Give Jason Beaudry a forum to talk about cinema, and he’ll go on as long as you’ll let him.
The self-described film geek, and program director for FIN Atlantic International Film Festival (Sept. 13–20), says this year’s lineup is better than ever.
“This year is just that much more diverse, better and primed to get a great response from moviegoers,” he says. “We have a vested interest in screening important films that are special to all sorts of different communities in our region. We can screen films in different languages and around particular interests.”
For FIN, he says, organizers are focused on bringing people together, and creating memorable experiences.”We have some amazing things, like the live showing Africville in Black and White, to be shown at St. Matthew’s Church on Sept. 18,” he says. “The people there will be participants, and things will happen around them. We are honoured to be presenting this production in such a way.”
With a growing immigrant community in the area, Beaudry and the programming team have put special care into international features.
“We have some incredible foreign films,” he says, noting French film Le Grand Bain, the Arabic Cannes highlight Capernaum, and Cold War, presented in Polish, French, German, Croatian, Italian and Russian. “It’s amazing having people from different communities and cultures get excited about going to the festival and seeing things in their native language. These are world-class movies.”
He also mentions films that could have significant emotional impacts, including Love, Scott, a documentary on a gay New Glasgow man whose life changed after a traumatizing attack.
Sharkwater: Extinction also marks Rob Stewart’s final picture, as he died during production. “That film will be a special moment in time, and Stewart was an incredible individual,” Beaudry says. “He gave great exposure for planetary issues, and this celebrates his work and pays homage to him too. This is one of many films at the festival that brings light to different issues and aspects of life and the environment. These concerns are relevant to us living on this earth.”
He promises Atlantic films from Newfoundlanders Deanne Foley and G. Patrick Condon will also be eye-opening. “Foley’s An Audience of Chairs will be a film people will respond to, and it’s a significant film,” he says. “Hers is a name you’ll be hearing for many years. On the flipside, Condon’s film Incredible Violence truly is for genre and cinema lovers in general. He is someone to watch, and this is an impressive debut. It’s not your everyday, average horror film, and there are metatextual elements to it. It truly is a visceral piece.”
Beaudry encourages audiences to go beyond the films that seem comfortable and take a few risks. He points to the Extreme program, featuring bloody, difficult films like Mandy starring Nicolas Cage, Lars Von Trier’s The House That Jack Built, and the wild Climax. “We don’t expect everything to be for everyone,” he says. “Extreme is for a particular audience, and people need to make the conscious choice to see these kinds of movies. You shouldn’t bring your mom to these, but based on ticket sales … it’s clear some people want these things.”
With bigger Hollywood flicks Life Itself and Assassination Nation set for release (limited or otherwise) just one day after the festival ends, Beaudry says those extra few days to see them early may just add to the experience.
“These may open limited and not on the date advertised here, and we offer exposure, publicity and awareness of these films. We are trying to put how special these films are in context,” he says. “There are incredible films that deserve a platform, and sometimes the film festival is the perfect place to see something.”
He’s expecting big things from late-selection The Wife, set to be the closing night gala.
“It’s got a great possibility for an Oscar nomination and a win for star Glenn Close,” he says. “She’s so big here, and there’s so much buzz around her. Time and time again, an incredible respected and lauded actor or actress has missed the brass ring many times. This may be a great opportunity to honour her, and audiences for FIN will appreciate this immensely.”
Whatever you decide to take in, Beaudry says you’ll be right in the thick of the issues of the day.
“These films cover a lot of important issues, and things get discussed and celebrated here at the festival,” he says. “Films bring hope, inspiration, and are a call-to-action. These films will all over great perspectives.”