Throw it to Toronto

Tara Thorne has news of movies on the move.

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As we reported last week, Ann Verrall’s The Wait will screen at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, the lone Halifax short in the fest.

Now Mahone Bay’s Camelia Frieberg, along with co-producer Kelly Bray and co-writer Garfield Lindsay Miller, will form Team Nova Scotia—Frieberg’s directorial debut, A Stone’s Throw, is the only local feature screening at TIFF. Frieberg has been to TIFF many times before, having had a hand in some major Canadian releases, producing Bollywood/Hollywood, Wilby Wonderful, The Five Senses and Atom Egoyan films The Sweet Hereafter and Exotica.

“The festival gave me my start in this business,” says Frieberg, whose 25-minute documentary Crossing the River screened at TIFF in 1988, though her launch came a decade before that. “I was doing print journalism,” she says from Toronto, where she’s working on a sound mix, “and I interviewed an African-American director named Charles Burnett, who had made a masterpiece of a film. And he asked me if I was interested in reading a script. It was completely unexpected, but once I got suckered in, that was it, honey!”

A Stone’s Throw is about an American on the run who ends up in his sister’s remote Nova Scotia town, sending her life into upheaval. It stars Kathryn MacLellan, Hugh Thompson and Aaron Webber, who made his debut in the Frieberg-produced Whole New Thing, with Daniel MacIvor, last year. Amazingly, the project will premiere just one year after its initial conception—Frieberg and Miller began writing last August, and shot this February and March in Mahone Bay.

Whole New Thing also came together really quickly—because we had this pressure, there was an incredible kind of artistic freedom,” says Frieberg, who revelled in the lightning fast schedule. “Without the time to stew on it and do a film by committee—and I’ve done those, believe me—there’s a rawness, immediacy and potency to it. For the most part I was able to call on the same crew and some of the same cast.”

Frieberg, with her hands in so many aspects of the film’s making, was grateful to have partners on the writing and producing sides. “You really do have to have a certain kind of tunnel vision as a director. You have to be so incredibly focused on the task ahead of you at each moment,” she says. “There’s only been one other time when I experienced that intensity, which is when I gave birth to my daughter who was two months premature—I had to focus my world to keep her alive. It was the same thing. I was so exhausted at the end of each day, you cannot believe it. When the filming ended, it still took me three or four weeks to decompress. I was still having dreams that I was on the set—it had entered every level of my consciousness.”

A Stone’s Throw will screen at TIFF in September, and we expect you’ll be able to check it out here at home during the Atlantic Film Festival as well. Stay tuned.

Hans all, folks

The theatrical community took a hit this week when the news came down that Hans Boggild is stepping down as Artistic Director of Eastern Front Theatre after four years at the helm. Boggild, who succeeded the imitable Mary Vingoe in 2002, guided EFT through some tough financial times, including a near-close in 2004 and a truncated season this year. EFT’s The Satchmo Suite, which has had two successful runs in the city this year, will hit the road next year and Boggild will accompany it. He’ll also direct the 2006 season opener Corvette Crossing, by Michael Melski, for EFT in the fall. “Eastern Front Theatre is a vitally important cultural institution, with its emphasis on telling our own stories in a compelling and theatrical way,” Boggild said in a statement. “I’m leaving on a very high note.” Good luck to you, sir.

Rockin’ and a-rollin’ and whatnot

Our favourite outdoor event—the only thing to make us excited to be on the waterfront ever in life—kicks off this Friday. alFresco filmFesto launches at Tall Ships Quay on July 28 with a screening of Grease!, starring John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John and Stockard Channing, who laid the groundwork for other 30ish actors like Robin Givens, Luke Perry and Benjamin McKenzie to play high-schoolers in the decades to come. Gates at 8, show at 9, $5 donation. Wear a poodle skirt for us, stud.

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