Locals win at Atlantic Film Festival

Tara Bradbury
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Ruth Lawrence — File Photo

Everyone who worked on Joel Thomas Hynes’ new film, “Clipper Gold” knew from the beginning they were working on something “quite special and crazy,” filmmaker and actress Ruth Lawrence said Sunday.

Lawrence, currently in New Bonaventure finishing up a Canadian tour with her show “MonaRita,” won the Joan Orenstein Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actress for her role in the film at the Atlantic Film Festival in Halifax Saturday evening.

Also starring Lawrence’s sweetheart Des Walsh and produced by Paddy Daly’s and Krissy Holmes’ Good Lookin’ Productions — with whom, along with Hynes, Lawrence insists she shares the award — the film is said to examine the state of a couple’s relationship unfurling against the backdrop of a feed of moose sausages and tea.

This was the premiere of the film, which will also screen at the St. John’s Women’s International Film Festival next month.

“I still haven’t seen the final film, so I’m itching now to get my first glimpse, as you can imagine,” Lawrence said.

The acting award came with perfect timing, marking 20 years of Lawrence’s acting career. She considers herself lucky, she said.

“A number of people discouraged me from coming back home after being away in theatre school, but I always knew that this was where I wanted to work,; these were the people I wanted to work with, and the stories we’ve been telling together are the ones that have touched my heart, driven me onwards,” Lawrence told The Telegram. “I’ve had so many amazing opportunities to work with and learn from hundreds of incredible artists. This award is a symbol that I made the right decisions over the years. It’s an honour I share happily.”

Local author-turned-filmmaker Kenneth J. Harvey also walked away a winner at the film festival this past weekend.

Harvey’s short film, “I’m 14 and I Hate the World,” starring his daughter, Emma Harvey, won the Best Atlantic Short award, sponsored by Kodak. Harvey — author of novels such as “Blackstrap Hawco,” “Inside” and “Reinventing the Rose,” who’s got a number of other short films already in the works — received $3,000 in film stock.

Liz Solo, St. John’s musician and artist, was also named a winner at the festival, having been presented with the Newfoundland Joy award for her media arts production “The Machine” last Thursday. Set in a post-apocalyptic future version of St. John’s, “The Machine” is a fairytale which uses 16-mm film, digital media and animation.

Halifax filmmaker Michael Melski’s “Charlie Zone” was the biggest winner at the film festival, presented with awards for Best Atlantic Feature and Outstanding Direction. Actor Glen Gould won the David Renton Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor for his role in the film, and Christopher Ball won the Ed Higginson Cinematography Award for his work on it.

Other film festival winners include Tarek Abouamin’s “18 Days” (Rex Tasker Documentary Award), Thom Fitzgerald’s “Cloudburst” (Audience Award and Michael Weir Award for Best Original Screenplay), Iain McLeod’s “Soccer Punch” (Script Development Award), “Afghan Luke” (Award for Sound Editing), “Snow” (Award for Outstanding Music), “Wild Life” (Best Canadian Short), Cafe de Flore (Best Canadian Feature), Mo Kenney and Greg Jackson for “Eden” (10 x 10 RBC Emerging Artist), Robert Santaguida for “Gerrish Lane” (Joy Award), Tim Tracey for “Kreb’s Tale” (Helen Hill Animated Joy Award), Amanda Dawn for “Spectres of Shortwave” (Joy Post Award), Richard MacQueen and Michael Ray Fox (First Feature Project), and David MacLeod of Big Motion Pictures (CBC Pioneer Award).

The annual Atlantic Film Festival, started at the LSPU Hall in St. John’s in 1981, showcases Atlantic Canadian film, television and music culture.



Organizations: The Telegram, Kodak, RBC CBC

Geographic location: New Bonaventure, Halifax

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