FIN: Atlantic International Film Festival a 'celebration of the community and their work'
FIN: Atlantic International Film Festival (formerly the Atlantic Film Festival) opens Thursday and runs until Sept. 21.
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The program director of Atlantic Canada’s largest film festival says the closing of the Oxford Theatre this week comes with a message.
“It reminds people how important it is to support films and filmmakers in Atlantic Canada,” said Jason Beaudry of the FIN: Atlantic International Film Festival (formerly the Atlantic Film Festival), which opens Thursday and runs until Sept. 21. The Oxford Theatre had its final screening Tuesday evening.
Over the course of selecting the films for this year’s festival, Beaudry said he and his team watched some 700 shorts and 400 feature-length films and documentaries from across Canada and around the world. While there is some exceptional local talent that will be on display amongst the films that made the festival’s final cut, Beaudry said there is a noticeable difference in the types of films being made in Nova Scotia these days.
“The big budget productions are definitely down,” he said.
Since the Liberal Government axed the province’s long-standing Film Tax Credit program two years ago, many in the industry have said the numbers of films being produced here have dropped significantly, which in turn has led to an exodus of filmmakers, actors and crew hands from Nova Scotia.
Beaudry said it has changed the types of stories that Nova Scotia filmmakers are telling – where once large local set crews were employed to tell big-budget features, now documentaries and shorts make up a much larger share of productions, which may have a crew of three with a director also doing the filming and editing.
Nonetheless, the Nova Scotia film community is managing to persevere, said Beaudry, and the FIN festival is a “celebration of the community and their work.”
How to do the FIN: Atlantic International Film Festival
With films to suit almost any taste, but more on offer than one person could possibly take in, Beaudry offered a few suggestions regarding how to best go about the festival.
For those more new to the festival scene, he said what might fit the bill is a sample from each of the different types of screenings – from galas to special presentations, features, documentaries, shorts and the relatively new category ‘Restored!’ – which features rejuvenated classics.
For the more veteran festival goers, he recommended taking the plunge and buying a festival pass, which aside from the film screenings also allows exclusive access to the Festival Music House concert event Saturday night featuring performances by David Myles, Gordie MacKeeman and the Rhythm Boys and The Once.
Among the must-see Nova Scotian gala film presentations are a ‘The Child Remains’, a film based on the infamous Nova Scotia Butterbox Babies case by award-winning Cape Breton director Michael Melski; Black Cop, a drama about racial tension and law enforcement and the much-anticipated debut feature by Truro’s own Cory Bowles, and The Cresent, billed as “elevated horror” with “documentary-like moments of realism” by Halifax director Seth Smith.