Film is a naturally collaborative medium, and much of the best in music is as well. To bring filmmaking bigwigs and music honchos together is such a natural marriage, it’s sort of surprising no one thought of it before.
This year’s Atlantic Film Festival dates, September 15 to 24, overlap with the Nova Scotia Music Week, September 21 to 25, and the two events are joining forces, with the film festival’s Music and Image program running towards the end of its dates to coincide with the NSMW schedule.
Nova Scotia Music Week is a gathering of music industry professionals, ring-mastered by the Music Industry Association of Nova Scotia. Musicians, studio owners, technicians and reps from the record company side of things come from across Atlantic Canada and get together to focus on the business of music and how better to further their careers in the marketplace. If that sounds a bit dry, it’s not when you take a look at what’s on offer: master classes, information session, panels with industry professionals and certainly a few impromptu jams and gigs around town.
Glen Halfyard is the industry partner coordinator for the AFF and helps put together the Inspired Series of industry discussions, meetings and panels. He’s also a go-to guy for this year’s Music and Image, a program created three years ago in partnership with the East Coast Music Awards.
“We spoke to MIANS about the Nova Scotia Music Week, which normally runs in November,” says Halfyard. “We have some crossover so it works out for both of us. We bring in the international music supervisors to get artists who are export-ready and MIANS can do the local work.”
The AFF is programming a number of music and film industry panels, plus a few documentaries to go along with the potential wheeling and dealing.
Be Here to Love Me: A Film About Townes Van Zandt exposes the myths and hard truths of the life of the influential Texan folk singer. The history of punk music is revealed through interviews and rarely seen footage of seminal UK and US bands in concert in the doc Punk: Attitude. Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey is an anthropological look at the perpetually undervalued genre of popular music. Also showing are a selection of shorts, including Anna Gabriel’s backstage tour diary of her father Peter’s last big international jaunt, called Growing Up on Tour: A Family Portrait. Stranger: Bernie Worrell on Earth is a look at the career of the Parliament/Funkadelic keyboardist, and The Ramones and I revisits the glory days of the world’s greatest punk act through the eyes of a diehard fan.
As a MIANS board member and the event chair of Nova Scotia Music Week, Mickey Quase has seen the fruits of these events pairing.
“We have a blast working together,” he says. “It just seemed obvious to me that partnering with the AFF would add a whole new dimension to Nova Scotia Music Week and made perfect sense. It’s the fastest growing facet of the music business right now.”
The idea is that musicians are tuned to the prospects of getting their songs out to the widest possible market. As movie and television soundtracks have proven, a song playing behind a tender love scene will insinuate itself into the heads of the viewers. The viewers will then seek out that song for their own love scenes. The massive success of bands featured on the Fox Television series The OC is probably the most obvious recent testament to this practice, though it goes all the way back to the Bee Gees “Stayin’ Alive” on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. Bands, hoping for international success, want to meet broadcast and multimedia producers and vice versa.
One of last year’s success stories involved Halifax rockers Wintersleep, who were scoped by national artist reps SL Feldman and Associates. The connection led to the band’s song “Sore” being featured in an episode of Queer as Folk, which airs on Showcase Television here and on Showtime in the States. This year, acts such as Lennie Gallant, Matt Anderson, The Novaks and Matt Mays and El Torpedo, who are all performing at AFF-NSMW events, may benefit from the same connections.
“In today’s world,” says Halfyard, “it’s all about getting exposure.”