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23rd Atlantic Film Festival Readies for its “Event”

23rd Atlantic Film Festival Readies for its "Event"

23rd Atlantic Film Festival Readies for its “Event”

by Brian Brooks

Olympia Dukakis and Sarah Polley in a scene from Thom Fitzgerald’s “The Event,” which will open the 23rd Atlantic Film Festival. Image courtesy of ThinkFilm

One more of eastern Canada’s large-scale film events is set to unspool with the program announcement yesterday for the 23rd Atlantic Film Festival, which will host a gala opening of Thom Fitzgerald’s Sundance 2003 feature, “The Event.” The film, which stars Oscar-winner Olympia Dukakis, will kick-off the fest on September 12th and the festival will run through September 20th in Halifax, Nova Scotia, screening 176 films, including 83 features and 93 shorts.

The Atlantic Fest will also present a series of galas and special presentations during the event showcasing films and programs. Toronto-based Indian director Deepa Meetha’s romantic feature “The Republic of Love” will be the festival’s International Gala, while Duncan Roy’s BAFTA-nominated, “AKA” about a youth’s search for love and status set in 1970s’ Britain will be one of the festival’s four special presentations screenings. Sundance 2003 special screener “Prey for Rock and Roll” by Alex Steyermark starring Gina Gershon, Drea De Matteo, Lori Petty, and Shelly Cole as an all-girl punk band in Los Angeles will be the festival’s ‘Showcase Late Shift Gala’ presentation. Anita McGee’s “The Bread Maker,” which will screen in the Perspective Canada section of the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival, will be the event’s Atlantic Gala, while Thomas McCarthy’s 2003 Sundance-winning “The Station Agent” will screen as an “Anniversary Gala.”

Among the 52 docs set for the Atlantic Film Festival is Jason Young’s “Animals.” The film document’s Young’s adventure in taking up animal husbandry on an abandoned Nova Scotia farm and explores what it takes to raise one’s own meat, both physically and mentally. Also set is Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott’s investigation of power and the 21st century corporate model in “The Corporation,” which will also play in Toronto. Special programs featured during the fest include “Best of Britain: The Postwar Idea of the United Kingdom” featuring eight films including “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” and “Shakespeare in Love.”

Closing the Atlantic Film Festival is Denys Arcand’s “Les Invasions Barbares” (The Barbarian Invasions), the sequel to “The Decline of the American Empire.” The film focuses on a man dying of cancer who tries to find final peace while friends and family gather to his bedside to offer support and settle scores. Arcand won a best screenplay prize for the film at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival while Marie-Josee Croze won best actress for her role in the film.

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