By Trevor J. Adams
Back for its 34th year, the annual Atlantic Film Festival offers a huge selection of works from Atlantic Canadian talents. “Due to the overwhelming response to our Atlantic Canadian film selections in 2013 we’ve added new programs and increased the amount of screenings by 30 per cent this year,” says program director Jason Beaudry. “We couldn’t be more excited about the 2014 Atlantic program. These 87 films are made with our own stories in our own voices, and as a whole they are a celebration of who we are and where we live.”
This year’s Atlantic Gala features the Atlantic Canadian premiere of Heartbeat by Halifax director Andrea Dorfman. Screening at Cineplex at Park Lane on September 12, the film marks the continuing collaboration of Dorfman and poet/songwriter Tanya Davis following their multi-million hit YouTube sensation and recent book How To Be Alone. With Davis playing a meek but determined office worker bound to follow love and music rather than convention, Heartbeat’s gentle love/loss/love plot, punctuated by quizzical bits of animation takes the story to a level of expression rarely seen in East Coast filmmaking.
The lineup also includes the Atlantic Features Program, which spotlights diverse feature-length films from across Atlantic Canada. Festival goers will connect with spirituality through nature in Kent Martin’s affecting documentary Raising Windhorse, soak up thrills and suspense with Jesse Harley’s Lure and two features from Paul Kimball in The Cuckoo in the Clock and Roundabout, revel in the unbridled hyperbole from Tim Tracey’s Canadian Ninja and Nik Sexton’s How to be Deadly, discover new talent with first features from Newfoundland filmmakers Christian Sparkes (Cast No Shadow) and Jordan Canning (We Were Wolves); and delight in the youthful drama of La gang des hors-la-loi (The Outlaw League) from director Jean Beaudry.
This year, the festival features the world premiere of two films from Atlantic Canada: Deanne Foley’s big screen adaptation of Lesley Crewe’s novel, Relative Happiness, and the career-spanning documentary of Newfoundland politician Danny Williams, Danny, co-directed by William D. MacGillivray and Justin Simms.
The busy schedule of events also includes the Atlantic Shorts Gala (eight short films on September 14), a celebration of rising talents called NextGen Shorts and the Atlantic Broadcast Program, which showcases the region’s television production industry. “Once again our industry in Atlantic Canada has delivered a selection of films both feature length and short subject that exemplifies what it means to be part of the Atlantic Canadian experience,” says Wayne Carter, executive director. “We are so pleased that our friends at Bell Aliant Community One are partnering with us to raise the curtain on an incredible selection of Atlantic feature films. This program is always our most popular with festival goers and this year everyone is in for a sublime treat.”
For schedules and ticket information, surf to atlanticfilm.com.