How to HIFF — 2019 Festival Guide



The 13th annual Halifax Independent Filmmakers Festival takes place June 12–15 at Neptune Scotiabank Stage Theatre.

We’ll start things off with a celebration at our Opening Night Reception! There will be food, drinks, and top-notch vibes starting at 6 pm on June 12. Plus we’ll unveil two special presentations: haus of haraway, the VR installation from artist Séamus Gallagher, and In the space between memory and loss, Ursula Handleigh’s entrancing dual-film expanded cinema piece.

Come toast to another year of great films and get a good seat for our Opening Night Screening of Une Colonie, co-presented by Telefilm Canada!

In the meantime, be sure to get your HIFF 2019 Festival Pass or tickets online!

Passes will be available for pick-up on June 10 & 11 at the AFCOOP office (5663 Cornwallis Street) between 10 am–6 pm, or during the festival an hour before each screening. Individual tickets will be available at the door.




This year’s HIFF is proud to present an electrifying lineup of five features, two filmmaker retrospectives, and two short film programs that show off some of the most exciting work being made in Atlantic Canada and beyond.

Whether it’s impressionistic documentaries like Black Mother and El Mar La Mar, the mind-bending animation of La Casa Lobo, or Répertoire des villes disparues and Une Colonie’s shining examples of the magic of French Canadian cinema, HIFF 2019 features a programme of boundary-pushing films unlike anything else you’ll see in Atlantic Canada.

Of course, the greatest advice we can give is to see it all. But for those who can’t, here’s a glimpse at this year’s films to help find what’s right for you. Click the images below to learn more:



dir. Geneviève Dulude-De Celles
June 12 • 7 pm

As she navigates family tension, the lack of adolescent consent, the realities of colonization and the notion of conforming, Mylia befriends a boy living on the neighbouring Odanak reserve who helps her see the beauty in colouring outside the lines.


Recommended for fans of: Andrea Arnold, Xavier Dolan, Céline Sciamma.



dir. Joaquín Cociña & Cristóbal León
June 12 • 9 pm

Once upon a time, somewhere in southern Chile, Maria escapes from a cult. With a wolf in hot pursuit she takes refuge in a house in the woods occupied by two little pigs—but don’t mistake La Casa Lobo for your typical fairytale.


Recommended for fans of: Guillermo Del Toro, Don Hertzfeldt, Pablo Larrain, René Laloux.



dir. Khalik Allah
June 13 • 7 pm

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.


Recommended for fans of: Robert Bresson, Steve McQueen, Akira Kurosawa.


Répertoire des villes disparues

dir. Denis Côté
June 13 • 9 pm

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.


Recommended for fans of: Denis Villeneuve, Ingmar Bergman, David Lynch.



June 14 • 7 pm

Our retrospective of Jackson’s short films explores how she skillfully and poignantly captures the complexities of human experience. Through her work we gain insight and inspiration on how creative filmmaking can generate positive change.


Atlantic Auteurs

Various directors
June 14 • 9 pm

The Atlantic Auteurs program celebrates eleven new short films from a diversity of regional filmmakers, including several HIFF alumni and some exciting new voices.



June 15 • 7 pm

The films’ lush colours and landscapes will transport you to a surreal world and leave you wondering what is real and what is an illusion.



dir. Joshua Bonnetta and J.P. Sniadecki
June 15 • 9 pm

Formally brilliant, effortlessly political, and never clinical: El Mar La Mar is a towering achievement that outstrips current conceptions of the documentary as an art form.


Recommended for fans of: Werner Herzog, Chloé Zhao, Apichatpong Weerasethakul.




June 14 • 9 pm — LATE

Celebrate 13 years of HIFF at our COSMIC PARTY!
Bring friends, make friends.
It’s FREE and all are welcome!

Sit in on intimate workshops and discussions with some of the world’s most thought-provoking filmmakers. This year we welcome: Joaquín Cociña, Denis Côté, Khalik Allah & Lisa Jackson.

Admission is available by RSVP for passholders or by single tickets $10 in advance. Find the HIFF Masterclasses schedule and RSVP/ticket info here.


Four film festival programmers from around the world will band together at Adventures in Programming to discuss their selection processes and present a short-film program featuring some of their favourite discoveries.

Adventures in Programming is a one-of-a-kind chance to get a glimpse at the work that goes into building a festival lineup and to see a selection of outstanding shorts that are making waves internationally. Join us on June 15 at 4 pm.



• All HIFF events are scent-free.

• Downtown parking can be tricky. Plan accordingly, consider the bus.

• A festival pass doesn’t guarantee your seat. Arrive early! The box office opens an hour before each screening.

• Purchased a drink in the Neptune lobby? No chugging necessary—you can bring it in the theatre.

• HIFF will not tolerate discrimination or harassment of any form. This includes but is not limited to: racism, sexism, ableism, transphobia, queerphobia, homophobia, sizeism, ageism, xenophobia, sexual harassment, or violence of any kind. We encourage anyone who experiences or witnesses violations of this policy to speak with event volunteers and/or HIFF/AFCOOP staff who will address the situation immediately, and provide support and further resources. If you are found violating our policy, you may be asked to leave the space.