Martha is a filmmaker and arts administrator based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Her administrative work has been recognized by the Canadian Progress Club through their Women of Excellence Award. Her practice as a filmmaker is in experimental, cinepoetry work and her films have screened at festivals and in gallery installations across Canada. Martha is currently the Executive Director of the Atlantic Filmmakers Cooperative, a non-profit resource centre for independent filmmakers.



Gianna was raised in Edmonton and Ottawa but calls Halifax home where she balances making art and working in the arts. Gianna presently works on the teams behind OBEY Convention, the Halifax Independent Filmmakers Festival, and Side Door Access. In Ottawa she worked in artist relations at Kelp Management (Andy Shauf, Lido Pimienta, Michael Rault) and has co-produced MEGAPHONO Music Festival and Conference, the National Community Radio Conference, and Arboretum Music Festival. Gianna has a B.A. in Ethics with a minor in Journalism from Carleton University and has been the Station Coordinator at CKDU 88.1FM in Halifax. Her music project is called Gianna Lauren.



Evan is a Halifax-based writer and podcast producer originally from Lunenburg, NS. Last year, he served as Lunenburg Doc Fest’s media coordinator, and he’s currently putting the finishing touches on his first novel. His reporting has appeared in LighthouseNOW, Halifax Magazine, and in Finding Barrel Man, an audio story about a man’s attempt to sail from Nova Scotia to Bermuda in an oversized barrel back in the 1970s. His work has earned two Newspapers Atlantic award nominations, including one for Outstanding Editorial.



Jagger Lillington is a Halifax-based filmmaker. With a focus on writing and directing, Jagger has proven that he can work in multiple genres, from post-apocalyptic thriller to romantic comedy, and he enjoys pushing familiar genres in new directions. Jagger has recently completed his studies in the Screen Arts program at the Nova Scotia Community College, and is hoping to continue work as a filmmaker in Nova Scotia.


photo by Monika Gajewski

photo by Monika Gajewski

The HIFF 2019 Programming Committee is an external committee comprised of local filmmakers and cinephiles. The committee meets regularly in the months leading up to the festival  to select the visiting filmmaker content for the festival. The committee watched dozens of features and short films in order to select content for this year’s HIFF that is diverse, bold and contributes to the advancement of the discourse of cinema.

The Programming Committee is comprised of Daniel Boos, Zack Miller, Tori Fleming, Dawn George, Rena Thomas (not pictured) and Heather Young.

Heather Young

Heather Young

Heather Young, Programming Coordinator
Heather Young is a filmmaker living in Halifax, Nova Scotia. After graduating from UNB and NSCAD University she made several short films including Green (2013), Howard and Jean (2014) and Fish (2016). Fish played at festivals all over the world including Palm Springs Shortfest, the Vancouver International Film Festival, Vienna Independent Shorts and TIFF Canada’s Top Ten Festival. Her new short Milk had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (where she also participated in the TIFF Talent Lab), won Best Short Film in the QC/Canada section at Festival du Nouveau Cinema, and recently played TIFF Canada’s Top Ten, Aspen Shortsfest and the Maryland Film Festival. Heather has been a member of the programming team for the Halifax Independent Filmmakers Festival since 2016.

Dawn George

Dawn George

Dawn George is a filmmaker who also likes the outside. She is best known for creating films that offer intimate observations of plants, bugs, and moulds, accompanied by sophisticated soundtracks. Her current film obsession is listening to vegetables. Dawn’s work has screened at the Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival, Antimatter, Festival du Nouveau Cinéma, Supernova Digital Animation Festival, and WNDX.

Zack Miller

Zack Miller

Zack Miller is a software developer moonlighting as a film lover in Bedford, NS. He is also a programmer with Carbon Arc Cinema in Halifax, a frequent guest host for film series at Halifax Central Library, and his writing on cinema has been published in The Focus Pull Film Journal, Photogenie, Bright Wall/Dark Room, Shelf Heroes, and Cinema Scandinavia. Zack is interested in programming films that challenge audiences intellectually while broadening the standards of representation, in front of and behind the camera. He has a deep and abiding love of sight gags and his second language is subtitles.

Daniel Boos

Daniel Boos

Daniel Boos is an award-winning filmmaker from Halifax. His short films have screened at national and international festivals and competitions, including Montreal’s Festival du nouveau cinéma, the Vancouver International Film Festival, the Chicago International Film Festival, the CBC Short Film Face Off, and Canada’s Not Short on Talent at Clermont-Ferrand. His latest short film Thug won Best Atlantic Short and Outstanding Performance by an Actor at the 37th Atlantic Film Festival. In 2017, Daniel was a recipient of the Irving Avrich Fund from the Toronto International Film Festival. He is currently completing his MFA in Film at York University.


Tori Fleming is a media artist, programmer and curator based in Halifax, NS. Working primarily with 16mm Celluloid, Tori's practice also includes painting, installation, and animation. Her works have exhibited in Nuit Blanche Toronto, Art in the Open PEI, the Halifax Independent Filmmakers Festival, the Bus Stop Theatre, the Khyber Centre for the Arts and more. She has been awarded multiple grants and awards including the Starfish Properties Award for Film, the Atlantic Filmmakers Cooperative Celluloid Grant, and an Arts Nova Scotia Creation Grant.

Fleming’s curatorial work focuses on media arts, often centering on the space between media art and filmmaking. Fleming is currently the Director of Programming at the Centre for Art Tapes, a Media Arts based artist-run centre in North End Halifax. Through her independent curatorial practice, Fleming has recently worked with the Anna Leonowens Gallery, Nocturne Art at Night Festival, and the Halifax Independent Filmmakers Festival. Fleming works to promote the status of the artist and Canadian cultural institutions through volunteer work as a director on the boards of various arts groups including Halifax Ink, a Nova Scotia based artists publication non-profit, and as the Atlantic Canadian Representative for the Artist-Run Centre Association of Canada.


Rena Thomas is an artist and experimental filmmaker of settler ancestry living in Halifax, NS. She has also worked as an arts coordinator, programmer and safer spaces advocate. Rena’s art practice uses analogue film, installation, and performance to explore the concepts of body, landscape and memory. Informed by her observations of the environment and her experiences as a cisgender women, Rena’s practice hopes to reconnect a conscious connection to nature while simultaneously smashing the patriarchy. Her works have been shown at the 100$ Film Festival, Island Media Arts Festival, 8fest, Halifax Independent Film Festival and Nocturne.


HIFF assembles a jury of local filmmakers to watch over a hundred  short film submissions by filmmakers from Atlantic Canada. The jury is an external group which is separate from regular AFCOOP Staff and the HIFF Programming Committee.

Submissions to the Atlantic Auteurs program are open to filmmakers based in, or born in, Atlantic Canada.