by Tara Thorne
As titles are rolled out slowly for this year’s Toronto International Film Festival—the much-delayed star-studded Oscar bait All the King’s Men (with Sean Penn, Kate Winslet and Patricia Clarkson) and Cannes fave Babel, directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu and starring Cate Blanchett and Brad Pitt, are among the first batch—a local name has just been added to the list.
The Wait, a 24-minute drama by Halifax filmmaker Ann Verrall, will be screened alongside 37 other titles as sole local representation in the Short Cuts Canada program.
“It’s about teenagers kind of trying to deal with leaving home after they have finished school,” says Verrall from her Halifax office. “It’s specifically about one guy who’s 18 and his closest friend is about to leave town and he has to say goodbye to her and can’t deal with it. He kind of falls apart a bit.”
The film has been in the works for four years and was originally conceived as a feature that Verrall cast before writing. “I got them before I even had a story,” she says of stars Seamus Morrison, Leah MacDonald, Nathan MacIntosh and Simon Howell, “and went through quite an extensive workshop program with them, and they were quite involved with the development of the characters. But it was taking so long, the years were going by, they were getting older and I didn’t have the money, so I wrote a shorter version of it and had a Canada Council grant and that was the main thing that got me going.”
Verrall, whose Rain was named Best Atlantic Short at the 2000 edition of the Atlantic Film Festival, has attended TIFF as a moviegoer but never as a participant. “I don’t really know what to expect,” she says. “It’s more geared toward features so I’m not sure what kind of attention the short film gets. I’m not sure in terms of the overall festival what kind of focus is given to the short program.”
The feature version of The Wait is in development with Thom Fitzgerald. The Toronto International Film Festival begins September 7 and runs to September 16.
TAG, you’re it
Canada’s oldest community theatre got a big boost this week—Theatre Arts Guild, now in its 75th season, was awarded $25,000 by Halifax Regional Council to help with the expansion of its home base, the Pond Playhouse.
“With an expanded lobby you won’t be standing outside in the rain or snow,” says volunteer executive producer Bill VanGorder. “More, larger and accessible washrooms will ease the lineups at the interval. A new rehearsal and workshop space will enable us to develop programs for youth and others who want to learn.”
The organization has $115,000 of the needed $160,000 now raised, with completion date to be set once all the funding is in place. TAG’s production of Dial M for Murder closes Saturday.
Out and almost over
The Reel Out Film Festival closes Thursday, July 20, with a screening of Another Gay Movie, a raunchy teen romp in the vein of American Pie. Scott Thompson takes the Eugene Levy role. The film screens at Park Lane at 7pm, admission is $5.
SAMARIA—Going to the Land of Milk and Honey, produced by German theatre company Das Letzte Kleinod and featuring Nova Scotia actors Simon Henderson, Lisa Rose Snow and Meredith Zwicker will be performed on July 26 and 27 at 7pm. Like an old-school rave, the location is TBA, but seeing as the play is about Germans travelling to Pier 21 after World War II, we’re betting it’s likely the play will be performed somewhere on the waterfront. (Say, Pier 21?)
Webb of arts
Painter Christopher Webb has been named chair of Visual Arts Nova Scotia, now in its 30th year of existence. His show Sermons was a Pier 21 highlight last summer.
“It is time to open a dialogue with the government to re-instate a provincial Arts Council,” he said in a statement. “As a body who represents visual artists in this province, our goal is to strengthen the creative economy, benefitting all Nova Scotians, and an independent arts funding agency is one step to achieving this goal.”
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