Film students unite

Tara Thorne takes a picture of the local arts scene.

The second annual Halifax Student Film Festival drops on November 23 at Saint Mary’s University. Organized and hosted by SMU’s film society, the one-night event offers up as many films made by Halifax students as it can get, probably.

“It was really long last year because we didn’t want to turn down any films,” says organizer and society presedent Nelson MacDonald. “But this year it depends on the submissions. It’ll probably end up being as long as last year—two, two-and-a-half hours.”

The inaugural fest was put together in about two months in 2005. “We had about 30 short films, running from one minute to 15 minutes,” says MacDonald. “We had a really good response from schools like NSCC and the Centre for Art and Technology. And we got a surprising number of submissions from Saint Mary’s, a school that people wouldn’t think has many filmmakers. Saint Mary’s isn’t recognized for much other than football. A lot of people were surprised from the other schools.”

The submissions ran the gamut of genres, says MacDonald. “We got a lot of mockumentaries, and I think they’re kind of easier to make. We got a few serious movies, but a lot of mockumentaries, documentaries, a few experimental things. We were happy that it was very varied. This year we have a few documentaries, a couple of comedies. I think a lot of young people are into making quirky films.”

This year’s contest will be judged by SMU film studies faculty, with prizes going to the top three entries. “The organizers all just really like to watch film,” says MacDonald of the festival’s existence, “and it’s really fun doing the school year to put energy into something other than just reading your books. We like the idea that we can spur some people on into making films to put into the festival. It’s just fun.”

The Halifax Student Film Festival starts at 7pm on November 23 in the newly renovated McNally Theatre in the main building on SMU’s campus, near the end of Robie Street. Two bucks gets you in and the first 50 people get a free rental from Video Difference.

Sweet photos

A pair of Coast-affiliated artists are having very good weeks.

First, Halifax photographer Francesca Tallone has been chosen by New York magazine Surface as one of eight photographers in its ninth annual Avant Guardian Project, which “seeks out and celebrates the next wave of rising stateside stars who are poised to push the boundaries of commercial photography…searching for and supporting emerging American talents whose distinctive visual sensibilities are sure to redefine the aesthetic standards of the indsutry.” (Tallone is American, if you’re wondering.)

The magazine chose four photos from Tallone’s series Giving Up the Ghost which just ended a run in the windows of Sherry Lynn Jollymore and Jayson Melanson’s store Lost & Found at 2383 Agricola. The photos can be seen on the magazine’s website at

Rebecca Kraatz, author of the beloved House of Sugar (and beloved of Joel Plaskett), which used to occupy this very page, will release a real live book of the comic on November 16.

“I always wanted to be a writer or poet,” she says. “But I also like drawing. A lot of my childhood and teenage-hood drawings had words. Comics combine these two quite nicely.” The book will be the inagaural release of Tulip Tree Press, the publishing company of local comic star Hope Larson. The launch of House of Sugar is from 8-10pm at Argyle Fine Art, 1869 Upper Water. Books will be $10 and Kraatz will be on hand to sign them up.

Dance dance

It’s been a hot month for dance and the hits keep coming on November 18 with Gala Rouge, a fundraiser for Mocean Dance. The company—Carolle Crooks, Sarah Di Quinzio, Sara Harrigan, Alicia Orr MacDonald and Lisa Phinney—will perform, of course, and the show will also features guest performances by Ruth-Ellen Kroll Jackson, Henry Jackson, Barry Leonard, Elise Vanderborght, Lulu LaRude—who just turned 25, ahem—and Big Fish.

The show begins at 7:30pm in the McInnes Room in the Dalhousie SUB. Tickets are $40 and available by calling Halifax Dance at 422-2006.

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