Following on the heels of big cousin TIFF, the Atlantic Film Festival may be smaller in scope but not in variety. Each year the film festival taking place in late September in Halifax, manages to strike a delicate balance between international arthouse and smaller, Canadian and even local films. Some of my favourites from last year’s festival included Mike Leigh’s quiet drama Another Year, Michael Goldbach’s appropriately dreamy Daydream Nation, Jacob Tierney’s follow up to his hit The Trotsky, Good Neighbours and legendary filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker’s thrilling doc Kings of Pastry. While all engaging and dynamic films, they vary in subject matter, genre and scope. Some boast big names, others introduce us to previously unknown names but they were all found playing side-by-side at last year’s festival. After coming away from last year’s festival feeling positive about what it had to offer, I was excited to find out what this year would have in store.
This year the festival has once again outdone itself and proves itself to be worthy of being noticed next to show stealer TIFF. The opening gala film Roller Town, a 70s roller skate movie parody is playing to sold out crowds each of the four screenings it is scheduled. The film is written and directed by and starring members of Halifax’s comedy troupe Picnicface. It promises to be great fun in the vain of cult comedy classic Wet Hot American Summer. Fresh from her Oscar-nominated turn in Blue Valentine, Michelle Williams stars in Take This Waltz, Sarah Polley’s much awaited follow up to her acclaimed directorial debut Away from Her. The film promises a rich, warm story as well as wonderful performances from Williams as the central character as well as Seth Rogen who plays her husband in a film that is very different from his usual broad comedy roles. The film I is legendary German filmmaker Wim Wender’s film Pina which promises to use the technology of 3D in a wholly new and creative way that we have not seen before. And finally, Miranda July’s much debated new film The Future is also coming to the festival where it is sure to make for interesting viewing.
More information on the festival’s schedule and box office information can be found on its website www.atlanticfilm.com.