by DAWN GEORGE
FLEXfest (Florida Experimental Film Festival) is in its 11th year and stands out because it is a purely experimental film festival. The festival occurs every February however, it alternates biennially between a competitive screening festival (with cash awards) and an invitational festival. This year my film Negative Nature was chosen from over 1,000 submissions to be one of the 90 films screened in the competitive festival. Negative Nature is an exploration of nature’s forms and rhythms captured in film reversal and was made entirely with an Open Grant from the Atlantic Filmmakers Cooperative.
This year was the first year for the festival organizing team of Alisson Bittiker and Natalie Nix. They arranged everything from airport shuttle services, to swag bags, to homestays. Homestays are like billeting for the arts. You stay with a host in their home and it gives you a deeper connection to the community you are visiting and saves you money on accommodations. I had an excellent experience, staying at the home of one of the local filmmakers.
Each year at the Halifax Independent Filmmakers Festival we showcase dozens of amazing local short films. The theatre is packed for a manic collection of animation, documentary, drama, and experimental work from across our region. In 2014 we launched the Atlantic Auteurs program with the goal of highlighting the best from Atlantic Canada as chosen by our jury of local filmmakers. It was a highlight of the festival when the filmmakers took the stage for a post screening Q+A and shared their stories and honoured their collaborators in the local film community who make their work possible.
To get you in the mood for the stellar shorts that will be on display at HIFF 2015 I wanted to share some HIFF alumni films that are now available on-line. There’s nothing like seeing a short film on the big screen with a room full of people though, so join us for the 9th Annual HIFF June 9th-13th to see Atlantic Canadian shorts the way they’re made to be seen.