HIFF Newsletter • May 21, 2019




by Khalik Allah
June 13 • 7 pm • Neptune Scotiabank Stage Theatre

On day two of HIFF, we're proud to present Black Mother, the latest impressionistic documentary from acclaimed New York filmmaker and photographer Khalik Allah. 

With Black Mother, Khalik Allah has established himself as an artist with a singular vision who is revolutionizing how we view documentary film. As if floating through a dream or a memory, we are submerged into a sensual world that Allah has crafted using a variety of formats including digital and analogue film, in both colour and black and white. The sound and picture are recorded at separate times, and the result is a transformative visual poem that immerses the viewer in Allah’s experience of Jamaica, the place where his mother grew up and where he spent time as a child. He creates respectful, honest and intimate portraits of the people he encounters while also revealing to us the complex layers of a specific place through his original and personal storytelling.

Tickets are available here.

"[Khalik Allah] is one of the most original cinematographers of the time."

— Richard Brody, The New Yorker

"In its poetic, elliptical, concise way, this film makes a grand statement: the black mother is the mother of life itself."

— Glenn Kenny, New York Times

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Following the screening, director Khalik Allah will join us for an audience Q&A live in the Neptune Scotiabank Stage Theatre. 

Check out the trailer here:


by Denis Côté
June 13 • 9 pm • Neptune Scotiabank Stage Theatre

HIFF will cap off its second day of screenings with Répertoire des villes disparues (Ghost Town Anthology), an enthralling and unsettling examination of life in rural Quebec from celebrated director Denis Côté.

Among the derelict homes and snow-swept plains of the fictional Irénée-les-Neiges, the dead return to haunt the living. Wracked by the sudden death of 21-year old Simon Dubé (Philippe Charette), the family and close-knit townspeople struggle to cope with their grief over the unexpected tragedy. Their desperate search for closure summons an ambiguous answer from the beyond as eerie spectres of the past begin to appear and wander the frozen soil. Captured on gritty 16mm, Répertoire des villes disparues walks a fine line between the real and imaginary, prompting questions about the nature of mourning, the fate of post-industrial society, and the fear of the Other. A far cry from your typical “horror” movie, Côté’s adaptation of Laurence Olivier’s 2015 novel will entice you with its poetic imagery and raise the hair on the back of your neck in equal measure.

Tickets are available here.

"A compassionate, subtle commentary on the casualties of urbanization."

—José Teodoro, NOW Toronto

"Denis Côté’s 'Ghost Town Anthology' is a pointedly modern portrait of a place that’s come unstuck in time."

—David Ehrlich, IndieWire

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Répertoire des villes disparues director Denis Côté will join us for a Q&A after the screening. 

Check out the trailer here: 


Every year, the HIFF Masterclasses bring some of the world's most thought-provoking filmmakers to Halifax to share their experiences, expertise and creative processes with local creators and the larger community through a series of artist talks.

The HIFF Masterclasses take place in the BMO Community Room on the second floor of Halifax Central Library. Each presentation is free for HIFF passholders or $10 admission, and passholders must RSVP to reserve their seats.

For more info, visit our website

Here's a look at this year's schedule: 

Joaquín Cociña—June 13 • 3pm–5pm (Tickets/RSVP)

Denis Côté—June 14 • 1pm–3pm (Tickets/RSVP)

Khalik Allah—June 14 • 3pm–5pm (Tickets/RSVP)

Lisa Jackson—June 15 • 2:15pm–3:45pm (Tickets/RSVP)


Where are you from originally?

I was born on Andros island in the Bahamas and spent most of my adult life between three islands there—Andros, Grand Bahama and New Providence.

What was the inspiration for the film you’re presenting at HIFF?

I had just recently met [Mr. Horizon co-director] Hesam [Hanafi] and learned that he was a poet. I’d read an older poem of his and a few images stayed with me from that. I asked him to write an original piece based on those images.

What films or filmmakers inspired you to make your own?

I was a shy child growing up and mostly lived with the characters I created in my head. The first film that caught my attention was Rain by Maria Govan. It was shot in the Bahamas with a Bahamian cast and crew. It featured a young island girl as the lead. It not only reflected my island upbringing but rang true and made me believe that I could one day create something like this.

What's your most memorable theatre-going experience?

I’ve never been a big theatre goer; this is something that’s growing on me. However, there are two most memorable experiences—meeting and interviewing Sir Sidney Poitier and having a dinner conversation with Sean Connery and his wife.

Where are you from originally?

Eastern Passage, NS

What was the inspiration for the film you’re presenting at HIFF?

It actually comes from events in my past, friends I had growing up in Eastern Passage, and my relationship with them. I had wrestled with the story a long time and finally decided to share. It also comes from wanting to depict the Passage in a way that's far less like a postcard, and something far more ... grey. 

What filmmakers inspired you to make your own?

I have a rotating list of filmmakers that keep me inspired. Lately I'm consuming plenty of [Rainer Werner] Fassbinder and Kelly Reichardt. I have lots of love for local filmmakers as well (gear up for some shout-outs): Heather Young, Winston DeGiobbi, Sol Nagler and Ashley McKenzie have all had major impacts on me in various ways.

What’s your most memorable theatre-going experience and why?

Legit, it's when my father took me to see Star Wars: Episode 1—The Phantom Menace 20 years ago. I had never been to the cinema before, and it was a profoundly moving experience. Quality of the film be damned, I had never been more excited in my life. I don't think anything can quite capture the feeling of a first experience like this, but damn it was grand. I still love the film too. 

HIFF's Atlantic Auteurs shorts program — Friday, June 14 at 9 pm
These films will screen along with nine other works made by established and up-and-coming filmmakers from across the region. Learn more about the full program here. 

View our 2019 trailer below to get a sneak peek at this year's selections:


HIFF wouldn't be possible without the generous support of community sponsors like the Centre for Art Tapes (CFAT)! Don't miss CFAT's 3rd annual Garden Party Plant Sale from 7am–1pm this Saturday—they'll have a wide selection of house plants, seeds, vegetables, herbs & more!

All proceeds go to CFAT programming and facilities. 

About HIFF

Now in its 13th year, HIFF provides a unique venue for filmmakers and media artists to share their work in a forum dedicated to the celebration of independent cinema. Since its inception, HIFF has showcased the Atlantic region's most innovative works alongside the films of acclaimed visiting artists. As a filmmaker's festival, HIFF brings the directors of the works we show to Halifax in order to create opportunities for them to connect directly with audiences and local artists through hosted Q+A's, artist talks and workshops. HIFF also presents a number of professional development initiatives, designed to assist local filmmakers with improving their skills and getting their films programmed at festivals around the world.   


HIFF is made possible with support from AFCOOP, the province of Nova Scotia, Canadian Heritage, Arts Nova Scotia, the City of Halifax, The Coast and Telefilm Canada.


ABOUT AFCOOP: Established in 1974 the Atlantic Filmmakers Cooperative (AFCOOP) is a non-profit, community organization dedicated to supporting the production and presentation of independent film and moving image-based work in a collaborative, learning environment.

AFCOOP operates with generous support from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Province of Nova Scotia and the City of Halifax.