Halifax filmmakers take over the world


I hate that whole Hollywood East deal, but it was a banner week for Halifax filmmakers. First of all, Jay Dahl’s 10-minute trailer for There Are Monsters received a whopping 640,000 hits in its first 72 hours on YouTube (by Friday it was over 700,000), over 2,000 comments and a bunch of honours---it’s was rated the #1 Most Viewed (This Month), #1 Top Favourited (This Month), #68 Most Viewed (All Time) and the #2 featured Film & Animation in Ireland. I still haven’t forgiven Dahl for scaring the shit out of me when I saw this at the media screening during the Atlantic Film Festival, but I plan on sending him my drycleaning bill from when I dropped my sandwich onto my dress. Apparently a Google executive told him that the film “scared the shit” out of her too. Not sure how we’ll all handle the feature length when it comes out next year---the soundtrack is closing in on Tubular Bells and Exorcist territory.

Then we received word that Matt Trecartin and Natasha Ryan won the award for Best International Director of a Documentary at the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival, for their documentary Chasing Wild Horses, produced by Arcadia Entertainment. We featured the doc in The Coast when it first premiered on Bravo last April. It’s a gorgeous film about New York fashion photographer Roberto Dutesco’s obsession with the Sable Island horses.

The awards aren’t over, my friend. We also learned that Bedford filmmaker Paul St.Amand won the TriggerStreet.com Short Film Festival. TriggerStreet was started by Kevin Spacey and Dana Brunetti as a platform for emerging filmmakers and writers. You may be familiar with the judges: Jeff Goldblum, Sam Mendes, Dave Stewart, Rufus Wainwright, Roger Waters and Robin Williams.

The celebrity juggernaut picked St.Amand’s directorial debut, Parallels, which he finished in 2006, shortly after graduating from the Vancouver Film School. “I was blown away. It’s very cool,” he says, a day after the announcement. He sounds like he’s still in shock. St.Amand’s been in other film festivals with celebrity jurors, but he’s still amazed that they watched it, let alone loved it.

Parallels tells the stories of two men: James and Josh, both are American soldiers who deserted to Canada during wartime---only James left in 1968 and Josh in 2004. “Their stories are eerily similar,” says St.Amand. “It doesn’t seem like a radical statement now but it was more so three years ago to make that comparison about Vietnam and Iraq.”

Right now St.Amand is busy in town as a film editor, working on a music video for MIR and shooting The Lot, a pilot for a series about two half-brothers who run a car lot in Sackville. But he has a short film script in the works that he’s hoping will get more attention someday, thanks to Parallels and the attention he's received from the stars.

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