Halifax, NS, July 26, 2005 – The 25th Atlantic Film Festival, September 15-24, 2005, announced today a number of special 25th anniversary plans including: the new NSFDC Inspired Series, Strategic Partners focus on Germany, new Music & Image partnerships, alFresco Film on the Hill, an expanded visibility campaign and the Opening Night Gala screening of Thom Fitzgerald’s 3 Needles.
“This is a big year for us,” says Gregor Ash, Executive Director. “Our 25th year marks new partnerships and enhanced visibility. We’ve brought on partners including EastLink, our official communications provider, and Delta Barrington & Delta Halifax, our new official hotel. Stella Artois and Empire Theatres Limited have returned at a higher level of commitment and we’ve partnered with Extreme Group to put together a major advertising campaign. These and other partnerships will help enhance this year’s Festival and make it the best yet.”
The Opening Gala will be the Atlantic premiere of 3 Needles, directed by Thom Fitzgerald (The Event, The Wild Dogs, The Hanging Garden). This epic film on a worldwide epidemic spans three continents and features a star-studded ensemble cast. In South Africa, Clara (Chloë Sevigny) is a novice nun. Her mission is to convert the rapidly dying Africans to Catholicism before it’s too late. Along with two fellow sisters (Sandra Oh, Olympia Dukakis), she runs a clinic to administer to the most ill villagers. In China, Jin Ping (Lucy Liu) sets up her mobile blood collection service in a remote village. When farmer Tong Sam (Tanabadee Chokpikultong) is barred from selling his blood because he has the flu, he lies about his daughter’s age so she can sell blood twice a month instead. Soon, his wife and daughter are both mysteriously ill. In Canada, Denys (Shawn Ashmore) is a second-rate porn actor who passes his monthly blood tests by stealing samples from his geriatric father. When he gets caught, his family is thrown into turmoil. Facing the prospect of long-term care for her son, his mother Olive (Stockard Channing) develops a plan to escape the poverty that has held them back from enjoying life.
The Opening Night Film and Party will take place on Thursday, September 15. Opening Night packages and Festival passes will be on sale starting August 1 at www.atlanticfilm.com. All other tickets will be available online starting August 30 at noon when the full program of films and special events will be unveiled to the public.
To set things in motion for the 25th anniversary, AFF will present Film on the Hill, a special alFresco-style outdoor screening on Citadel Hill on September 9. Film on the Hill will screen the popular 1965 classic, The Sound of Music, starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. The free screening starts at 9:00 PM or dusk and moviegoers are asked to bring a blanket for seating.
In addition to screenings, the Festival presents the NSFDC Inspired Series, a presentation of panels, discussions, master classes, keynote addresses, luncheons and one-on-one meeting opportunities open to both Festival delegates and the general public. This program helps form the base of the Festival’s efforts to encourage filmmakers, film lovers and industry professionals from around the world to explore issues relevant to the film and television industry.
Kicking off the NSFDC Inspired Series on September 14, Attack of the 50-Foot Reels is an intensive Super 8 filmmaking workshop presented by veteran director Norwood Cheek. Participants will have two days to shoot a roll of film and then edit. The films will premiere later on at the Festival. At the New Media Game Show with Host Steve Comeau, guests Tim Wright and Rob Bevson will debate the pros and cons of new media in a game show style setting. Paul Weber, an experienced casting director for
both film and television, will teach the Casting Director Master Class. His recent credits include: Dead Like Me and Jeremiah for Showtime. In the Production Design Master Class veteran production designer, Dennis Washington, will lead participants on the creative roller-coaster ride of production design, from napkin-scrawled concept to thunderous, Technicolor climax in front of a rapt audience. Dennis Washington’s credits include: Stand By Me, The Fugitive, Prizzi’s Honour, The Net, The General’s Daughter, Life as a House and many more.
Building on last year’s success, the 8th annual Strategic Partners (SP) co-production market, September 16-18, will focus on co-production opportunities between Germany, Canada, UK and US. The conference will explore inter-provincial and international collaborations and offer the latest information on the marketplace. One of the keynote speakers at this year’s Strategic Partners is Karl Baumgartner of Pandora Film Distribution. Some of Pandora’s credits include films such as Emir Kusturica's film Underground, Nostalghia by Andrej Tarkovsky and Farewell my Concubine by Chen Kaige as well as Jane Campion’s The Piano and Aki Kaurismäki’s The Man Without a Past.
Once again this year, the AFF will partner with the East Coast Music Association, building on the relationship that was established in 2002. Strengthening the connection between the film and music industries, the Atlantic Film Festival’s Music & Image program (September 21-23) will partner with Nova Scotia Music Week (September 21-25), presented by the Music Industry Association of Nova Scotia, to offer extensive educational, networking, showcasing and career advancement opportunities for delegates of both events.
Back this year is the 2nd Annual Gerd Kurz Memorial Golf Tournament featuring a “who’s who” of the film and television industry on September 19, at Glen Arbour Golf Club. This tournament is also open to the public. Gerd Kurz, founder of Precision Camera Inc. and an AFF sponsor, passed away in 2003 at age 61. Always a strong supporter of the Atlantic Film Festival, he provided outstanding service to the motion picture industry in Atlantic Canada and across the country.
The 25th Atlantic Film Festival takes place September 15-24, 2005, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Tickets for the Opening Night package and Festival passes will be available online at www.atlanticfilm.com starting August 1 or by calling the IFC Festival Ticket Hotline at 902-422-6965. The full program will be available exclusively online August 30 with printed program guides available September 6.