Pandemic extends the reach of this year’s FIN Atlantic International Film Festival

Annual film festival rebrands as FIN Stream as it moves to the digital realm with 114 films from 22 countries accessible from across Atlantic Canada

Halifax-born documentary filmmaker Ariel Nasr's The Forbidden Reel plays as part of this year's FIN Stream.
Halifax-born documentary filmmaker Ariel Nasr's The Forbidden Reel plays as part of this year's FIN Stream.

While this year’s FIN Atlantic International Film Festival has been forced online due to COVID-19, organizers are using it as an opportunity.

“When I joined the Festival organization nine years ago, one of my long term goals was to develop a way for the Festival to reach out in a concrete fashion to both creators and audience beyond Halifax and the surrounding area,” says Wayne Carter, FIN executive director in the release.

Carter is getting his wish. While the 2020 FIN Atlantic International Film Festival, rebranded this year as FIN Stream, will continue to be presented from Halifax, it will be virtually accessible throughout Atlantic Canada during its run in September.

“To say 2020 has been an unusual year would be an understatement and, back in January as we began plans for our 40th Anniversary celebratory Film Festival, we had no idea it would take the form it has. However, nothing inspires innovation and growth like challenge,” says Carter.

Featuring 114 films in 53 screenings along with other special events, FIN Stream includes films from 22 countries in over 20 different languages.

At its core, though, organizers say it remains a celebration of Atlantic Canadian film with five of the eight galas this year to include movies from New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

Among those films is The Forbidden Reel from Halifax-born and University of King’s College-educated documentary filmmaker Ariel Nasr. It is the story of Afghanistan’s moviemakers and the films seldom seen on this side of the world. Juxtaposing dramatic insider testimony with freshly restored images from Afghan film archives, Nasr crafts story of modern Afghanistan.

Also included as part of the gala presentations is the Reel East Coast Shorts Gala, featuring eight short films by Atlantic Canadian filmmakers.

Big draws for any film festival are its opening and closing galas. FIN Steam is no different.

This year’s opening film, Falling, is the directorial debut from actor Viggo Mortensen. The film also stars Mortensen as John Peterson, a gay man whose conservative and homophobic father starts to exhibit symptoms of dementia, forcing him to sell the family farm and move to Los Angeles to live with John and his husband, Eric.

The Festival’s closing film is the Danish drama Another Round (Druk). It tells the story four teachers who embark on an experiment to maintain a constant level of intoxication throughout the workday to determine if modest inebriation opens one’s mind to the world around us.

This year’s French gala is Martin Provost’s La Bonne Epouse (How to Be a Good Wife). Starring Juliette Binoche as a woman who runs a housekeeping school in 1960s France, following her husband’s sudden death, she transforms the school under the backdrop of the sexual revolution.

Each of FIN Stream’s eight gala screenings will be available for 24 hours, starting at 7 p.m. Atlantic and lasting until 6:59 p.m. the next day. Outside of those gala screenings, the entirety of the program will be available for ticket purchase and screening any time during the eight days of the Festival.

Tickets and viewing will only be available viewers within Atlantic Canada using IP addresses. More details can be found in the FIN Stream Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

The 2020 FIN Atlantic International Film Festival runs September 17-24. Visit finfestival.ca for a complete listing of film and tickets.