Soon, his desk will be occupied by Martha Cooley. The announcement feels like a changing of the guard, thanks to Cooley's deep ties to Halifax's indie filmmaker scene (her resume boasts 15 years at the Atlantic Filmmakers Co-operative, where she oversaw the Halifax Independent Filmmakers Festival; she has also spent time on the boards of Screen Nova Scotia and Women In Film and Television-Atlantic).
"The great thing is, I do have that depth of knowledge of the independent filmmaking community, which in Halifax is very strong and vibrant. And having been in that for the past 15 years, I feel like I know a lot of the players; People know me; I think there's going to be a sort of a friendliness— I'll be a friendly face, certainly, to a lot of people, which I think can be positive," Cooley tells The Coast—adding she has volunteered at FIN in the past and has attended the festival as a filmmaker. ("I think that's always really helpful, too: when you've had multi-pronged vantage points on an organization or an event," she says.)
Her tenure will begin with the fest's return to in-person programming after two years of COVID taking the festival online. "The festival, I hope, will have a closer and more friendly relationship with the local community and local industry," Cooley adds. "I haven't started yet, so I can't fully say what things will shift. But there's also an interesting opportunity post-COVID, because the festival and other events have been online for two years. I think there's an opportunity to come back in in a slightly different way or revisit some of the ways we've always done things."
Cooley officially begins her role at FIN on April 25—and this year's fest is slated from September 15-22.