It all started about seven years ago, on a bus from Orlando, Florida to the Kennedy Space Center. That bus ride led me to taking part in my first film festival a couple of months ago, this past September – the Atlantic Film Festival – and doing it in style.
Back in 2010, I’d just finished with a huge Star Wars convention and had decided to spend my last day in Orlando going to the Kennedy Space Center. Of course, I was wearing my new Star Wars shirt. Someone noticed and we got to chatting. She had also been at the convention and was also Canadian.
Shortening up a too-long story, we stayed in touch through the years and even met up a couple of times when I travelled through her town. And – the point of all this rambling – she scored an invite for her and a guest to opening night of the 2017 Atlantic International Film Festival here in Halifax. It was a great opportunity to explore a place she’d never been before.
2017 Atlantic Film Festival
We arrived at the Rebeca Cohn in time for a VIP reception. The open bar served Propeller beer, local rum, Australian wine (really? all this local craft alcohol and you use Australian wine?) and, most important, champagne (or some other sparkling wine). I may have had about five glasses of champagne. That’s not important. Finger foods were so very tasty and catered by Lion and Bright.
A couple of hours later, we filed into the concert hall for the movie. It was the opening event, so of course there were the speeches by festival organizers, government stakeholders, and the directors of the opening film. Finally, the movie started… and yes, I realize I haven’t said what the movie was.
When the invite for the evening arrived, we didn’t know what movie would be showing. It seemed like it would be an interesting night anyway, so we weren’t too worried.
The movie turned out to be Long Time Running – a documentary about the recent final tour of the Tragically Hip. It was a movie I’d heard about and was looking forward to seeing anyway.
In my opinion (I’m no movie critic!), the film had beautiful cinematography and, at times funny despite the subject matter. The Rebeca Cohn, however, was not the right venue for this (or probably any) movie. It’s a concert hall, home of Symphony Nova Scotia. This is probably why the performance sections of the movie were amazing – almost like a real rock concert, or at least enough like one that I needed to work very hard not to totally rock out. The interview portions sounded horrible and it was actually difficult to understand what they were saying sometimes. I am certain this is a problem with the venue, and not the film. I would love to see this again somewhere else.
After the movie, buses waited outside to take us to the after party, held at the VIA Rail Station. Sponsored in part by Steel Auto Group, Porsches, Land Rovers, and other very nice cars were littered around the red carpet and train platforms. Craft beer and cider were available, as well as lots of tasty local treats. A DJ provided entertainment but a big opportunity was missed – I did not hear any Tragically Hip! In fact, I didn’t find the music matched the movie we’d just seen at all.
The next day, we decided to continue enjoying the film festival and purchased tickets for Beerocracy and the Shorts Program 1, consisting of several short documentaries that were really in my wheel house with a couple of photography and military docs.
It was a pretty fun weekend and I’m really glad I had the opportunity to attend! I’m kind of hoping she finds an excuse to come for Devour! at some point.
Were you at this year’s Atlantic Film Fest? What did you think?