Feature by: Jason Woloski
Posted on: 15 September 2007
As one of the “other” Canadian festivals after Toronto, the Atlantic Film Festival offers an impressive spread in an intimate coastal setting. Halifax, Canada is home to this festival, and as a seaport city, a university town, and a welcoming tourist spot for cruise ships from around the world, it is appropriate that films selected for screening in Halifax reflects a balance of international filmmaking, Hollywood’s upcoming fall fare, Canadian features and shorts, and a variety of films made by Maritime Canadians about Maritime Canada.
This year’s highlights include Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution, Nicolas Roeg’s Puffball, Paul Schrader’s The Walker, Ethan Hawke’s The Hottest State, Steve Buscemi’s Interview, Kenneth Branagh’s Sleuth, and Peter Greenaway’s Nightwatching. Greenaway will be attending the festival, as will Albert Maysles, whose legendary Gimme Shelter is being specially screened.
The coverage of global, national, and local films at the Atlantic Fest makes it seem as if multiple mini-festivals are taking place at the same time in one city. If devoted festivalgoers tastes or interests simply do no line up, they may not cross paths with each other during the entire feverish ten day run. If a moviegoer is interested exclusively in documentaries, for instance, you may find them at In the Shadow of the Moon, a film built around interviews with the surviving Apollo astronauts, Confessions of a Superhero, about struggling actors who portray superheroes outside of Hollywood’s Chinese Theatre, or Afghan Muscles, about the surprising emergence of bodybuilding as a popular sport in Afghanistan in recent years.
Filmgoers interested in more local fare will likely attend Roger Spottiswoode’s Shake Hands with the Devil, a film which was partially shot in Halifax and focuses on the Canadian military’s involvement in the Rwandan genocide. Maritime Canadian filmmaking is further highlighted in a number of feature films, as well as the Atlantic Shorts programme, which packages a series of short films about Atlantic Canada into five distinct packages.
Of note, although the festival kicks off the middle September each year, the Atlantic Film Festival Association sponsors a warm up for local moviegoers with the annual alFresco filmFesto. At alFresco, a series of popular classics are projected onto the side of a building on the Halifax Waterfront throughout the month of August. This year’s films included The Big Lebowski, Donnie Darko, and Back to the Future. Watching a film projected onto a wall with the Atlantic Ocean only a few feet away and fog rolling through the moving images as they fly over your head may seem like the most Maritime description for film watching imaginable. No, lobster is not served at screenings, but only attendees can attest to how unusual and memorable this festival really is.
The 27th Atlantic Film Festival runs from September 13 – 22. Please refer to this page during the coming weeks for reviews of select festival films.
|In the Shadow of the Moon||24 September|
|Lust, Caution||30 October|
|Confessions of a Superhero||06 November|
In the Shadow of the Moon2007
Confessions of a Superhero2007
Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade2007