I've been covering this festival for half a dozen years, and this is the first time it's rained on the opening night during that span. A couple years back AFF director Lia Rinaldo
told me part of the reason they decided to take the gala opening party inside from Argyle Street was because they figured one day their luck would run out. Smart people.
I'd heard that you couldn't get a ticket for tonight's world premiere of Picnicface's Roller Town
for any amount of money, but I was one of the fortunate few who managed to land one last minute. So, to the newly renoed Oxford Theatre I went, to find these lovely ladies (and a gentleman) skating about on the red carpet.
The ladies are representatives of the Halifax Roller Derby team, here tonight in boogie-wear for the disco-themed event.
When members of Picnicface did show up, they were happy to chat with members of the press corps and fans who were gathered. My feeling from having spoken to Scott Vrooman, Evany Rosen
and Bill Wood
was that they were excited about all the hoopla, if maybe slightly freaked out.
With the Oxford filled to capacity, Mark Little
was our host, managing to skewer hair-rock act Helix
, Thom Fitzgerald
and his "aging lesbian movie" and even Darrell Dexter
---absent from the proceedings this year---making the usual thank-you speeches a great deal less tedious thanks to his repartee.
Don't get me wrong, I understand that this moment is where the local film community producers, wheelers and dealers get to say thank you to the peeps for all the hard work. It's the Oscars for Halifax, there's a feeling of congratulation just for having finished a feature film. That's an accomplishment, I get it. But the reverence always goes on a bit with multiple speeches, so I was pleased with Little's fearless irreverence.
I won't say too much about Roller Town
,partly because I don't want to spoil the fun for whenever local folk get to see it and partly because there's a distributor embargo on reviewing the film. But I will say I laughed a whole bunch, and someone close to the film remarked to me afterward he suspected Roller Town
would really please people who enjoy getting stoned.
Then it was off to the gala party, taking place at the Olympic Centre, also known as the Olympic Gardens, also known as the Dirty O. It was chosen as it was the key location for the movie.
People looked good and the place was jumping to the DJ spinning the funk---with Rich Aucoin performing later---though the combination of the tropical downpour outside and the capacity crowd inside made for a human soup. It was like hot fucking yoga, and I did not last.