With premieres and gala presentations, the 2019 FIN Atlantic International Film Festival will showcase the talents of visionary documentary filmmakers from across Atlantic Canada and the country, September 12–19.
The 2019 edition of FIN is featuring world premieres of short docs by Halifax filmmakers: Sandi Rankaduwa’s Ice Breakers, Colin MacKenzie and Aparna Kapur’s Balakrishna, Jason Young’s Gun Killers, and Rachel Bower’s I Am Skylar.
Works by some of the best-known names in Atlantic filmmaking will be screening as well and include screenwriter Mary Walsh and director Deanne Foley’s St. John’s-produced short Radical.
Saturday, September 14, 3:30 p.m.
Cineplex Cinemas Park Lane, Theatre 8
Tuesday, September 17, 8:50 p.m.
Cineplex Cinemas Park Lane, Theatre 2
Balakrishna (15 min)
When an extraordinary new resident—Balakrishna, an Indian elephant—arrived in the town of East River, Nova Scotia, in 1967, no one was more in awe of the creature than young Winton Cook, who became inseparable from his mammoth new friend. Using painterly animation, photographs and home-movie treasures, Balakrishna transmits the wistfulness of childhood memories, while evoking themes of friendship and loss and exploring the issues of immigration and elephant conservation.
Colin Mackenzie is an award-winning storyteller working in a range of genres, from documentary films to music videos. Aparna Kapur is a Vancouver-based filmmaker who won the Best Emerging Canadian Filmmaker Award at the 2008 CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival. Balakrishna is produced by Kat Baulu and executive produced by Annette Clarke for the NFB’s Quebec and Atlantic Studio in Halifax.
Gun Killers (10 min 40 sec)
Written and directed by Jason Young, Gun Killers takes us into the rural, secluded paradise that retired blacksmiths John and Nancy Little call home. As the tranquil light of a typical day of harvesting vegetables descends into night, we experience the secret work that John and Nancy are sometimes called upon to undertake for the RCMP.
Produced by Rohan Fernando through the Quebec and Atlantic Studio’s Re-Imagining Nova Scotia initiative, Gun Killers is the fourth NFB production for Young, whose 2003 feature Animals received the Rex Tasker Award for Best Documentary at the FIN: Atlantic International Film Festival. The film is executive produced by Annette Clarke for the NFB in Halifax.
I Am Skylar (15 min)
I Am Skylar is the emotionally compelling story of an articulate 14-year-old girl who is thoughtfully defining her future and the woman she is to become. Surrounded by a family and a community who show her unconditional love as she follows her personal path, Skylar faces the complexities of being a transgender girl on the cusp of puberty with refreshing honesty and unshakeable dignity.
Rachel Bower’s previous films include In the Same Boat and the NFB production The Singing Lumberjack, both named Best Documentary at Fredericton’s Silver Wave Film Festival. Produced by Rohan Fernando through the Quebec and Atlantic Studio’s Re-Imagining Nova Scotia initiative, I Am Skylar is executive produced by Annette Clarke for the NFB in Halifax.
Reel East Coast Shorts Gala Presentation
Wednesday, September 18, 6:30 p.m.
Cineplex Cinemas Park Lane, Theatre 8
Ice Breakers (15 min)
Josh Crooks is a promising teen hockey star in a sport where Black players like him are chronically underrepresented. Sandi Rankaduwa’s Ice Breakers reveals the buried history of a pioneering Black hockey league in Atlantic Canada, as Crooks discovers that his unshakable passion is tied to a rich and remarkable heritage.
A writer and filmmaker who splits her time between Halifax and Brooklyn, Rankaduwa was named one of three BuzzFeed Emerging Writer Fellows for 2018. Ice Breakers is produced by Rohan Fernando and executive produced by Annette Clarke for the Quebec and Atlantic Studio’s Re-Imagining Nova Scotia initiative in Halifax.
Radical (5 min)
In Radical, Deanne Foley profiles fellow Newfoundlander Mary Walsh, the Great Warrior Queen of Canadian comedy, musing on time wasted as an object of desire and time well spent as the fearless agent of her own destiny. Written by Walsh and produced by Annette Clarke for the Quebec and Atlantic Studio in St. John’s, the film is inspired by Come into My Parlour by fellow Newfoundland filmmaker Mary Lewis, who joyously reclaims “spinsterhood” from its sexist implications in this animated homage to the undauntable great aunt who provided her first driving lesson.
In 1990, the NFB made waves with Five Feminist Minutes, a series of short films produced by the trailblazing Studio D, the world’s first all-woman production unit. Radical is one of four films produced for the NFB’s 80th anniversary year, as contemporary directors pick up the thread. Deanne Foley’s credits include engaging women-centred features such as An Audience of Chairs, winner of multiple awards at the 2018 FIN Atlantic Film Festival.