Halifax: Industry News 9/29/17

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♦ Cory Bowles has come a long way since his days in the Trailer Park. The multi-talented actor, dancer, musician, writer, activist and filmmaker has worn many different hats since landing his first television role in 1999, but he never could have imagined back then that his work would one day be seen by a sold-out house at an event as huge as TIFF. Fast forward to 2017, and the Nova Scotian auteur is flying high following the well-received debut of his first feature-length film, Black Cop, which he wrote, directed and edited. Filmed in Dartmouth and Halifax and based on his 2016 short of the same name, Black Cop is part satire, part social experiment and all apropos of the current socio-political climate in North America. Ronnie Rowe shines as the titular character, an unnamed policeman who, after seeing injustices served to the black community by his fellow officers, goes on a vigilante ‘roles-reversed’ rampage. It’s certainly a controversial take on real-life issues, but the film has, whether intentionally or not, sparked some meaningful dialogue off-screen. “Some people react to the ‘activism’ of it…. [but] it’s really just exploring a perspective” said Bowles, who sits on the Screen Nova Scotia board.

Aaron James

♦ #$@&*! Nova Scotia’s provincial government has agreed to help finance John Walker Productions to produce a documentary with a… colourful title. Based on an oft-cited book of the same name by Aaron James, a professor of philosophy at UC Irvine, Assholes: A Theory will explore how people come to be not-so-nice and the effect their behaviour has on others around them. Don’t be turned off by the profanity in the title — the film promises to be “intellectually provocative and existentially necessary”, according to the synopsis supplied by production. The funding for the project will come from the Nova Scotia Film and Television Production Incentive Fund, which was recently introduced as a replacement for the province’s now-defunct film tax credit.

♦ A series of free workshops designed to open up doors for filmmakers of different language groups will land in Nova Scotia this fall, as part of efforts by The Atlantic Filmmakers Cooperative to celebrate diversity in the Maritimes region. The program, called Languages of Nova Scotia, will first provide training to aspiring filmmakers at all levels of experience through five separate workshops — in Gaelic, Mi’kmaq, French, Farsi and American Sign Language, respectively — followed by an opportunity of a lifetime for one member of each group. The lucky five will receive mentored film training as well as funding and assistance to produce a short film in their language. The first workshop, for Gaelic-speakers, is scheduled to take place at the end of October at the Gaelic College in Englishtown.

Jeremy Webb

♦ One of the most prolific members of Atlantic Canada’s theatre scene, Jeremy Webb, has been appointed as the next artistic director of Halifax’s historic Neptune Theatre. The announcement came at the end of August, following a nationwide search conducted by the Board of Directors of the Neptune Theatre Foundation and led by Neptune’s former president, David Fountain. Webb will begin his five-year term on the first day of the new year, succeeding George Pothitos (who extended his tenure to 8 years in order to oversee the completion of a 2-year renovation project). From his current position as artistic producer of Eastern Front Theatre to his impressive theatrical portfolio (built up from his many roles at the Neptune as well as his own personal projects, WillPower Theatre and Off The Leash Creative), everything Webb has done in the last decade has been in preparation of this very moment: “I’ve wanted this job for a long time,” he beamed, adding “It’s going to be a great first season”.

♦ On the heels of another successful run of FIN: Atlantic International Film Festival earlier this month, residents of ‘Haliwood’ are looking forward to a fantastic fall lineup of film festivals, special screenings and entertainment events. Here are some upcoming Halifax happenings not to be missed:

The Midwife screening (September 29, Carbon Arc Cinema)

Halifax 48 Hour Film Project, premiere screenings & awards ceremony (September 30, Spatz Theatre)

GRIFF: Good Robot Independent Film Festival (September 30, Good Robot Brewing Company)

Atlantic Fashion Week (October 2 – 8, The Dome, Casino Nova Scotia & O’Regan’s Mercedez-Benz)

Nocturne: Art at Night (October 14, downtown Halifax)

Halifax Pop Explosion (October 18 – 21, various locations)

VFS Search Tour: Halifax (October 19, downtown Halifax)

2017 Atlantic Jewish Film Festival (October 19 – 22, Cineplex Cinemas – Park Lane, Museum of Natural History & Halifax Central Library)

Night of the Living Dead screening (October 30, Bella Rose Arts Centre)

Board Room Trivia: Harry Potter (October 31, Board Room Game Cafe)

By Miranda Cross

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