Strike through

Tara Thorne is back from Sundance and better than ever.

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As the strike of Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists members over salary and internet rights issues drifts into its second month, the Atlantic branch of the actors’ union moves into legal position on February 13. Members in Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan have been on strike since January 8, though little production work has been affected thanks to “continuation letters” signed by producers in accordance with the union that allow series and films already shooting to continue, for a fee.

ACTRA’s Maritime branch represents more than 500 actors across Nova Scotia, PEI and New Brunswick. This is the first strike in the union’s 64-year history. Stay tuned to this space for updates, and to thecoast.ca for breaking news.

Play ball

A supercool event for those who make theatre—but especially those who love it—drops into a remarkably busy February on Saturday. The Playwrights’ Cabaret, featuring scribes belonging to the Playwrights’ Atlantic Resource Centre, boasts readings from a stupid awesome line-up of locals. They include Carol Sinclair, Bill Forbes, Michael Melski, Jackie Torrens, Catherine Banks and Josh MacDonald, to name about half the roster. All of the authors will read from new works.

The Playwrights’ Cabaret is a free event being held at Theatre Nova Scotia, 2353 Agricola, at 8pm on Saturday, February 10.

Game on

The Halifax-shot feature Poor Boy’s Game, starring Danny Glover, Tonya Lee Williams and “Maestro Fresh” Wes Williams premieres as a special presentation in the Panorama section of the Berlin Film Festival, aka Berlinale, this weekend.

“My passion for Poor Boy’s Game was sparked by the idea of exploring tribalism through two characters that choose to step outside of their respective tribes in order to heal a community,” says director Clement Virgo, who co-wrote the locally set boxing film with Halifax writer Chaz Thorne (no relation). “The script reminded me of the movies of some of my cinematic heroes of the mid-50s, the ‘classic’ American period, like On the Waterfront, Rebel Without a Cause and Marty.”

Virgo attended Berlinale with his previous film, the explicit 2005 drama Lie with Me. Poor Boy’s Game will be released in Canada sometime this year.

The “Montgomery Burns Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence” Dept.

Congrats to the folks at NSCAD University, which recently picked up an Atlantic Canada Craft Award for Excellence in the Industry Leader/Supporter category.

New president David B. Smith accepted the honour. “This award confirms for me that the strength of our region is built upon incredible talent and a community spirit that fosters great collaboration,” he said. “As the academic leader in Canada’s creative economy, NSCAD takes great pride in its accomplishments and maintains a strong vision of how it will contribute to a future of cultural excellence in the Atlantic Region.”

In other awards news, Halifax dancer Jacinte Armstrong, a founding member of Verve Mwendo, won the inaugural Diane Moore Scholarship, created in honour of the late founder of Live Art Productions to facilitate the completion of a new dance piece.

Bollywood/Halifax

Guru, the Bollywood sensation that took Toronto by storm, hits Halifax this weekend. The first Bollywood film to premiere outside of India, Guru sparked the attendence of more than1,000 people at the red-carpet bow a month ago at the Elgin Theatre. India’s biggest film icons, Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai (Bride and Prejudice), star in the film and are also together, earning them the—ahem—distinction of being the “Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie of India.”

Guru is a rags-to-riches story about a small-town man who rises up “to become the biggest tycoon in Indian history,” the titular Guru.

The film opens February 9 not at the Oxford. Check your bus schedules and head on out to the cultural hotbed of Bayers Lake.

Where’s your cultural hotbed? Email: tarat@thecoast.ca

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