by Tara Thorne
Announcements are starting to come down from the Atlantic Film Festival, beginning with this year's crop of Inspired Script participants. The program has gone through a change from previous years: It "goes forward by moving back—to the feature film outline," says AFF programming manager Andrew Murphy. "Six talented Atlantic Canadian writers have been chosen to take their inspiring stories from an outline to the treatment stage and then pitch them to industry professionals for the chance at receiving further financial and professional development from our sponsors."
This year's line-up of scribes is an experienced roster of local filmmakers. Drea Hagen and Chris Cuthbertson are the team behind last year's AFF-screened feature A Bug and a Bag of Weed, Warren Jefferies directed the Halifax hip-hop doc The 902, Iain MacLeod was a staff writer on Trailer Park Boys while his co-writer Deanne Foley wrote and directed short fave Trombone Trouble, Meredith Ralson has produced documentaries in association with the National Film Board and coming in from New Brunswick is Saint John's Brent Shepard, who's got some irons in the TV fire.
The participants will work with Canadian industry legend Al Magee to get their outlines into a pitchable treatment shape. The winner, to be chosen during this year's AFF (September 13-22), will get development money from Telefilm and have their script read at a live reading during the 2008 of the festival.
In other AFF news they've announced that Peter Greenaway will be the special guest at this year's Academy Luncheon, on September 16. Tickets will be available through atlanticfilm.com.
Although the strong dollar and the winter's ACTRA strike built a speed bump for local film and television production in 2007 (but Tom Selleck is back in town for the latest Stone Cold and that Lifetime MOW, which didn't have a star last time we heard, is gearing up as well) the Nova Scotia Film Development Corporation is reporting that 2006 was great, with revenues up 12 percent to $136 million.
You can thank 14 series, 15 specials and terrible TV movies Wedding Wars (Stamos! McSteamy!), Candles on Bay Street (oh, Alicia) and the post-Buffy Charisma Carpenter-starrer Relative Chaos for the boost. Also don't forget about this fall's space Viking odyssey Outlander, produced by a Weinstein and starring Jesus (Jim Caviezel).
But seriously—we're going to be positive here, for reals—much credit must go to Poor Boy's Game, the Clement Virgo-directed feature co-written by local Chaz Thorne (no relation). Starring Danny Glover, Tonya Lee Williams and Wes "Maestro" Williams, the Nova Scotia-shot and <0x2013>set film premiered to acclaim at Berlinale earlier this year, and we wouldn't be surprised to see it in the list of Canadian features that will be announced by the Toronto International Film Festival on July 17.
"Nova Scotia's production community is an impressive mix of creativity, talent, experience and business skills," says the NSFDC's CEO Ann MacKenzie. "Aside from the superior film, television and new-media projects being produced locally, the province's depth of actors, crew and stunning locations have created an environment where guest productions want to film."
Out and about, onscreen
Thom Fitzgerald's Reel Out Film Festival returns to the Pride festivities after a successful first year in 2006 with Queens!, a Spanish film featuring five mothers dealing with their sons in the days leading up to the country's first gay wedding. The film screens July 14 at Park Lane at 7pm. The $15 ticket (available at ticketpro.ca) gets you into the post-movie art reception at Fitzgerald's gallery eMotion, where he'll launch Art: The Disposable Show featuring photographs taken with disposable cameras by the likes of Gus Van Sant, Harvey Fierstein and Alan Cumming. Reel Out runs through July 19.
We encourage north-end dwellers and visitors to take a stroll by the Halifax North Memorial Library, at 2285 Gottingen, to check out the truly fab new sculpture that was erected out front at the end of June. Designed by NSCAD's Doug Bamford and Stephen Brathwaite and featuring George Elliot Clarke's poem "North is Freedom," it's a vibrant addition to the neighbourhood. We like!
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