FIN Atlantic International Film Festival set for September return

HALIFAX, N.S. — After two years of existence in a truncated form with virtual or hybrid online/in-person events, the FIN Atlantic International Film Festival is a full director’s cut with all the extra trimmings for 2022.

On Wednesday, organizers of the 42-year celebration of cinema – and one of the Canadian film industry’s key events with its FIN Partners producers’ conference – unveiled its lineup for this year’s festival, which runs from May 15 to September 22 at Cineplex Park Lane Theatres.

While the FIN Stream online portion returns as a great way to catch up on East Coast features, documentaries and shorts, the focus is on a hugely diverse lineup of titles from around the world, in 29 different languages ​​(including one invented specifically for his film, the post-apocalyptic adventure Polaris), and nearly 80 East Coast feature and short films, with all four Atlantic provinces represented.



And the return of audiences to theaters without social distancing (masking will be encouraged, but not required) also means the return of famous film festival parties, including an opening night at the Waegwoltic Aquatic Club after the gala presentation of Brothers , by acclaimed director Clement Virgo (Poor Boy’s Game, The Book of Negroes) on September 15 and an Atlantic gala evening at Cable Wharf the following evening following the Atlantic premiere of Jackie Torrens’ intriguing family mystery Bernie Langille wants to know what happened to Bernie Langille.

The grand finale of the eight-day event is the closing night on September 22 at the Light House Arts Center following the gala presentation of The Whale by Darren Aronofsky, starring Brendan Fraser.

“For me it’s all new, but for the team, the last time we did a lot of these things was in 2019, in terms of organizing events and parties etc.”, said FIN’s new executive director, Martha Cooley, a producer and former executive director of the Atlantic Filmmaker’s Co-operative who took up her post last March following the departure of Wayne Carter.

“So it’s just long enough to forget everything you knew about how things worked, and it’s been a challenge to remember all those systems and pathways and blueprints in order to plan all the live stuff.”

But Cooley clearly came into the role with a strong sense of how the festival works, having been involved with it for years as an arts administrator and as a filmmaker. With this in mind, she was able to introduce the payment of artists’ fees to all filmmakers whose work is shown so that exposure is not the only benefit of being chosen for the program.

“It comes from that mentality of making sure the filmmaker experience is central to the festival experience,” Cooley explained, “because they are of course our primary stakeholders in terms of content creators. And the why we exist, and why we can show people movies.

Producer Jessica Brown and director Jackie Torrens discuss their one-off documentary Bernie Langille Wants to Know What Happened to Bernie Langille, which is the Atlantic gala presentation at the FIN Atlantic International Film Festival on September 16. – Eric Wynne

Two of the filmmakers present at the launch were director Torrens and producer Jessica Brown, whose family narrative mystery about the 1968 death of Bernie Langille, told by his namesake grandson, began life as a 2017 short using finely detailed miniatures by artists Shelley Acker and Iris Sutherland.

“We finished this film in a global health crisis, which I don’t recommend if you want to make a feature film, but in a way, because of our team, and also because of the generosity of the Langille family – whose Bernie Langille, the star of our movie – we were able to finish it,” Torrens said.

“So having it play in our hometown as a gala presentation means the world to us. All of our films have been scheduled here and this is our first gala presentation. We really appreciate that.”

Jason Beaudry, Program Director of the FIN Atlantic International Film Festival, speaks at the launch of this year's festival.  Behind him is an image of Toronto director Clement Virgo's Brothers, the festival's opening gala on September 15. - Eric Wynne
Jason Beaudry, Program Director of the FIN Atlantic International Film Festival, speaks at the launch of this year’s festival. Behind him is an image of Toronto director Clement Virgo’s Brothers, the festival’s opening gala on September 15. – Eric Wynne

When it comes to what actually airs during FIN and what keeps it fresh for audiences buying passes and filling screenings, the job of filling all those slots falls to programming director Jason Beaudry and his team. , balancing high-profile international fare like Chan-wook’s Park Decision to Leave for Best Director at Cannes and Ruben Ostlund’s Triangle of Sadness with highly anticipated Canadian productions like Hubert Davis’ documentary on hockey history African-Canadian Black Ice and Bones of Crows by Marie Clements.

But while the “international” part of the festival’s name is accentuated by films from France, Sweden, Mexico, Romania, Spain, Ireland and South Korea – with a restored retrospective of films from the great Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieslowski – it’s the Atlantic part that drives what the festival strives to promote and support.



“It’s an incredible privilege to watch filmmakers grow through their careers and see where their work goes,” said Beaudry. “And it’s really on offer this year, with Ashley McKenzie’s Queens of the Qing Dynasty as the gala presentation. Her second feature really charts new paths for her and she continues to develop as a filmmaker that audiences can really enjoy.

“Then there’s Koumbie’s debut with Bystanders and Tara Thorne with Compulsus; these are truly outstanding feature debuts that don’t feel like feature debuts. They really jump out of the park right off the bat and really stand out for the whole program.

“It’s still the heart of the festival, we still have about 40% of our overall content coming from the four provinces of Atlantic Canada, but it’s been a really exceptional year.”

The complete FIN Atlantic International Film Festival schedule is available online at finfestival2022.eventive.org/schedule and tickets go on sale Monday, August 29 at 10 a.m.


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