The announcement of the FIN festival slate of films this year is set to expose viewers to multi-language films from all over the world.
It begins with the debut feature from Heather Young, a Halifax filmmaker who made Murmur, the first debut in 30 years to open the festival. Then the festival will close with Yarmouth-shot Hollywood film The Lighthouse.
Murmur will grace the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium at the Dalhousie Arts Centre on opening night, and the story of an elderly woman who works with rescue animals as community service following a DUI was lauded by head of programming Jason Beaudry.
For FIN Executive Director Wayne Carter, he says discovery is all part of the journey.
“We start at home with this festival, go all around the world for eight days and bring them right back home at the end,” he said. “It’s exciting to open with a local debut feature from a female director, and then close with a large Hollywood presentation with awards buzz that was shot in Nova Scotia.
Head of Programming Jason Beaudry and his team scanned through more than 2,000 films this year to choose the 199 for the festival. He was excited with what they presented today.
“Honestly, it was an embarrassment of riches. We were super pleased with the Atlantic Canadian representation, and we’ve never been so confident in an opening night film as we are in Murmur. Her mastery of the craft is incredible,” said Beaudry, echoing Carter’s sentiments about the opener.
Beaudry reiterated that the festival truly does have something for everyone.
“You could go a full day watching documentaries, features, social issues, or even LGBTQ+ content. Every person can have a different experience, but also a shared experience through the festival,” he said. “Look over everything, see what’s on offer, and there’s such a wonderful element of surprise if people take a chance.”
With Toronto International Film Festival favourite and Cannes Palme D’Or winner Parasite, John Walker documentary Assholes: A Theory, Judy Garland biopic starring Oscar frontrunner Renee Zellweger as titular Judy, Canadian gem Atom Egoyan’s new Guest of Honours, as well as FIN 2017 gem I, Daniel Blake follow-up Sorry We Missed You from Ken Loach, it should be a star-studded fest.
There are also a full slate of documentaries – including musical ones like Mystify, a biopic of late INXS singer Michael Hutchence – and more.
“There is a lot of solid work this year. We have an abundance of music-themed documentaries and they’re tremendous. In terms of award-winning films from the year to, we have such a cross-section from Tribeca, Sundance, CANNES and TIFF.”
Fact-based war film The Last Full Measure, starring Christopher Plummer, William Hurt, Sebastian Stan, Ed Harris, Peter Fonda and Samuel L. Jackson is coming, as are Who Let the Dogs Out, Killing Patient Zero and Bill Nighy showcase Sometimes. Always. Never.
The Restored! Program will feature four screenings of Agnes Varda, the legendary filmmaker who passed this year, and a documentary about her, titled Varda by Agnes, will also screen.
Back this year is the EXTREME program, which was a hit with late-night screenings of insane flicks Mandy, the provocative House That Jack Built and French film Climax last year. So far, Bachaurau, a riff on spaghetti westerns has been announced, and Carter called the second announced film, Monos, “Apocalypse Now meets Lord of the Flies” during the press conference. The expect to announce a third film for the program in a few days.
“We had such a great response to it last year, and the audience has been different than most of our offerings. We deliver some curve balls this year, and the films are more political and on the violent side. Quite frankly, Monos is the best film I’ve seen this year,” he said.
“Bachaurau is out to lunch. This is a very unusual movie that gets incredibly violent. It’s a riff on The Most Dangerous Game with UFOs and a sci-fi bent. It’s amazing.”
FIN Partners will once again be back for its 22nd year, with special guest, producer Finola Dwyer, who runs Wildgaze Films. She has been behind such production as the Oscar-nominated Brooklyn and An Education, as well as Netflix hit Our Souls At Night.
“We are fortunate to have something with an incredible history and reputation, and people around the world talk about the opportunities from FIN Partners,” he said.
On behalf of the Canadian government, Member of Parliament for Halifax announced ACOA funding for FIN of $335,000 on Wednesday morning as well. Carter was pleased with the news.
“We fulfill an important piece in the mandate for arts and culture. We foster young filmmakers and help get their work out there,” he said.
“We are a non-profit and charity, and this is just about making sure things happen the right way, and the small team here at FIN is incredible.”
The Atlantic Canadian slate is incredible, and even the closing film was shot in Yarmouth, N.S. The Lighthouse, starring Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe is being touted for Oscar nods, and was lauded at TIFF.
“We have such great Atlantic Canadian stuff and we have especially good documentaries this year. Part of our mandate is to platform and promote films from around here. We really want local content in prime slots,” he said.
To check out the schedule and purchase tickets, head here.