How to throw the ultimate Halifax movie night

Thanks to AFCOOP’s archives, it’s never been easier to binge local film.

Maybe it’s the humidity that has you retreating into the welcoming cave that is your living room, or maybe you’re a bit tight on cash right now but still want to have a sweet summer soireé. Maybe you got really into film during the pandemic, making the most of your increased screen time. Or maybe you’ve always wanted to know more about movies but never knew where to dive in. The answer is right here, in the Atlantic Filmmakers Cooperative’s new, online archives.

Indie flicks can be hard to track down, the enigmatic Telfar bag of visual mediums. For local films, it can be an uphill battle making it onto the screen at a Cineplex, often having to prove they’ll sell a certain number of tickets before the mega-chain will agree to give the movie a screen. Then, once the limited run is over, it can feel like a poof-and-it’s-gone: While if you know what title you want to see, many can be googled and a stream rented, what’s been missing from the local indie film watching experience (until now) has been a centralized platform full of made-here movies, a one-stop portal that brings the films to the viewer. When AFCOOP launched its online archives back in June, though, it began filling this gap. The portal features a curated collection of the month, often compiled by a local auteur. It also has a frictionless database you can scroll, with synopses available for each of the 65-and-growing films.

The archive—which is currently comprised of shorts—keeps films from getting lost in disparate corners of the internet, but it also acts as a preservation of small works that had yet to be digitized, kind of a local answer to the prestigious, film-nerd streamer the Criterion Channel. It’s also completely free and features gems from local directors of note like Heather Young (who has shown works at TIFF) and legendary Cape Breton documentarian Neal Livingston. Some of the titles date back decades, too.

Most of the movies, of course, will be titles you’ve never heard of in your life—but really, isn’t that hidden-gem-in-the-waiting part of the appeal? (The answer to this rhetorical question is yes.)

click to enlarge How to throw the ultimate Halifax movie night
A still from The Party, a film in AFCOOP's free, online archive.

So, to make this the ultimate movie night of your Halifax dreams, here’s the move: Text a handful of movie and art-loving pals, and, depending on how democratic you’re feeling, let the group vote on a handful of titles for your screening.

Your shopping list for the party will be short: A white, king-sized bedsheet, a HDMI cable and a projector, which you can rent or score one on Kijiji for less than $100. Get everyone on the invite list to bring their favourite movie snack while you spring for a bulk box of popcorn—bonus points if you pick up those cute popcorn sleeves often sold near the kernels at the grocery store.

Pin a white sheet up on one side of your living room, taking down any artwork first so the sheet is as flush to the wall as possible, with your couch and projector facing it. Queue up your chosen AFCOOP archive titles on your laptop in the form of multiple browser tabs, ready to be maximized. Connect your laptop, projector and some speakers (a bluetooth or even the speakers from your record player will work) and hit play. (Here’s where I should mention that Long & McQuade rents both speakers and projectors, starting at $5 per day. Just call to make sure you don’t get a subwoofer best suited for a metal show by mistake.)

Now, the only question left: Buttery popcorn or plain?

About The Author

Morgan Mullin

Morgan is the Arts & Entertainment Editor at The Coast, where she writes about everything from what to see and do around Halifax to profiles of the city’s creative class to larger cultural pieces. She’s been with The Coast since 2016.

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