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Local films highlighted at Atlantic Film Fest this week


The past year has been huge for the local film industry, and many Newfoundland filmmakers will get to screen the fruit of their labour publicly when the Atlantic Film Festival opens tonight in Halifax.

About 20 films by Newfoundlanders or shot in the province have been selected to screen at the festival, which runs until Sept 22.

RELATED STORIES:

‘Away From Everywhere’ headed to Cannes

‘Riverhead’ deals with rural divide and what happens when the past comes back to haunt you

20 Questions with Andrew Gosse

Among them are some high-profile and highly anticipated features, short comedies and documentaries detailing some of Newfoundland and Labrador’s most poignant stories. Here are just a few:

• “Away From Everywhere” — The screen adaptation of the Chad Pelley novel of the same name, starring Jason Priestley, Shawn Doyle and Joanne Kelly, directed by Justin Simms, and produced by Barbara Doran and Brad Gover. The film, which premiered at the Cannes Festival this spring as part of Telefilm Canada’s Perspectives Canada program, tells the story of two brothers brought together by mental illness and tragedy.

• “Hunting Pignut” — The debut feature film by filmmaker Martine Blue, “Hunting Pignut” is the story of 15-year-old Bernice, who hates her life in a tiny, isolated outport. When her dad dies of a heroin overdose and a gutter punk named Pignut comes to his wake and steals his ashes, Bernice sets out to get them back. The film stars Taylor Hickson as Bernice and Joel Thomas Hynes as Pignut. Also starring are Amelia Manuel, Jamie Merrigan and Bridget Wareham.

• “Invisible Man” — A 12-minute documentary featuring Mount Pearl real estate agent Andrew Gosse, who was diagnosed with severe psoriasis as a teenager and spent 18 years debilitated by the condition. Gosse says the disease “crushed my soul and desire to go on living,” until he found a new biologic medication that has kept his skin clear. “Invisible Man” was created as part of Real Life Stories, a collection of documentaries that gives a glimpse into the lives of Canadians living with psoriasis.

• “Maudie” — Shot in Newfoundland, “Maudie” stars Ethan Hawke and Sally Hawkins. Hawkins plays Maud Lewis, who overcame juvenile rheumatoid arthritis to become a renowned Atlantic-Canadian folk artist. The film debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival this week, to a great audience reaction.

• “Touch” — A short film by local filmmaker Noel Harris, starring Krystin Pellerin (of “Republic of Doyle” fame) as a single mother who, in a bind, asks her brother to babysit her two kids. The film won the Jury Choice Award at the 2016 Diversity in Cannes Short Film Showcase, as well as a dozen award nominations at festivals around the world.

• “Wife and Death” — A nine-minute comedy by local comedian and “This Hour Has 22 Minutes” writer Matt Wright. Greg Malone stars as Death, who leaves a man on borrowed time, so he rushes to patch things up with his girlfriend.

Other films to be screened include Wanda Nolan’s “Mystery of the Secret Room,” Mike Fardy’s “Moving On,” Justin Oakey’s “Riverhead,” Andrew Rowe’s “Vehicular Romanticide” and “Newfoundland at Armageddon” by Barbara Doran and Brian McKenna.

tbradbury@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @tara_bradbury

About 20 films by Newfoundlanders or shot in the province have been selected to screen at the festival, which runs until Sept 22.

RELATED STORIES:

‘Away From Everywhere’ headed to Cannes

‘Riverhead’ deals with rural divide and what happens when the past comes back to haunt you

20 Questions with Andrew Gosse

Among them are some high-profile and highly anticipated features, short comedies and documentaries detailing some of Newfoundland and Labrador’s most poignant stories. Here are just a few:

• “Away From Everywhere” — The screen adaptation of the Chad Pelley novel of the same name, starring Jason Priestley, Shawn Doyle and Joanne Kelly, directed by Justin Simms, and produced by Barbara Doran and Brad Gover. The film, which premiered at the Cannes Festival this spring as part of Telefilm Canada’s Perspectives Canada program, tells the story of two brothers brought together by mental illness and tragedy.

• “Hunting Pignut” — The debut feature film by filmmaker Martine Blue, “Hunting Pignut” is the story of 15-year-old Bernice, who hates her life in a tiny, isolated outport. When her dad dies of a heroin overdose and a gutter punk named Pignut comes to his wake and steals his ashes, Bernice sets out to get them back. The film stars Taylor Hickson as Bernice and Joel Thomas Hynes as Pignut. Also starring are Amelia Manuel, Jamie Merrigan and Bridget Wareham.

• “Invisible Man” — A 12-minute documentary featuring Mount Pearl real estate agent Andrew Gosse, who was diagnosed with severe psoriasis as a teenager and spent 18 years debilitated by the condition. Gosse says the disease “crushed my soul and desire to go on living,” until he found a new biologic medication that has kept his skin clear. “Invisible Man” was created as part of Real Life Stories, a collection of documentaries that gives a glimpse into the lives of Canadians living with psoriasis.

• “Maudie” — Shot in Newfoundland, “Maudie” stars Ethan Hawke and Sally Hawkins. Hawkins plays Maud Lewis, who overcame juvenile rheumatoid arthritis to become a renowned Atlantic-Canadian folk artist. The film debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival this week, to a great audience reaction.

• “Touch” — A short film by local filmmaker Noel Harris, starring Krystin Pellerin (of “Republic of Doyle” fame) as a single mother who, in a bind, asks her brother to babysit her two kids. The film won the Jury Choice Award at the 2016 Diversity in Cannes Short Film Showcase, as well as a dozen award nominations at festivals around the world.

• “Wife and Death” — A nine-minute comedy by local comedian and “This Hour Has 22 Minutes” writer Matt Wright. Greg Malone stars as Death, who leaves a man on borrowed time, so he rushes to patch things up with his girlfriend.

Other films to be screened include Wanda Nolan’s “Mystery of the Secret Room,” Mike Fardy’s “Moving On,” Justin Oakey’s “Riverhead,” Andrew Rowe’s “Vehicular Romanticide” and “Newfoundland at Armageddon” by Barbara Doran and Brian McKenna.

tbradbury@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @tara_bradbury

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