One pleasurable aspect about watching a short film is the storyline. Short film storylines are most often relatable, such as relationship issues or navigating the workplace. As a result, a story has the power to draw in the viewer and make such an impact that he or she is able to quickly identify with the characters and plot.
Short film lovers in the East Coast will have an excellent opportunity to resonate with a wide variety of stories at the 35th annual Atlantic Film Festival in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The shorts that will be featured were written and produced by a number of East Coast filmmakers, as well as from other parts of Canada and the world. This year’s festival takes place September 17th to 24th at the Cineplex Cinemas Park Lane. The festival will also include CBC’s presentation of the Reel East Coast Gala, based on the television program of the same name that was broadcast in Atlantic Canada this past summer.
Jason Beaudry, Program Director for Atlantic Film Festival, shared some of his thoughts about what the short film community can expect to experience at the festival and his insight into the storytelling talent of East Coast filmmakers.
Short Film Fan: The shorts Alien Love Story, First Weekend, Chase the Ace, Before the War, Una forma de partir/ A Way To Go, Wanderer, Not My Brother, A Suicide at the Gun Range and Arty were all picked for the Reel East Coast Gala. Why were these particular films chosen?
Jason Beaudry: There is an incredibly broad range of short films being made in Atlantic Canada and we want the Reel East Coast Showcase Gala to reflect this. Animation, documentary, drama, comedy and more from all four Atlantic provinces is included in this year’s Reel East Showcase Gala. They really show what is possible here on the East Coast.
SFF: Will there be any Q&A sessions with the filmmakers or an opportunity to present audience choice awards at the showcases or Gala?
JB: There will be Q&A sessions for all our showcase screenings with the exception of the Gala. With the number of people attending the Reel East Showcase Gala, it makes it somewhat unruly to have a Q&A.
SFF: A total of 57 East Coast short films will be screened at this year’s festival. Those are a lot of short films from a lot of different filmmakers from the Atlantic region. How do you account for such a high number of filmmakers coming from this part of Canada?
JB: Folks from the East Coast are natural storytellers and we’ve seen this through music and literature going on for hundreds of years. Film is a new tool in their repertoire, but they’ve put it to good use. And the democratization that’s happened through the current accessibility & cost of filmmaking equipment makes it easy for a storyteller to take that leap.
I’d have to say that it’s a very difficult process to select films from this region every year. There are usually three times more films than we can select for the Festival. And we’re happy to say that over 50 additional short films from Canada and the world will be added to this year’s lineup, so festivalgoers will be able to see for themselves that films from Atlantic Canada stack up to the best in the world.
SFF: What do you hope the audience will take away from the festival after experiencing all these films?
JB: Representing and showcasing Atlantic Canadian-made films is near and dear to the heart of the Atlantic Film Festival. As we’ve said on countless occasions, these stories have to be seen and these voices must be heard. East Coast film making is world class. From the Atlantic Gala of Stephen Dunn’s remarkable Closet Monster to the very last Reel East Coast Showcase, the films were made in our region and stack up against anything the world has to offer. Now more than ever, it’s important that festivalgoers take note of them and celebrate their achievements and lend support to their future.
Jason makes a crucial point to expand upon. By celebrating and supporting the talents of Canadian short filmmakers, we can encourage them to produce more fascinating stories that all fans are able to enjoy. More stories mean more short film career opportunities, which in turn, could assure a healthy future for Canadian short film.
We wish everyone at Atlantic Film Festival all the best for a successful festival. For festival details and tickets, visit their website at www.atlanticfilm.com. You can also get up-to-date information from their Facebook page and by following them @thefilmfest on Twitter.