#AFF2016 Atlantic Canadian Program

Posted: August 10, 2016

It was a big day for movie lovers here on the East Coast!

The Atlantic Film Festival folks made their first formal programming announcement of the 36th Season - and it focused entirely on Atlantic Canadian films!

We were thrilled to hear the festival will kick off with the red carpet gala screening of MAUDIE.  We've been sharing details on this wonderful movie since it began filming in Newfoundland last fall.  All reports on this one are amazing - you can read our most recent post on MAUDIE here.

MAUDIE filmmaker aisling walsh

Also great to know that WEIRDOS (formally nineteenseventysomething will take the Bell Aliant Blue Carpet Gala Presentation postion on Friday, September 16th.  The tender coming of age film was written by Cape Breton's Daniel McIvor, directed by Bruce McDonald and filmed right here in Nova Scotia.  Matter of fact SEA AND BE SCENE TV shot an on-set special last September - you can here here to watch all the "action".

away-from-everywhere shawn doyle and joanne kelly

Two other films we've featured many times throughout their production will also screen - Justin Simms AWAY FROM EVERYWHERE starring NL's Shawn Doyle and Joanne Kelly, along with Jason Priestley will make it's world premiere at the festival; and THE HEALER for which we carried the exclusive Healer Happenings here on the site will screen as the first ever STRATEGIC PARTNERS film presentation.

You can find the official press release below, and for all things Atlantic Film Festival - including ticket information - visit atlanticfilm.com


A Sweet Release...

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The 36th Atlantic Film Festival announces Galas and Atlantic Canadian program for event in Halifax, September 15-22

(Halifax, NS) – The 36th annual Atlantic Film Festival proudly launches its program of Atlantic Canadian film selections, including the much-anticipated Opening Night Gala, to be presented over eight days in Halifax, September 15 - 22

"This year’s Atlantic Canadian productions feature many well established filmmakers alongside new voices, with stories that will entertain and inspire the Festival’s audience," said Jason Beaudry, Program Director. "If you’ve never been to the Atlantic Film Festival, this is the year to take the plunge. The breadth and depth of this year’s program is phenomenal and each and every film on offer is world class."

MAUDIE posterThe Atlantic Film Festival’s Opening Night Gala returns to the Dalhousie Arts Centre’s Rebecca Cohn Auditorium on Thursday, September 15 at 7 p.m. Sponsored by CTV Atlantic, RBC, Telefilm Canada and the Canada Media Fund, this star-studded evening will feature the Opening Night Gala presentation of Maudie, based on the life of Nova Scotia folk artist, Maud Lewis. Directed by Aisling Walsh (Song for a Raggy Boy) and written by Sherry White (Crackie , Relative Happiness), Maudie features spectacular performances from Academy Award nominees Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky, Blue Jasmine) and Ethan Hawke (Training Day, Boyhood).

Maudie is an unlikely romance in which the reclusive Everett Lewis (Ethan Hawke) hires a fragile yet determined woman named Maudie (Sally Hawkins) to be his housekeeper. Maudie, bright-eyed but hunched with crippled hands, yearns to be independent, to live away from her protective family. She also yearns, passionately, to create art. Unexpectedly, Everett finds himself falling in love. Maudie charts Everett’s efforts to protect himself from being hurt, Maudie’s deep and abiding love for this difficult man and her surprising rise to fame as a folk painter. Produced by Bob Cooper, Mary Young Leckie, Mary Sexton and Susan Mullen, Maudie is distributed in Canada by Mongrel Media.

I am so delighted to come back to Halifax to screen Maudie on the opening night of the Atlantic Film Festival. I cannot think of a better place to celebrate Maud Lewis' life and work. Nova Scotia is where Maud Lewis' story lives and breaths. It is where she is from,” commented Aisling Walsh, Director. “Halifax is particularly special for me as The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is where I started my journey on this film. I remember being so moved standing in front of Maud's painted house for the first time.”

aff program director jason beaudry at AGNS

Following the Opening Night Gala film presentation is the Opening Night Party . Penned as one of Halifax’s ‘most anticipated parties of the year’, the red-carpet event is sponsored by CTV, RBC, Telefilm Canada and Canada Media Fund and will take place at the spectacular Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on Thursday, Sept. 15.

This year’s Friday Night Gala: Atlantic, presented by Bell Aliant, features the Atlantic Canada premiere of Weirdos, a coming of age tale set in 1970’s Nova Scotia. Written by Daniel MacIvor (Wilby Wonderful, Whole New Thing) and directed by Bruce McDonald (Hard Core Logo, The Tracey Fragments), Weirdos screens at Cineplex Cinemas Oxford Theatre on Friday, Sept. 16 at 7 p.m., with a celebration to follow at Casino Nova Scotia’s Compass Room.

WEIRDOS Producer Marc Almon & Screenwriter Daniel MacIvor

Weirdos takes place the weekend of the American Bicentennial in 1976. Enlisting the help of his girlfriend Alice (Julia Sarah Stone), 15-year-old Kit (Dylan Authors) hitchhikes through the stunning Cape Breton landscape towards a new home with his glamorous, artistic mother Laura (Molly Parker). However, as Kit and Alice near their final destination they find their relationship tested as Kit approaches a realization that will change his life forever. Produced by Marc Almon and Mike MacMillan, Weirdos is distributed in Canada by Films We Like.

WEIRDOS composers Asif Illyas & Shehab Illyas

“It’s like coming home. Most excited about this screening as the film takes place in beautiful Nova Scotia and it’s made by a stellar crew and cast from there. I’m extremely pleased by the big embrace from the Atlantic Film Fest and we hope to make all their dreams come true!” shared Bruce McDonald, Director.


The Atlantic Film Festival is very pleased to have Bell Aliant be the presenting partner for the Friday Night Gala: Atlantic.

“We are proud to sponsor the Atlantic Film Festival again this year and showcase full festival coverage on TV1,” said Dan McKeen, Bell Senior Vice President and Vice Chair Atlantic. “The festival celebrates and brings together talented artists from across Atlantic Canada - a goal we also share at TV1.”

Each year, TV1 webcasts more than 28,000 hours of community content such as local events and live music. It also offers 15 unique shows, featuring colourful regional programming created to celebrate local current affairs, Atlantic University Sport games, lifestyle, technology, pop culture and more. TV1 is available on Fibe TV channels 1 and 401, online at tv1.bellaliant.ca and on the Fibe TV app.

PERFUME WAR poster smallThe Atlantic Film Festival’s Wednesday Night Gala will also feature the World Premiere of an Atlantic Canadian production. In Perfume War, director Michael Melski crafts an inspiring documentary film that explores the extraordinary friendship between two best friends whose shared mission of peace has made an enormous impact on countless lives. Captain Trevor Greene joins the military to fight the oppression of women in Afghanistan. Barb Stegemann is a single mom who is moved to take on her best friend’s mission after he is brutally axed in the head by the Taliban. Stegemann works with Afghan farmers to grow legal flower crops instead of the illegal heroin poppy--the Taliban’s chief income source--and creates an unlikely weapon in the fight for world peace. And it’s perfume. Perfume War screens at Cineplex Cinemas Oxford Theatre on Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m.

“Premiering Perfume War at the Atlantic Film Festival is really important to me because our global story of improving lives from Afghanistan to Rwanda began right here in Halifax where I met my best friend, Trevor Greene, in university”, said Barb Stegemann, author & founder The 7 Virtues. “Perfume War tells the story of how we must stop monetizing war and start monetizing peace, as told through the voices of the people on the frontlines of nations rebuilding after war and strife. It’s time their voices are heard.”

away-from-everywhere filmmaker justin simms

This year’s Essential Presentations program, presented by Bell Aliant, will provide high-profile premiere screenings of four Atlantic Canadian films. A World Premiere, Justin Simms’ Away From Everywhere is a moving and provocative story about a struggling writer (Shawn Doyle) who emerges from rehab and reunites with his estranged brother (Jason Priestley). An Atlantic premiere from one of Canada’s most prolific and respected documentary filmmakers is John Walker’s Quebec My Country Mon Pays charting the aftermath of Quebec’s Quiet Revolution in the 1960s. An Atlantic Premiere from an Academy Award winning documentarian, Brigitte Berman’s The River of My Dreams tells the life story of one of Canada’s most beloved performers, Gordon Pinsent, through interviews with the man himself which reminisce on a six-decade-long career. And the Atlantic premiere of Ashley McKenzie’s feature debut, Werewolf, tells the story of of a young, methadone-dependent Cape Breton couple, played by Andrew Gillis of New Waterford and Bhreagh MacNeil of Big Pond. All screenings in the Atlantic Focus Program take place at Cineplex Cinemas Park Lane.

THE RIVER OF MY DREAMS filmmaker Brigitte Berman

Bell Aliant also continues its support of the Atlantic Focus Program this year, spotlighting diverse feature-length films from across Atlantic Canada. Seeing their Atlantic Premieres at the 2016 Festival are: Risteard Ó Domhnaill’s Atlantic; Paul Kimball’s Exit Thread; Michael Fuller and Neil Rough’s Myrtle Beach; and Ben Proudfoot’s Rwanda & Juliet. Having their World Premieres in this year’s Atlantic Focus Program are: Neal Livingston’s 100 Short Stories; Koumbie’s Ariyah & Tristan’s Inevitable Breakup; Nicole Steeves’ Head Space; Martine Blue’s Hunting Pignut; Justin Oakey’s Riverhead; Catherine Bussiere’s self portrait in may; Harmony Wagner’s Singing to Myself; and Amanda Dawn Christie’s Spectres of Shortwave.

All screenings in the Atlantic Focus Program take place at Cineplex Cinemas Park Lane.

The 2016 Atlantic Film Festival marks the addition of a new category to the Festival’s lineup: the Strategic Partners Presentation. One of the worlds most established coproduction/co-financing markets, the 19th edition of Strategic Partners takes place from September 15 to 17 in conjunction with the Atlantic Film Festival’s opening weekend. The Strategic Partners Presentation will shine a spotlight on work that is filmed in Nova Scotia and reflects the world-class production possible in our region. And with Strategic Partners delegates visiting from all four corners of the globe, the film presented in this category will show the world what’s possible right here in Nova Scotia.

THE HEALER filmmaker Paco Arango

This year’s inaugural Strategic Partners Presentation is The Healer, written and directed by Paco Arango and produced by Paco Arango, Enrique Posner, and Nova Scotia’s Michael Volpe. The film follows Alec (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) who’s life in England is falling apart when a long-lost uncle (Jonathan Pryce) bribes him to move to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia for one full year. It is there where he discovers that his family may possess a secret gift. The Healer screens at Cineplex Cinemas Park Lane on Friday, Sept. 16 at 6:30 p.m.

Last year, the Atlantic Film Festival teamed with Founding Partner CBC to produce a broadcast television series called Reel East Coast. The series will see the debut of its second season in September across Atlantic Canada. Hosted by Jonathan Torrens, Reel East Coast presents four hour-long episodes of the best in Atlantic Canadian short films. After an extremely positive and warm reception to the first season’s broadcast, the Atlantic Film Festival incorporated this new brand within the Festival environment to encourage attendees and the general public to take a look.


The Sunday Night Gala: Reel East Coast Shorts, presented by CBC, features nine short films on Sunday, Sept. 18 at Cineplex Cinemas Oxford Theatre at 7 p.m. The evening will feature works by an impressive cast of Atlantic Canadian filmmakers, including: Teresa MacInnes and Kent Nason (Mabel); Struan Sutherland (Rubbed the Wrong Way); Moving On (Mike Fardy); Cory Bowles (Black Cop); Jillian Acreman (Marigolds); Millefiore Clarkes (September in Toronto); Jenina MacGillivray (The Tour); Leah Johnston (Ingrid and the Black Hole); and Jay Dahl (Throw Rock).

In addition to the Reel East Coast Shorts Gala, this year’s Festival will present six short film programs showcasing the best and brightest of Atlantic Canada’s emerging filmmakers, including a short program for filmmakers new to the Festival titled NextGen Shorts, a ViewFinders program of Atlantic Canadian short films for youth, and a special program of short films to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia. From drama and comedy to documentary, the Reel East Coast Shorts programs are sure to be one of the most popular propositions of the Festival.

The Atlantic Broadcast Program returns for its third year showcasing the vitality of the region’s television production industry. The 2016 Atlantic Broadcast Program will feature eleven new works from such filmmakers as Andrew Killawee (Canada 360); William D. MacGillivray (Celtic Edge); Fabien Melanson (En Français svp); Christian Sparkes (Hors circuits / The Iron Island); Tim Davidson (The Millennial Dream); John Rosborough (Music Profiles: Ben Caplan: The Second Album Story & Hillsburn: A Band Becomes); Alan Collins (My Life So Far); Brian McKenna (Newfoundland at Armageddon); Peter Murphy and Paul Hannon (Searching for Realism); Jacquelyn Mills (We Are an Island); and Kent Martin and Salina Kemp (Wi’kupaltimk – Feast of Forgiveness).

"Last year’s crop of Atlantic films went on to acclaim throughout the world and this year’s would appear set to continue the trend. The breadth of stories and quality of presentations are epic and unforgettable; hitting the mark on every subject imaginable,” said Wayne Carter, Executive Director. “We cannot contain our excitement on welcoming “Maudie” as our Opening Night Gala. This film not only hits the mark on an emotional tie to the region but we are confident it is a film that will be a serious contender at awards time, early next year.”

click here to see AFF2016 full program

A limited amount of tickets for the Opening Night Gala Film are available through The Dalhousie Arts Centre box office (6101 University Ave.), by phone at 1-800-874-1669 and online at https://kil-dacweb-3.cohn.dal.ca/online/, beginning today, Wednesday, August 10 at 3 p.m. Tickets for the Opening Night Gala Party are available at atlanticfilm.com.

Tickets to the Friday Night Gala - Atlantic Film as well as all Atlantic Canadian film programming, are available exclusively at the Atlantic Film Festival Online Box Office at atlanticfilm.com, beginning today, Wednesday, August 10 at 3 p.m.

The Atlantic Film Festival welcomes over one thousand delegates each year. The festival offers producers, directors, artists, musicians, composers, buyers, filmmakers, film fanatics, festival lovers and people who enjoy seeing amazing stories being told on the big screen, the opportunity to come together and experience movies, music, keynotes, panel discussions, networking and gala celebrations.

The 36th Atlantic Film Festival will offer a Festival Experience Pass, an Oxford Festival Pass and a Park Lane Festival Pass.

ocean side towerThe Festival Experience Pass allows access to all regular films, the Opening Night Gala Film and Party, all other gala films, special presentations, the Script Development Program as well as the Closing Night Gala Film and Party. The Festival Experience Pass is currently available for $300.00 (including tax).

The Oxford Festival Pass allows access to gala films screening at FESTIVAL THEATRE OXFORD: Cineplex Cinemas Oxford Theatre. The Oxford Festival Pass is currently available for $125.00 (including tax).

The Park Lane Festival Pass allows access to films screening at FESTIVAL THEATRE PARK LANE: Cineplex Cinemas Parklane. The Park Lane Festival Pass is currently available for $150.00 (including tax).

Online sales for all Passes are available exclusively at the Atlantic Film Festival online box office at atlanticfilm.com, beginning today, Wednesday, August 10 at 3 p.m.

The Atlantic Film Festival would like to thank Bell Aliant, Bell Media, CTV, Telefilm Canada, the Canada Media Fund, CBC, RBC, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and all of it’s partners, sponsors and suppliers.


About the Atlantic Film Festival

The Atlantic Film Festival (AFF) is an eight-day celebration of film, media and music from around the world. It’s a festival that turns Halifax – a charming and historic coastal city – into an international Mecca for the arts, abuzz with filmmakers, industry types and film lovers. This year’s event celebrates 36 years of the Festival and takes place from September 15-22.

Offering a first-look at the best international films of the festival season, the Atlantic Film Festival is a champion of local filmmakers, committed to bridging the gap. We attract some of the biggest players in film, media and music from around the world. All of our film selections are chosen with our community in mind and our special events are designed to bring us all together. A not-for-profit organization, the Festival depends heavily upon its strong ties to the surrounding and thriving arts community.

Celebrating 36 years in 2016, the Atlantic Film Festival began as a tiny, grassroots operation in St. John’s, Newfoundland in 1981, relocating to Halifax the following year. Just three decades later, the Atlantic Film Festival has blossomed into one of Canada’s premier film festivals. Whether for industry folk, unabashed film lovers or curious onlookers, the Festival offers a slew of opportunities to engage the global film experience. Today’s Atlantic Film Festival is now a year-round celebration, growing beyond our eight-day cornerstone event in September to include: ViewFinders: Atlantic Film Festival for Youth, AFF Outdoor Film Experience, and Strategic Partners.

AFF ON TWITTER @thefilmfestReceive the most up-to-date information about the Atlantic Film Festival and its Family of Programs, including sneak peeks and festival highlights online at our website: atlanticfilm.com, our Facebook page: /atlanticfilmfestival, our Twitter account: @thefilmfest #AFF2016, our LinkedIn company page: linkedin.com/company/atlantic-film-festival, our Youtube channel: youtube.com/atlanticfilmdotcom and our Instagram account: thefilmfest.


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