Programmer Initiative 2016

For a third year running, the Halifax Independent Filmmakers Festival is host to the Programmer Initiative. Launched in 2014, the Initiative is a unique opportunity for Atlantic Canadian filmmakers to have their short films showcased to an international audience. Past years saw HIFF bring in programmers from the Vancouver International Film Festival, Montreal’s Festival du nouveau cinéma, South By Southwest, and Edinburgh International Film Festival. This has led to seven Nova Scotian films screening at VIFF and six Nova Scotian films screening at FNC, plus a special screening of AFCOOP’s 40th Anniversary Retrospective.

2016 guest logo banner

This year HIFF is expanding the Programmer by welcoming programmers from five internationally-renowned film festivals to come experience HIFF and meet Atlantic Canadian filmmakers. We’re pleased to host programmers from Toronto International Film FestivalFestival du nouveau cinéma, Vancouver International Film Festival, Vienna Independent Shorts and REGARD – Saguenay International Short Film Festival.

“Being able to meet top tier festival programmers one-on-one at HIFF was a great help to me in the distribution plan for my new short film TRANSFER. Not only did the programmers give me valuable feedback on where they thought the film might fit in the international festival circuit but they also invited me to contact them for further feedback when it came time to submit to their festivals.”
Chris Spencer Lowe, TRANSFER


One-on-One Meetings

The Programmer Initiative gives filmmakers the opportunity to interact with the programmers face-to-face through one-on-one meetings. These meeting will allow filmmakers to discuss recently completed or upcoming short films with the programmers and receive feedback. These meetings could result in the programmer wanting to program the filmmaker’s short film or recommending another potential film festival that could be the right fit. Priority of these one-on-one meetings will be given to Atlantic Canadian filmmakers who have a short film screening at HIFF 2016.

Programmer Initiative Screening + Q&A

The invited programmers will also attend HIFF’s Canadian/International Shorts screening.  The programmers will be at the screening to answer questions about programming and give some insight as to why they make the choices they do.

Check out the 2016 Programmer Initiative Screening page>>

Programmer Initiative Success

In 2014, Curtis Woloschuk of the Vancouver International Film Festival and Dan Karo of Festival du nouveau cinéma visited as guests of the first Programmer Initiative. They attended both Atlantic Shorts programs at the festival and hosted 1 on 1 meetings with local filmmakers. As a result, Howard and Jean by Heather Young, Righteous by Cory Bowles, Stray by Ashley McKenzie, and Kreb by Tim Tracey were programmed at VIFF. Chris Spencer-Lowe’s Transfer, Zac Barkhouse and Courtney Kelsey’s Fire in the Valley, and an AFCOOP 40th Anniversary Retrospective went on to screen in Montreal at FNC.

“Being a guest at the Halifax Independent Filmmakers Festival proved an incredibly valuable and rewarding experience. From the opening night, I was introduced to bold young filmmakers who weren’t yet on my radar.[…] In turn, I believe that I was able to put a human face on the sometimes impersonal and intimidating festival submissions process. In the three weeks since I’ve returned from HIFF, our entries from Nova Scotia have increased sixfold. As a result, Atlantic Canada will be well represented at the 2014 edition of the Vancouver International Film Festival.”
Curtis Woloschuk, VIFF