Made-in-Fredericton short featured as part of Atlantic International Film Festival’s Reel East Coast Shorts Gala.
I think it’s fair to say Fredericton’s film community punches above its weight. There are a number of exceptional filmmakers bringing their stories to life right here in our own backyard. Supported by a dedicated crew of writers, sound techs, camera operators and a long list of artists skilled in the numerous roles required to properly capture and create films (what even is a “grip” anyway?) Fredericton’s film community is a mighty one, thanks in no small part to the resources and support offered by the New Brunswick Filmmakers Co-operative.
While this shouldn’t come as a surprise, it most likely does to some. Whether we’re talking music, or visual arts, or clothing and theatre design, or in this case film, there is a community behind each of these subcultures. And as subcultures, all of these groups exist, create and work within their own little communities sharing knowledge, skills and support. And as is often the case, their commitment to their craft and the goals they accomplish often go unnoticed by the larger population until something “big” happens, effectively bursting the bubble they’re created, lifting the Cone of Silence.
For local filmmakers, the ol’ Cone of Silence went up in a big way this month. Jillian Acreman’s feature film debut Queen of the Andes has been showing online as part of the Atlantic International Film Festival’s 2020 lineup, and Maya Eterna, the latest short from Arianna Martinez and Strike Pictures will make its debut tonight as part of the festival’s Reel East Coast Shorts Gala. In fact, this year’s celebration of East Coast short films includes two Fredericton-made films. Joining Martinez at this year’s event is Gia Milani whose film At The Back is also debuting this week.
Milani’s filmmaking accomplishments are among the most celebrated in the province. Her first feature film, All The Wrong Reasons, made its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2013, making her the first woman from New Brunswick to have a feature screen at TIFF. Her work has been featured on CBC Television, HBO Canada and others. She’s kind of a big deal.
Her latest short, At The Back, was filmed in Fredericton and features a cast of familiar city artists including Annick Blizzard, another local filmmaker and actor who made several appearances in the recent Demonic Brilliance Film Festival. The film is centred around a family funeral, told from the perspective of an outsider in-law whose presence is strictly functional as opposed to emotional. In this 8 minute short, Milani’s keen eye for observation and detail is on full display, capturing all the uncomfortable, awkward, and distracting thoughts that have a tendency to manifest in times of grief. It’s a dark comedy, simple in concept yet rich in content. The film combines all the things we often identify with funerals – the body language, the sounds, the smells and the uncomfortable interactions between distant relatives – and uses these elements to skillfully craft an entertaining story.
Audiences across Atlantic Canada can access screenings of At The Back and Maya Eterna beginning tonight and running until the weekend. Originally planned as a 24 hour event, FIN AIFF’s Reel East Coast Shorts Gala has been extended with access now available until 11:59PM on Sunday, September 27. Grab a ticket and cheer on the home team.
And if you want to engage with local films on a deeper level, be sure to check out this year’s Silver Wave Film Festival, happening online November 5-8 .