On every last Friday of the month, visitors to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (AGNS) can now experience two different art forms with only one ticket.
Years of collaboration
According to Wayne Carter, executive director of FIN, the first time AGNS partnered with FIN was back in 2016. That year, the opening night movie for FIN’s annual film festival was Maudie: a biographical film about beloved Nova Scotian folk artist Maud Lewis. AGNS has a permanent exhibition of Lewis’s work. So, FIN invited AGNS to the festival.
“It was only logic to make [AGNS] one of the presenters of the opening night and party,” says Carter.
The collaborations between AGNS and FIN didn’t stop there.
“In 2019 we co-presented a collection of art-related short films by artist Althea Thauberger, including Mad Mad Mad Mad Filmy World,” says Carter. Thauberger’s work is currently on display at AGNS.
The idea for FIN Fridays, which Carter calls “an Atlantic Cinematheque,” didn’t come overnight. He discussed it for several years with his colleague and FIN Program Director Jason Beaudry. But since the beginning, Carter knew AGNS would be perfect for the collaboration.
FIN and AGNS “are both curators of art. Ours is the moving image, and theirs is a much more traditional approach, but we share a lot of the same mandates,” says Carter.
A packed program
Every selected movie for FIN Fridays has a local connection, whether it was made by Atlantic Canadian filmmakers or is about the Atlantic Canadian experience.
In January, they showed their first film: Perfume War, which Carter describes as “an incredible story about two friends fighting for better conditions in contemporary Afghanistan.”
On the last Friday of February, they will screen several short films that have won the Best Atlantic Short Film prize at FIN over the past seven years.
“There is an enormous wealth of short film content in the world, but usually it is very difficult to find,” explains Carter.
Carter and his team want to give people the opportunity to see short films while raising awareness about this art form.
At the end of March, they will screen the documentary Conviction, a film about incarcerated women that was shot in Dartmouth. According to Carter, although this film is specific to Nova Scotia, it has a nation-wide or even worldwide message.
In April, they will present the film Murmur, which is currently doing rounds in the festival circuit. Directed by Nova Scotian Heather Young, the film has won numerous prizes at such festivals as the Toronto International Film Festival.
Archiving Atlantic Canadian films
Carter sees FIN and AGNS as cultural organizations that celebrate local content. Therefore, the main idea behind FIN Fridays is to create a repository and archive for Atlantic Canadian screen content, as nothing similar currently exists.
“We are in an era where content is disappearing if it is not properly preserved and maintained. A lot of these films, especially short films and documentaries, are potentially being lost,” explains Carter.
To further enhance the experience of FIN Fridays, either the filmmakers o actors will be present in person or via Skype to conduct a Q&A with the audience after each film screening.
For Carter, it is the diversity of the films that makes the whole event so fascinating.
“I’m very excited about the program as an opportunity to raise the awareness about these incredible stories no matter which genre — dramas, comedies and maybe even musicals!”
Carter says FIN Fridays were made specifically to attract a student audience. The cost to attend any screening is included in admission to AGNS, which for students is $7.
Carter’s final advice for audiences to get the best overall experience from FIN Fridays is this: “Come at four o’clock for exploring the gallery to then join us in the screening room at seven for a great local film.”
All films will screen at AGNS’s Windsor Foundation Theatre.