Wayne Carter believes, “If you work around something you love it’s never really work.” Carter has been the Executive Director at the FIN Atlantic International Film Festival for the last decade.
Being in the film industry over the years
Carter’s career started with managing a film theatre in the late 1970s, when he was in high school.
“I’ve virtually been around film all my life,” says Carter.
When he moved from New Brunswick to Toronto in the 1980s, he spent a considerable amount of time in the home video business, then worked his way to becoming the vice president of sales for Warner Home Video, the home video distribution division of Warner Bros. Entertainment. When he decided to come back to Atlantic Canada, he didn’t have a job. When he saw the position at the FIN was posted, he applied, interviewed and got it.
“It’s been a bit of a charmed life, I must say,” admits Carter when talking about how he and his career have evolved through the years. “Particularly in the last five years, it’s been a very interesting time because so much is happening. The whole theatrical world is changing in terms of how people experience content.”
The change in the industry has also led audiences to change. People are exposed to more content every day and are looking for even more things to watch.
Taking advantage of the conditions
“What we’ve seen at [FIN] is, our audience has grown, and it’s grown in a very unique and unusual way,” Carter says. This is largely due to video streaming.
“We’ve really noticed that audience habits or audience taste have grown, as they have access to this content. The other side of that, and why film festivals are more important now then they’ve ever been, is our role as a curator.”
The programming team at the FIN watches over a thousand films and narrows down to over a hundred.
Carter urges the festival goers, or anyone, to keep the festival program with them and pick a film from it when “you’re sitting in the middle of a snowstorm and looking for something to watch.”
FIN’s mission is, “to champion our regional content, first and foremost. Atlantic Canada has an incredible industry, there’s so much screen content made in all four Atlantic provinces,” he says. “So, making sure that content has a platform and it’s what we are identified with the most is always a first thought.”
This year, FIN made that mission clear with their choice of opening film.
“We wanted a film that checked off several different boxes. In the last couple of years, we’ve been very fortunate in that we’ve had local filmmakers who are on their first or second feature, or decidedly at the end of their career delivering films that are intrinsically about the Atlantic Canadian experience in one form or another,” says Carter.
This year’s gala film Wildhood –– written and directed by Bretten Hannam, a two-spirit Mi’kmaq filmmaker –– continued this tradition, and according to Carter, “it’s not just astoundingly good, it’s poetic, it’s beautifully shot and it’s well written, but it is also coming from a voice that has not had its time yet.”