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FIN Atlantic International Film Festival returns to the big screen

This year's AIFF is returning to the big screen, with 178 in-person screenings and a re-appearance of the festival's parties, receptions, live Q&As and panels.

The 2022 FIN Atlantic Film Festival returns with a full program of in-person screenings. Photo by Felipe Bustillo.
The 2022 FIN Atlantic Film Festival returns with a full program of in-person screenings. Photo by Felipe Bustillo.

Following two years of online and hybrid offerings, the FIN Atlantic International Film Festival (AIFF) is returning to the big screen in 2022 with 178 in-person screenings. It also marks a re-appearance of the festival’s parties, receptions, live Q&As and panels.

The programming team, led by director of programming Jason Beaudry, has curated an excellent, wide-ranging and diverse selection of films, and we can’t wait to be together again and watch them with you on the big screen. – AIFF’s executive director Martha Cooley

And while the popular FIN Stream platform returns, with just 77 films scheduled for viewing online, it’s not hard to understand that the emphasis this year is decidedly on the screenings at the Cineplex Park Lane Cinemas in downtown Halifax.

“We have a fantastic lineup of local, Canadian and international films for you to watch and engage with this year,” says AIFF’s executive director Martha Cooley. “The programming team, led by director of programming Jason Beaudry, has curated an excellent, wide-ranging and diverse selection of films, and we can’t wait to be together again and watch them with you on the big screen.”

The festival kicks off on September 15 with the opening night gala film of Clement Virgo’s new film, Brother. Adapted from the award-winning novel by David Chariandy, it is the story of two Trinidadian-Canadian brothers coming of age in 1990s Scarborough. The red carpet opening night celebration will follow the screening at The Waegwoltic Club.

Clement Virgo's adaptation of David Chariandy's award-winning novel Brother opens this year's FIN Atlantic International Film Festival.
Clement Virgo’s adaptation of David Chariandy’s award-winning novel Brother opens this year’s FIN Atlantic International Film Festival.

Wrapping up the festival is The Whale. From critically acclaimed filmmaker Darren Aronofsky it features an unrecognizable Brendan Fraser as an obese teacher looking to reconnect with his daughter. AIFF’s closing night party will follow the screening at the Lighthouse Arts Centre.

Brendan Fraser transforms in The Whale, the closing night film at this year's FIN Atlantic International Film Festival.
Brendan Fraser transforms in The Whale, the closing night film at this year’s FIN Atlantic International Film Festival.

Atlantic Canadian filmmakers will also get ample opportunity to share their stories in three Atlantic gala presentations.

First up is Jackie Torren’s documentary feature Bernie Langille Wants to Know What Happened to Bernie Langille. in which a grandson attempts to uncover what happened to his grandfather and namesake, a military corporal who died in 1968 under mysterious circumstances.

Filmmaker Jackie Torrens's use of miniatures to dramatize long-ago events in Bernie Langille Wants To Know What Happened To Bernie Langille, was inspired by artists she’d met while working on a radio documentary.
Filmmaker Jackie Torrens’s use of miniatures to dramatize long-ago events in Bernie Langille Wants To Know What Happened To Bernie Langille was inspired by artists she’d met while working on a radio documentary.

Then, in the Atlantic Canada premiere of Ashley McKenzie’s Queens of the Qing Dynasty, a neurodiverse teen develops an unlikely rapport with an international student while volunteering at the local hospital.

In the third Atlantic gala presentation, nine short films by Atlantic Canadian filmmakers will feature as part of Reel East Coast Shorts.

Other gala highlights include Korean director Park Chan-wook’s Cannes Award-winning film Decision to Leave. Then in Marie Clements’s Bones of Crows, a Cree matriarch survives a childhood in Canada’s residential school system and becomes a Cree code talker in World War II. Finally, director Mia Hansen-Løve sends a tender love letter to Paris in their latest film Un Beau Matin.

This year’s special presentation lineup includes the filmmaking debut of Halifax journalist and multi-disciplinary artist Tara Thorne with Compulsus and the world premiere of Bystanders from Halifax-based actor, director, writer, and producer Koumbie.

In Koumbie's Bystanders, six childhood friends gather for their annual reunion that begins to unravel when they learn that one of them is guilty of sexual assault.
In Koumbie’s Bystanders, six childhood friends gather for their annual reunion that begins to unravel when they learn that one of them is guilty of sexual assault.

The festival’s special presentations program also features work by filmmakers from Canada and the world, including Canada’s Oscar-nominated Hubert Davis, Swedish filmmaker Ruben Ostlan, and more.

For the first time since 2019, the AIFF will host in-person parties, receptions, live Q&As and panels. The festival will also welcome back the in-person awards ceremony.

Other in-person events will include the RBC Script Development Program pitch competition hosted by filmmaker Bretten Hannam in which five emerging screenwriters pitch their projects to an industry jury in the hopes of winning a grand prize of $10,000 in development money. There will also be a series of daytime panels and info sessions hosted by filmmaker Stephanie Joline and FIN Partners, an industry event focusing on film, television, and digital fiction projects.

“There’s so much to see and experience at this year’s festival and we hope you take in as much of the eight jam-packed days as you’re able,” says Cooley.

The 2022 FIN Atlantic International Film Festival takes place September 15-22. Visit finfestival.ca for the complete lineup, tickets and more information.

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