The 32nd annual Atlantic Film Festival (AFF) proudly launches its program from dazzling features to sizzling shorts, international sensations to Atlantic gems, the festival has movies for everyone along with a fantastic line up of special events and galas over eight action-packed days in Halifax, September 13-20.
“There are several emerging filmmakers at this year’s festival with a staggering 25 first-time features in our program, including five dramas from Halifax filmmakers alone,” said Festival Director, Lia Rinaldo. “It’s a year of discovery and these are the people to watch. They are hitting hard out of the gate and it’s a great sign of what’s to come as we see this next crop of talented filmmakers hit the global scene.”
Kicking off the festival is the Opening Gala screening of The Angel’s Share at Park Lane and Oxford Theatres on Thursday, Sept. 13, sponsored by NBCUniversal. A jury prize winner at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, this whiskey-heist comedy was directed by critically-acclaimed UK-based director, Ken Loach, who has won a staggering 73 film awards, including Palm D’Or, BAFTA and César’s awards.
The film tells the story of an unemployed man, who is struggling to turn his life around before becoming a father. After narrowly avoiding jail, a visit to the whiskey distillery reveals his natural nose for the hard stuff. From there, he and his mates combine their talents for booze and crime in an attempt to pull off a whiskey-heist that would give all four of them enough money to start fresh.
Following Opening Night, the Atlantic Film Festival will present four more Gala screenings, including the Atlantic Gala, The Disappeared on Friday, Sept. 14, sponsored by Desjardins Financial Security. Directed by Halifax-based novelist, screenwriter and director, Shandi Mitchell, her debut feature film stars Billy Campbell and Shawn Doyle. The film tells the story of six east coast men lost at sea in two dories and etches character against an elemental urge to survive on the broad, mysterious and ever-changing Atlantic Ocean. With an ancient compass, oars and their brawny arms and wits, the men wage a desperate struggle to retain their humanity and hope.
On Saturday, Sept. 15, the AFF presents the Telefilm Canada Gala: Midnight’s Children directed by Toronto-based, India-born director, Deepa Mehta. Shot mostly in Colombo, Sri Lanka, this is an epic story of India’s independence from Britain and its painful separation into Hindu and Muslim States. The film, derived from the classic 600-page novel written by legendary author Salman Rushdie, is one of the most important films of the year and rates as essential international cinema with its sprawling cast and dynamic imagery.
The CBC Atlantic Shorts Gala offers 11 short films on Tuesday, Sept. 18 featuring works by an exciting cast of Atlantic Canadian filmmakers, including Mark O’Brien (NL), Andrea Dorfman (NS), Mike Clattenburg (NS), Andrew MacCormack (NS), Christian Sparkes (NL), Gwyneth Christoffel (NS), Anne-Renee Dumont (NS), Andrew Hines (NS), Jordan Canning (NL), Lara Cassidy (NS) and Glen Matthews (NS).
The festival’s Closing Gala presentation on Thursday, Sept. 20 is the historic Scandinavian costume drama, A Royal Affair by Denmark-based director, Nikolaj Arcel. Winner of both Best Actor and Best Screenplay awards at the 2012 Berlin International Film Festival, the film was set during the age of the French Revolution in the Danish Royal Court. The film tells the remarkable true story of freethinking doctor (Johann Struensee) played by Mads Mikkelsen, who somehow gets appointed as doctor to the mad King Christian VII. After falling in love with the spurned Queen, Struensee eventually has the easily led King pass legislation freeing the peasantry and loosening censorship.
Featuring the newest big films in the industry, moviegoers will want to be first in line to see the eight films comprising the 2012 Rogers Special Presentations. This year’s lineup includes Holy Motors, by France-based director, Léos Carax, Inch’Allah by Canadian director, Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, Inescapable by Canadian director, Ruba Nadda, Love is All You Need by Danish director, Susanne Bier, Antiviral by Canadian director, Brandon Cronenberg, Amour by France-based director, Michael Haneke, The Hunt by Denmark-based director, Thomas Vinterberg and Rust & Bone, by France-based director, Jacques Audiard. For a full film schedule, visit: www.atlanticfilm.com
Throughout the event, the AFF hosts several special events and parties to celebrate the movies, the people and the city of Halifax. One of the hottest events of the year is the Opening Night Party, a night for dancing shoes, fancy drinks and killer beats. This year’s bash will take place at the Cunard Centre on Thursday, Sept. 13. That’s SO Gay-la will take place at the G Lounge on Sunday, Sept. 16 and the Closing Gala Party will take place at the Lord Nelson Hotel’s Imperial Ballroom on Thursday, Sept. 20.
Other featured events for everyone to enjoy, include The Soundtracks & Stories Songwriters’ Circle taking place at The Carleton on Sunday, Sept. 16. This annual songwriter showcase will feature top Atlantic Canadian songwriters, Matt Mays, Tim Baker (Hey Rosetta), Andy Brown, John MacPhee (paper Lions) and host, Rose Cousins.
Another premiere event is the Spotlight Luncheon at the Lord Nelson on Sunday, Sept. 16. The event, focused on the concept of “What is film without music?” will feature performances by Jill Barber, Alex Madsen (The Divorcees), Christina Martin and Joel Plaskett. A very limited number of tickets are available for both of these events so don’t delay!
“The Atlantic Film Festival has a lengthy history of providing Atlantic Canadian film lovers access to not only films from around the world that are making waves but we serve an even more important function of providing exposure to our exemplary wealth of local talent,” said Wayne Carter, Executive Director. “Every year we are proud to present films that speak directly to who we are as a community and a region and this year’s offering of both Canadian and International selections is a stunner. We are a Festival for people who love movies.”
In addition to the films, special events and galas, the event hosts international film and music professionals for its conference components, Music & Image and Strategic Partners.
Building on the strength of Atlantic Canada’s musical talent and in partnership with the East Coast Music Association, Music & Image is a four-day conference offering showcases, professional development opportunities, networking sessions and one-on-one business meetings with international music buyers in the film, TV, marketing and new media industries. For more information, visit: www.atlanticfilm.com/industry/music-image
Recognized as one of the world’s pre-eminent co-production markets, Strategic Partners (SP) is a one-of-a-kind event focusing on film, television and multi-platform fiction from across Canada and around the world. Hosting 200 international delegates, SP is the one-stop shop for producers, broadcasters, sales agents, financiers, distributors and film agencies. This year’s three-day event–now celebrating its 15th year–is placing the market spotlight on the UK and USA and includes nearly 1000 pre-scheduled 1-2-1 meetings, relevant panels, visionary keynote speakers as well as the popular Film Nova Scotia Lobster dinner.
Among the notable presenters this year will be renowned UK producer, Rebecca O’Brien, who has produced 12 of Ken Loach’s films, including this year’s opening film, The Angels’ Share. Award-winning Canadian producer, Thom Fitzgerald, will host the September 14 opening keynote, “In Candid Conversation With Rebecca O’Brien”. With Telefilm Canada as the Presenting Partner, SP helps make connections, find partners, and get projects financed and on the screen. For more information, visit: www.atlanticfilm.com/industry/strategic-partners
ViewFinders, a five-day festival of film, video and media for youth ages three to 18. Produced annually in April, by the Atlantic Film Festival, ViewFinders will also have a strong presence at the event. ViewFinders offers special screenings of feature films, shorts and a gala screening all geared towards youth and families, some of which were created by youth. For more information, visit: www.atlanticfilm.com/festivals/viewfinders
Tickets for screenings, merchandise, and special events along with ticket packages, group tickets and passes go on sale today, August 21 at 9 am. Tickets are available by phone at 902-422-6965 / 1-888-968-9090 and online at www.atlanticfilm.com or www.ticketpro.ca. Tickets are also available at all TicketPro outlets in Nova Scotia, including Video Difference (6086 Quinpool Road). Please note that TicketPro outlets accept cash or debit only. Tickets will be available at the Festival Box Office in Park Lane Mall (5657 Spring Garden Road) beginning August 30 at 9 am. For hours of operation, visit: www.atlanticfilm.com
Receive the most up-to-date information, including sneak peaks and Festival highlights on our website: atlanticfilm.com our Facebook page: facebook.com/atlanticfilmfestival and Twitter account: @thefilmfest To support these online channels, the AFF will also offer updated versions of our .mobi site and a festival app before the event to help coordinate your festival experience. In addition, the AFF is pleased to announce a new partnership this year with iTunes Canada. An Atlantic Film Festival “Super Room” will be live on iTunes where people can download the app and purchase/download past festival favourites. More details coming soon!
Another way to be part of the action is by visiting the SuperChannel Festival Lounge located at the Lord Nelson Hotel (1515 South Park Street), which is open from 12 noon to 12 midnight daily during the Festival. It is a place for the industry and the public to come together. Scheduled Q&A sessions with filmmakers, music performances along with other highlights will take place daily.
About the Atlantic Film Festival
The Atlantic Film Festival is a eight-day celebration of film, video and music from around the world. It is a festival that turns Halifax –a charming and historic seaside city – into an international mecca for the arts, abuzz with filmmakers, industry types and film lovers. What began in 1981 as a tiny, grassroots operation in St. John’s, Newfoundland has blossomed into one of Canada’s premiere film festivals. The cornerstone September Festival includes year-round industry and community events for every taste.