If this past year-and-a-half has you missing the movies—realizing that maybe the best part of a horror film is the whole audience holding its breath, or that a comedy just hits different when someone in the back row has a gregarious laugh—you’re not alone. But you’ll also find buttered popcorn-tinged solace in the return of FIN Atlantic International Film Festival, which is offering a mix of online and in-person screenings from September 16-23. Yesterday, the venerable event announced its full 2021 slate—and we couldn’t be more excited.
Last year saw a major focus on Atlantic Canadian filmmakers, and lots of local film industry favourites will still have their chance to shine for the festival’s 41st year—including the opening gala screening of Wildhood, the an uplifting and inspiring coming-of-age story from Two-Spirit L’nu filmmaker Bretten Hannam. But, in true FIN fashion, people can also expect to see a wide range of buzzy films from at least 15 different countries (it’s not for nothing that we’re the second stop on the international film fest circuit after Toronto International Film Fest).
Other Atlantic Canadians also have prominent spotlights at this year’s festival including two gala presentations. One of those includes Shelley Thompson’s feature directorial debut, Dawn, Her Dad & The Tractor. It’s a story where a young, transgender woman from Nova Scotia returns to the province to mourn her late mother and repair her relationship with her estranged father. (Also on our must-see list? Juanita Peters’ 8:37 Rebirth, a flick tracing two unspooling and entangled lives marred by violence.)
The lineup’s also stacked with tons of other Atlantic Canadian films, and some Nova Scotians might recognize familiar locations or stories in several programs. The festival includes local films such as Hannah Minzloff’s documentary Dementia, Dad and Me, Michael Ray Fox’s Halifax-filmed horror Shush, Jonathan Keijser’s Peace by Chocolate and short film I Hate You from duo Koumbie and Taylor Olson, the latter of whom swept FIN festival’s awards last year with four wins.
One of the most decorated films at this year’s fest is Julia Ducournau’s Titane which is set to screen twice. The body horror-thriller film won the Palme d’Or, the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Making its east coast debut, it’s easily one of the most shocking films of 2021: Titane follows the story of a woman who becomes pregnant after having sex with a car.
The festival is jam-packed with more than 150 captivating films, and this year’s box office opens on September 1 at 10am. Find out more on the festival’s website.