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Halifax Independent Filmmakers Festival shines light on local talent

The Halifax Independent Filmmakers Festival – put on by Atlantic Filmmakers Cooperative – runs from June 12 to June 15
(stock photo)

The Atlantic Filmmaker’s Cooperative has always given a space for local filmmakers to screen their films, and their film festival is the perfect platform.

This weekend plays host to the 13th Halifax Independent Filmmakers Festival, and executive director Martha Cooley is excited for the swath of talent that will be on display.

“We have seen the work done in this region and become more developed over time, and we hope that’s due to the work we’ve been doing,” said Cooley.

AFCOOP is a member-run centre for the production and creation of films in the area. They are a registered charity, and do film production programs, workshops, and screenings. They recently celebrated the founding of their cooperative 45 years ago.

While films are curated and can come from anywhere, the shorts are done via a submission process and must be Atlantic Canadian content.

“Atlantic auteurs send us in their work, and we are always overwhelmed with submissions. These are all wonderful Atlantic filmmakers,” she said.

The festival also includes receptions, celluloid installations, masterclasses with visiting filmmakers, and meetings with local auteurs and guest programmers.

One of the biggest things they look at through the festival lens is how to set the right tone.

“We look for bold work that pushes the boundaries of filmmaking. We want to bring people in who are doing something new,” she said. “Works that have the stamp of a person, writer or filmmaker are important, and we love to have films with specific feels.”

Their vision – to focus on Atlantic Canadian films – has been refined over time. They served as a complement to the other major film festival in town, FIN.

“We aren’t competing with them. They bring in Hollywood fare, indie fare, Oscar fare and bigger movies, as well as local and short content,” she said.

“We want a different and specific group, and we really want to showcase what comes out of the area. We want to show what makes Halifax and its filmmakers so different,” she said of the Atlantic Filmmakers Cooperative showcase.

“We think of the filmmakers behind the screen and want to get them involved in this, doing Q&As, and learning more about filmmaking.”

They will be doing nine screenings in total. They will include features, shorts and retrospectives.

Included in the screenings are Une Colonie, Black Mother, a retrospective of filmmaker Lisa Jackson, the Atlantic Auteurs showcase, and more.

“We really look forward to bringing people in and having visitors to this community who can truly enjoy themselves,” said Cooley.

“The films have such great connections to the local community, and we want to showcase that and make this a wonderful event for everyone.”

The Halifax Independent Filmmakers Festival – put on by Atlantic Filmmakers Cooperative – runs from June 12 to June 15.

Films are shown at Neptune’s Scotiabank Stages Theatre on Argyle Street. Visit for the full schedule,

Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door and $20 for double feature rates. Students get in free with a valid student I.D. 


About the Author: Jordan Parker

Jordan Parker is a freelance journalist & public relations student. He's been a movie nerd since he was old enough to walk, and the first movie he saw in theatres was Beauty & the Beast.
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