Theo Heffler - CHRISTINE ORESKOVICH
  • "elm elm maple elm" by Theo Heffler
  • Christine Oreskovich

Our Common Woods
Wednesday, June 21 at 10am
The Halifax Common

Trees cut down during the North Park intersection redesign have been given a second life thanks to a new public art project.

Our Common Woods is made up of five different art pieces on the Halifax Common. These wooden sculptures are made from those cut trees—which, in ordinary circumstances, would be going to a landfill or used as firewood.

“People are meant to touch with them and engage with them physically and spiritually, or however they want to,” says Kim Thompson of The Deanery Project, which organized Our Common Woods in partnership with the municipality. The Deanery Project is a non-profit which focuses on the environment as well as arts.

“As soon as they were on the ground, people were finding ways to connect—like, fit themselves into the various pieces,” Thompson says of the sculptures.

Some of The Deanery Project’s first pieces of work involved making benches and a solar wood kiln from trees that were cut to make room for Dalhousie’s ocean sciences building.

“There’s a legacy piece and an opportunity to talk about our urban forests in that context.”

The city got wind of that project and wanted to do something similar in the wake of the roundabout construction, so Thompson got ahold of the felled trees and transported them to the Eastern Shore before the work began.

Choosing artists was “a curated process through people that had been working either with the Deanery or had experience working with live edge wood and doing value added projects.”

Art by Alan Syliboy, Erin Phillip, Theo Heffler are currently on display on the Common. Steve Sekerak’s “Bench” will be installed on Wednesday, while Gary Staple’s “Tree Ghost” will be installed over the weekend.

“Kim [Thompson] was sort of pushing these for things to be objects of play,” says Heffler, who sculpted “elm elm maple elm.”

“I felt there was also validity in things of wonder. When we look at a tree—this large object—we look up to it and it gives us a sense of wonder, or greatness or largeness.”

Heffler originally planned on his piece standing vertically, but he realized a16-foot tall structure was impractical.

“So, essentially we just said, ‘Well, what if we lay it down?’” 

It worked.

“I liked that idea, because it’s sort of like this idea of the tree standing up and then it falling down, which was very much what happened to the trees.”

Alan Syliboy brought different facets of Mi'kmaw culture to his piece. His “Mi’kmaw Sign Posts” were created to represent the eight districts of Mi’kma’ki. The posts are in the shape of canoe paddles, which Syliboy says are “symbols of how we lived in this land.”

“That was our main transportation so it was very critical to living in every part of this province.”

Together, the eight paddles form a Wigwam. A replica of the Mi’kmaq eight point star petroglyph has been placed at the Wigwam’s centre.

“I think it’s gonna make a lot of difference to Mi’kmaq people that come to Halifax,” says Syliboy. “But everybody in general will benefit from this.”

The official Common Woods unveiling will take place tomorrow morning as part of HRM’s National Aboriginal Day ceremonies.

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Black Cop feature film crowdfunds post-production costs

Posted By on Wed, Jun 14, 2017 at 4:42 PM

  • via Indiegogo

The people behind a feature film about a Black police officer are crowdfunding the movie’s post-production costs in hopes of having it finished for festival season. 

The aptly named Black Cop is directed by Cory Bowles, based on the same premise as his short film of the same name. The short version recently screened at this year’s Halifax Independent Filmmakers' Festival.

Black Cop shows Ronnie Rowe as the title role in this satire-drama hybrid, portraying a Black police officer who becomes frustrated with systemic police violence. He responds by spending a day “targeting the privileged community.”

The film was shot over 12 days in Halifax last winter.

The Indiegogo campaign has five days left to reach its goal.

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Sobey Art Award shortlister Ursula Johnson weaves cultural narratives

Posted By on Tue, Jun 13, 2017 at 9:23 AM

Ursula Johnson performing Elmiet - KRISTA COMEAU
  • Ursula Johnson performing Elmiet
  • Krista Comeau

Ursula Johnson could be the first Atlantic Canadian to bring home one of the country’s most distinguished art awards. The shortlist of nominees for the 2017 Sobey Art Award were announced on Tuesday, out of a list of 25 artists from across Canada. Johnson hails from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

The Sobey Art Award is considered among the highest recognitions for Canadian artists under the age of 40. The awards present an opportunity for young artists to exhibit their work at the Art Museum at the University of Toronto and receive a $50,000 grand prize.

Johnson’s Indigenous heritage serves as inspiration in her work. She is the first Mi'kmaq woman to graduate from the Nova Scotia college of Art and Design. Her multidisciplinary performance and installation art explores the ideas of identity, ancestry and cultural practice through a combination of contemporary artform and traditional Mi’kmaq techniques like basket weaving.

Other nominees on the 2017 shortlist include performance and video artist Bridget Moser (Ontario), multimedia artist Divya Mehra (Prairies and the North), photo and text-based artist Raymond Boisjoly (West Coast and the Yukon) and photo artist and videographer Jacynthe Carrier (Quebec).

The 2017 Sobey Art Award winner will be announced on October 25, 2017.
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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Xara Choral Theatre searches for stories from the Halifax Explosion

Do you have a story about a woman in the Halifax Explosion?

Posted By on Tue, Jun 6, 2017 at 4:12 PM

  • Nick Rudnicki

Xara Choral Theatre Ensemble is calling for stories of women involved in relief efforts after the Halifax Explosion. 

The Hours Turn to Nothing, Xara’s collaboration with author Ami McKay, premiered in Halifax in April. Despite the evidence that women were needed and present following the explosion, they’ve largely been excluded from the narrative.

“A number of first-hand accounts exist from medical personnel; however, stories of women and children are frequently left out of the historical record,” says a press release from Xara.

The ensemble “wants to help correct the oversights of history” and The Hours Turn to Nothing is an effort to pay tribute to those women. It spotlights their stories—specifically, those of the midwives and nurses who travelled to Halifax in the aftermath of disaster—through an interdisciplinary choral performance. The show is touring across the Maritimes over the summer.

The ensemble is now asking anyone with a family story about a woman aiding in the explosion relief efforts to contact Stephanie Kincade.

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Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Halifax Fringe Festival wants you to come off the beaten track

The Atlantic Fringe Festival announces name change, festival lineup.

Posted By on Thu, Jun 1, 2017 at 12:04 PM

Cinq à Sept at Good Robot
June 1, 5-7pm
Good Robot Brewing

The Atlantic Fringe Festival is going into its 27th year with a new name: The Halifax Fringe Festival. Executive director Lee-Anne Poole believes it will better represent the event, which she calls “one of the city’s biggest festivals that a lot of people don’t know about.”

When the fringe theatre event first began, it was the only of its kind in Atlantic Canada. Poole says that’s no longer the case, and since this one has always taken place in Halifax, it makes sense to say so.

It’s not really a rebranding, though: “We are exactly who we’ve always been,” explains Poole. “Our mission and values in the festival are the same.”

That mission is to put the spotlight on theatrical performances outside the mainstream, and hopefully provide a gateway for people who might be intimidated by theatre.

“There isn’t a ticket price that’s over $15.”

This year’s line-up is made up of more than 50 productions, including 20 touring shows. Among them is #KanderAndEbb by Torontonian Ryan G. Hinds. The comedy cabaret is dropping by fresh from Orlando Fringe.

Then there’s the Atlantic Canadian debut of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, a ‘70s-inspired rock musical. Allister MacDonald stars as the title character while Geordie Brown directs.

Keeping with the rock n’ roll theme, Rock n Roll Saved my Life is expected to be another highlight show. This one-woman performance is a dark comedy, “bring your own venue” show presented at Gus’ Pub. Half of the proceeds go to Avalon Sexual Assault Centre.

“It’s one of the festivals that like, until you’re in the know, you don’t know about it—because theatre happens in dark rooms behind closed doors,” says Poole. Much of the event promotion depends on word of mouth, and the result it something of a bottleneck effect.

“We start out slow, and then by the end weekend we’re selling out and turning people away.”

Fringe is aiming to up its promotion game this year with the help of a GoFundMe page. The $10,000 goal will go towards festival guides, venue signage, pop-up banners and the like. They also hope to hire an outreach coordinator.

“We’d really like to get the word out to Halifax that this fringe festival is for them.”

Tonight, the fest is raising a glass to it’s 27th year at Good Robot Brewing. All are welcome.

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Friday, May 19, 2017

2017 Atlantic Book Awards winners

Posted By on Fri, May 19, 2017 at 9:46 AM

Sky Pig, by Jan L. Coates, illustrated by Suzanne Del Rizzo - VIA PAJAMAPRESS.CA
  • Sky Pig, by Jan L. Coates, illustrated by Suzanne Del Rizzo
  • via

Here's a bit of good Canadian literary news for once: The ten winners of the 2017 Atlantic Book Awards were announced last night in a gala ceremony held in Paul O’Regan Hall at the Halifax Central Library. Hosted by CBC Radio’s Angela Antle, the gala concludes this year’s Atlantic Book Festival, which ran from May 11-19 in all four Atlantic Provinces.

The winners are:

1. Alistair MacLeod Prize for Short Fiction

Willem De Kooning’s Paintbrush by Kerry Lee Powell, published by HarperCollins Canada

2. Ann Connor Brimer Award for Children’s Literature

Into the Wasteland, by Lesley Choyce, published by Red Deer Press

3. Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association’s Best Atlantic-Published Book Award

Goose Lane Editions for Lucy Jarvis: Even Stones Have Life by Roslyn Rosenfeld.

4. Atlantic Book Award for Scholarly Writing

Brand Command: Canadian Politics and Democracy in the Age of Message Control by Alex Marland, published by University of British Columbia Press

5. The Robbie Robertson Dartmouth Book Award (Non-Fiction),

Viola Desmond’s Canada: A History of Black and Racial Segregation in the Promised Land by Graham Reynolds with Wanda Robson, published by Fernwood Publishing

6. Democracy 250 Atlantic Book Award for Historical Writing

Sable Island in Black and White, by Jill Martin Bouteillier, published by Nimbus Publishing

7. Jim Connors Dartmouth Book Award (Fiction)

Advocate, by Darren Greer, published by Cormorant Books

8. Lillian Shepherd Award for Excellence in Illustration

Suzanne Del Rizzo for Sky Pig, written by Jan L. Coates, published by Pajama Press

9. Margaret and John Savage First Book Award

Notes from a Feminist Killjoy: Essays on Everyday Life by Erin Wunker, published by Bookthug

10. Atlantic Book Awards’ Pioneer Award

Errol Sharpe, owner and founder of Fernwood Publishing. Sharpe worked with Rocky Jones before his death to make sure his story would be shared, and is now working with Mi’kmaw Elder Doug Knockwood to bring his life to the printed page.
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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, May 16, 2017

Documentary dissects film industry issues ahead of election

Without Consultation looks at the ripple effects of the tax credit cuts.

Posted By on Tue, May 16, 2017 at 12:48 PM

Fateh Ahmed (right) and co-producer John Saunders (left). - JOHN SAUNDERS
  • Fateh Ahmed (right) and co-producer John Saunders (left).
  • John Saunders

“Change will never be delivered to you on a golden plate,” says filmmaker Fateh Ahmed. “If you want to experience change you need to pursue it.”

That’s what Ahmed is trying to do through his documentary Without Consultation. For the past two years, he has gathered footage and conducted interviews about the Film Industry Tax Credit cuts.

In 2015, the province chopped the film tax credit by 75 percent, meaning the credit would only cover 25 percent of eligible production costs—compared to 100 percent in the past. The decision was immediately met with criticism from workers in the industry.

Ahmed’s work started off by filming some of the rallies and demonstrations which followed.

“My intention at the beginning was not actually to make a film or make a documentary,” he says. “I was just pretty much observing and just being part of the huge buzz that was being created at the time.”

Ironically, it was the beginning of a film about films made during a time when it’s difficult to make films, “with a flat zero budget,” says Ahmed.

He interviewed more than 25 folks both in and outside of the film industry, from politicians to business owners. It was important, he says, to tell a fair story. Actor John Dunsworth (Jim Lahey from The Trailer Park Boys and Dave Teagues from Haven), filmmaker Cory Bowles and (now outgoing) independent MLA Andrew Younger are among those featured.

“This film actually provides an equal voice and an opportunity to all,” says Ahmed.

There’s no way Ahmed could have known his film would be released to the public just ahead of a provincial election, but he hopes it will help voters to make an informed decision when they go to the polls on May 30.

Just over two weeks ago, Nova Scotia NDP leader Gary Burrill announced that he would reinstate the film tax credit if elected. PC leader Jamie Baillee also pledged to revive the credit last week.

Although the cuts have caused a number of film industry workers to pack up and leave, Ahmed is hopeful.

“At the end of the day, we still have an industry,” he says, pointing out that most of the people he’s interviewed are staying put and trying to make it work. “We’re not giving up. Governments come and go, our passion never leaves. We’re here to stay.”

Without Consultation will be available online for free on May 20.

“It’s a story many lessons could be learned from.”

Without Consultation (Trailer) from Core Film Productions on Vimeo.

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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

A John Mulaney comedy mixtape

Posted By on Tue, May 9, 2017 at 2:59 PM

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know John Mulaney is coming to the Rebecca Cohn in a couple days as part of his Kid Gorgeous tour. Both of his Thursday shows are sold out, so we've taken it upon ourselves to provide you with some laughs at home (or, if you did manage to snatch up some tickets, consider this a primer). You're welcome.

On Real Estate agents: The true heroes.

On Donald Trump:

On his wife:

On spam emails:

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Screen Nova Scotia rolls out award nominees

Third annual gala hosted at Casino Nova Scotia.

Posted By on Thu, Apr 27, 2017 at 6:02 PM

Ashley McKenzie's Werewolf is nominated for Best Feature Film. - STEVE WADDEN
  • Ashley McKenzie's Werewolf is nominated for Best Feature Film.
  • Steve Wadden

Screen Nova Scotia Awards Gala
Thursday, May 4
Casino Nova Scotia

The names are in.

The nominees were announced for the third annual Screen Nova Scotia Awards Gala. Comedy duo Bette MacDonald and Maynard Morrison will be hamming it up as the hosts this year.

“These awards celebrate the talent, creativity and vision that are the trademarks of Nova Scotia film, television, and digital animation,” says Erika Beatty, executive director of Screen Nova Scotia, in a press release.

The awards include a new addition—the Community Recognition award—celebrating valued members of the local film industry. First up for the award is Dave Myatt, who served as a link between film and the south end of Halifax. He worked at the Atlantic School of Theology, found in that neighbourhood, for over 17 years.

Nominees were presented by Screen Nova Scotia and Digital Animators of Nova Scotia (DANS). Nominees for the ACTRA Awards have yet to be announced.

Screen Nova Scotia Nominees

Best Feature Film:
Ariyah & Tristan's Inevitable Break-Up (Koumbie)
Exit Thread (Winter Light Productions, Paul Kimball)
Weirdos (Hold Fast Pictures, Bruce McDonald)
Werewolf (Grassfire Films, Ashley McKenzie)

Best Documentary Film:
My Life So Far (Nova Productions, Alan Collins)
Perfume War (Loud Baby Productions, Michael Melski)
Play Your Gender (Stephanie Clattenburg)
Quebec My Country Mon Pays (John Walker Productions, John Walker)

Best Short Film:
Black Cop (Black Rabbit Entertainment, Cory Bowles)
Fish (Heather Young)
How You Turned Into A Fish (Jenna Marks Films, Jenna Marks)
Hustle & Heart (Koumbie)

Best Animated Series:
Kulipari – Army of Frogs (Cartoon Conrad)
Little People (DHX Media)
Pickle & Peanut (Copernicus Studio)
Teen Titans Go (Copernicus Studio)

Best Television Series:
Mr. D (Topsail Entertainment)
This Hour Has 22 Minutes (DHX – Hour Productions)
Trailer Park Boys (Sunnyvale Productions)
Trailer Park Boys: Out of the Park (TPB OTP Productions)

Film Crew Excellence Award:
Angela Murphy-Production Designer
Sandra MacMurray-Props Builder
Sarah Byrne-Picture Editor
William Gerhardt-Greens Person

Digital Animators of Nova Scotia (DANS) Award for Outstanding Achievement in Animation:
DataMine (Animator Tim Tracey; Tim Tracey Animation)
Gummi (Animator Jeff Smith; DHX Studios)
Kulipari – Army of Frogs (Animator Jered MacPhee; Cartoon Conrad)
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Viewing Vorarlberg

Travelling exhibition comes to Halifax.

Posted By on Thu, Apr 27, 2017 at 5:40 PM


Getting Things Done: Evolution of the Built Environment in Vorarlberg.

Dalhousie University’s School of Architecture
May 1-21, 7pm

Can’t visit Austria? Don’t worry, a small piece of the country is coming to Halifax.

It’s a travelling exhibition called, "Getting Things Done: Evolution of the Built Environment in Vorarlberg." It focuses on architecture and emphasizes the building culture in the State of Vorarlberg, Austria.

Over the last half a century Vorarlberg has been gaining international attention for its innovative designs and buildings. Invested in young designers who have a traditional eye, they focus on being ecologically friendly while moulding their work around Vorarlberg’s alpine landscape.

The presentation will include a large variety of photos and photographic illusions. If anyone has questions feel free to ask the exhibit curator and project leader, Wolfgang Fiel. He’ll be talking about the building movement.

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Neptune Theatre lifts the curtain on its 55th season

Line-up revealed at Thursday's launch.

Posted By on Thu, Apr 20, 2017 at 4:12 PM

The cast of Stan Rogers: A Matter of Heart performs. - REBECCA DINGWELL
  • The cast of Stan Rogers: A Matter of Heart performs.
  • Rebecca Dingwell

As Once enters its last weeks onstage, Neptune Theatre shows no signs of slowing down. After the production ends on May 28, Neptune will start up renovations: The first major changes to the theatre since the “New Neptune Project” in the '90s.

On top of that, July will welcome a summer show to kick off the 55th season. Perhaps the most Nova Scotian musical you could think of—Stan Rogers: A Matter of Heart—takes the stage and runs until September.

Those who love a Christmas classic (and cry-fest too) can take in a stage adaptation of It’s A Wonderful Life During the holiday season. Musicians such as Port Cities, Makayla Lynn and Janice Isabel Jackson are part of the year’s bonus features.

In addition to its own productions, Neptune is once again sharing its venue with smaller companies. The Villain’s Theatre was announced as the most recent Open Spaces winner with its production of The Blazing World. Open Spaces “provides access to space and technical support for local theatre companies free of charge,” says Rebecca Hiltz Leblanc, president of Neptune Theatre Foundation.

The 2017/18 series will be capped off with a story of one young woman, her mother and three possible fathers. The wacky journey leading up to protagonist Sophie’s wedding day is swept up in a wave of ABBA songs. I know I probably don’t even have to say the title, but it’s none other than Mamma Mia!

Donna Garner and Laura Caswell perform "Dancing Queen." - REBECCA DINGWELL
  • Donna Garner and Laura Caswell perform "Dancing Queen."
  • Rebecca Dingwell

Summer Presentation
Stan Rogers: A Matter of Heart

Holiday Production
It’s A Wonderful Life by Frank Capra, adapted by George Pothitos 

Studio Series
Salt-Water Moon by David French
Half-Cracked: The Legend of Sugar Mary by Mary Colin Chisholm
In A World Created by a Drunken God by Drew Hayden Taylor

Mainstage Series
Seeds by Annabel Soutar
Snake in the Grass by Alan Aybourn
Jonas and Barry in the Home by Norm Foster
The Mountaintop by Katori Hall
Mamma Mia! by Catherine Johnson

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Get spiffy for SPFF awards

Posted By on Wed, Apr 19, 2017 at 4:42 PM

A peek at a past year's SPFF Awards
  • A peek at a past year's SPFF Awards
SmartPhone Film Festival Screening & Awards Party

Friday, April 21, 7-10pm
Paul O'Regan Hall, Halifax Central Library

It’s that time of year again: We’re getting ready to share some big stories told through some small devices. On Friday, you can hit up the 3rd annual SmartPhone Film Festival awards show—affectionally called “the Spiffies.” Popcorn’s on us.

A slew of submissions came through this year—80 mini movies were narrowed down to 41 for the screening. We’d love to show you all of them, but that would be a long night.

Films in the Youth category begin at 5pm (that portion of the screening is free) and we'll launch into the main event at seven.

The SmartPhone Film Festival is run out of The Coast’s offices. Each director of a submitted film receives free tickets to the screening. If you didn’t enter this year, it’s never too early to pick up your phone or tablet and start planning for the next.

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Sobey Art Award longlist announced

Posted By on Wed, Apr 19, 2017 at 2:37 PM

Melanie Colosimo: Transmission Tower I, 2016 - Air mesh fabric, cut-out, 457.2 x 295.74 cm - Installation view at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia via - STEVE FARMER
  • Melanie Colosimo: Transmission Tower I, 2016Air mesh fabric, cut-out, 457.2 x 295.74 cmInstallation view at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia via
  • Steve Farmer

The longlisted artists for the $50,000 Sobey Art Award—Canada's pre-eminent contemporary art award—have been announced and of course we are celebrating extremely hard on behalf of the five Atlantic artists: Eleanor King, Graeme Patterson, Lisa Lipton, Melanie Colosimo and Ursula Johnson (complete list of artists below).

The prize is given annually to an artist aged 40 or under who has exhibited in a public or commercial art gallery within 18 months of being nominated. A $50,000 prize will be awarded to the Sobey Art Award winner, along with a $10,000 prize to each of the shortlisted artists, and a $500 prize to each of the remaining longlisted artists.

This is the award's 14th year, and in case anyone out there is listening, an Atlantic artist has NEVER WON the Sobey Art Award. And yet we are the only region to call all plastic bags "Sobeys bags". Anyway, I've said it before but I have a good feeling about this year.

Eleanor King
Graeme Patterson
Lisa Lipton
Melanie Colosimo
Ursula Johnson

Annie Baillargeon
Dan Brault
Jacynthe Carrier
Kim Waldron
Ludovic Boney

Bridget Moser
Erika DeFreitas
Jean-Paul Kelly
Nadia Belerique
Sameer Farooq

Amy Malbeuf
Divya Mehra
Erica Eyres
Kara Uzelman
The Ephemerals

Babak Golkar
James Nizam
Jeneen Frei Njootli
Raymond Boisjoly
Rebecca Brewer

The shortlist of five artists will be announced  June 6, and the winner will be announced October 25 in Toronto. Trust me, I shall be hitting the Canadian art meme accounts hard this afternoon.
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In Print This Week

Vol 25, No 4
June 22, 2017

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