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Film Fest Fantasia

28 Sep

The DisapperedThe film fest has come and gone;  like a gust of wind that you’re not sure you’ll survive, and then all of a sudden it is gone, and you realize that you miss its cold breeze already.

The 32nd Atlantic Film Fest was  a smashing success. I felt lucky to be involved this year, as a film that Rose and I had been Unit Publicists on opened the Atlantic Film Fest on Friday night for the Atlantic Choice, followed by the Atlantic Gala at Taboo.

The first showing of The Disappeared sold out so quickly that they added a second showing on Saturday afternoon. Which, by all accounts, is amazing! The Disappeared is an amazing character study of six men lost at sea in Nova Scotia. It was really well received by both crowds and seemed to really leave people thinking. We were thrilled to see media coverage in newspapers, online, on TV and on the radio.

One of the producers and I talked about how the film has been described as a “thinking person’s movie.” We disagreed with this point, in a way. It is not really a thinking persons movie. Anyone can watch the film and understand what is happening. But it is a “pondering person’s movie.” This film  STAYS WITH YOU. You will think about it days later, and reflect on your own fragile being. You will think about relationships, what really matters and back to how six men clung to hope when no hope was left.

Since premiering at the Atlantic Film Fest, the film has gone on to fests in Sudbury and Calgary, to great success, and will be at the Edmonton and Vancouver film fests soon. If you did not get a chance to see this wonderful film yet, I sure hope you do in the future, or you’ll be waiting for its 2013 theatrical release.

The rest of the film fest was great. The city comes alive every year with AFF, with more people buzzing around, lots of happenings and lots of meeting of like-minded people. I felt very fortunate to attend the Village Sound Gala complete with a full dapper dressed swing band and sushi for everyone.

I also attended the CBC Atlantic Choice Shorts and experienced every emotion possible in one night. I was laughing my head off at Mike Clattenburg’s newest  project , the short Cracking Down Hard. Then, I almost cried when I watched Andrew MacCormack’s Here and Away. MacCormack’s short was an amazingly poetic look at the differences between life in the city and the country. It was a great mix of films, with so many different themes and emotions.

One thing I came away from AFF thinking, is gosh, darn, damn, this region of the world has a lot of talent. We have a lot of people creating, working hard and making amazing things happen. It was a huge thrill to be a part of the festival, to feel so proud of something you had a small part in. And it’s another chance to walk away, feeling inspired. Feeling like you certainly can do anything, it is just a matter of making it happen.

L

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Hot, Hot, Halifax

31 Jul

It’s been a busy month. A glorious month! Perfect summer weather brings backyard patios, lake and ocean adventures, bbqs with friends, and a bustling city to enjoy – hence our serious neglect. Fleeting summer, where nights are never long enough, and tomorrow’s early morning doesn’t matter. You have to get out and enjoy it while you can, strike the hammer while the iron is hot. Oh! and Halifax, there are just so many irons to hammer. No matter what you are into, there is something for everyone – arts, music, history or just plain old beautiful Nova Scotia nature.

Let’s take a look back on the past few blurry sunshine filled weeks of fun…Jazz Festival (special shout outs to Garrett Mason, Gypsophilia, Maestro Fresh Wes & Deltron 3030) and Tall Ships (Hey Rosetta!). Concerts and shows seemingly every night, not to mention Evolve. Queer Acts Theatre Festival and Pride! (Just have to take a moment to shout out to Sissydude: a dandy rock musical, which debuted at Queer Acts earlier this month. Local, campy, delightful and clever, sharply written, with ALL original rock music…we had a blast.)  It’s been a time where Halifax smacks you in the face and reminds you why she is so amazing to live in. Upcoming we have Natal Day (and a sweet free concert too – super pumped for Rich Aucoin & Wintersleep!), Buskers, Summer Sonic…and in our backyard there is Bruce Springsteen, Sappy Fest, Dutch Mason Blues Festival, Fred Rock, and much more. How do you choose where to spend your money when so much is happening?

If you don’t want to spend any money, but still want to support local music, there are some sweet options for you – relax on a soft piece of grass with the sun in your face, hearing amazing local artists! This is the 5th year for Tunes at Noon, free one-hour concerts at Grand Parade Square. The lineup is stellar and it really has a friendly, great community feel, adding a touch of whimsy to your work day. The full summer schedule can be seen here: http://www.musicnovascotia.ca/Events/TunesAtNoon2012/ and concerts run Thursday and Friday from 12- 1, until September 6th. Another free music event can be found in the Hydrostone on August 25, Music in the Park. It’s a free afternoon of sweet local artists, brought to us by the ECMAs!  http://www.assantehydrostone.com/music-in-the-park/

As for some client news, SheMachine played an amazing gig with Burnt Sugar and AQuestrya on July 20 at the Company House. The pre-pride party was an amazing night of dancing and celebrations! SheMachine’s new songs are SO good. We couldn’t help but start the dance party! We’re super excited for the debut of their EP and short film/music video in the Fall.

The Xara Youth Ensemble is busy auditioning 14-18 years olds for their pre-professional choral theatre group, launching in September. Eighteen young ladies are ready to go, and the group is looking for a few more girls wishing to develop their skills and artistry. Should you know any talented young ladies looking for an amazing opportunity with two unreal artists at the helm…XYE is it! http://murraymusic.ca/studio/xye/

A show that is coming up, that you really should try your darndest to catch is Willie Stratton and Sean Burns on August 15th at Gus’ Pub. Willie Stratton is a powerful local performer, who puts on a howling good show! In our opinion, he is one of the best up and comers Halifax has seen in a long ass time. Lashing together three part harmonies, thundering war drums, and a whole lot of soul, Willie Stratton and his band are slightly less likely to make you feel OK than they are to kill your boredom absolutely stone cold dead. He will be sharing the slot with Sean Burns, based out of Ontario, who is a longtime friend of Rose. While constantly performing live and writing music in the tradition of the traveling singer/songwriter, Sean Burns is a real weapon on the stage, delivering a unique brand of humour with an extensive repertoire. Check out their respective tunes at http://www.seanburns.ca/ & http://williestratton.bandcamp.com/. We promise a grand night of storytelling and music. Check out more information about the event at https://www.facebook.com/#!/events/346965408715479/

We leave you, on this humid July night, with this, our favourite summer song.

Lost at Sea, Found Self

10 Jun

Photo by Mike Tompkins

It’s hard to imagine being lost at sea; powerless against the unwavering power of the ocean. Having been lucky to screen The Disappeared this past week, we have some more insight into what that could be like. The stark reality of nothing but the waves, the weather, with scant supplies, little food. Nothing to occupy your time but your thoughts. Mental survival almost seems scarier than the physical survival.

The Disappeared is a visually striking film – no doubt as it was shot entirely at sea. The ocean landscapes, the weather, the sky – beautiful and terrifying. The visuals take your breath away. (We know what a small budget the film had, and it`s so amazing to see that a little money doesn`t compromise a finished product – which speaks volume about the creative team and their ingenuity, led by writer/director Shandi Mitchell & DOP Christoher Porter.)

Shandi Mitchell has written a beautiful and honest story. It shouldn’t be something to marvel at, but Mitchell, a female writer/director has utterly captured these six men, and has written a tale about six fishermen lost at sea, something you wouldn’t expect from a Prairie girl and marvel we did. Shandi has much insight with male characters – something shown in her award-winning novel, Under This Unbroken Sky. She said so much with her carefully crafted words and limited but beautiful visuals. Limited in the sense that it is the ocean, two dories and six men. The Disappeared is not boring within these limits. Suspense, beauty, despair, discovery, hope, human connections, strength – all of this is felt in the movie. The film reminded us of Drive in the sense where there is so much said with carefully chosen words.

The six actors – Billy Campbell, Shawn Doyle, Brian Downey, Ryan Doucette, Gary Levert & Neil Matheson – deliver stunning performances. It is these six men, two dories and the ocean. What good fucking actors – they have brought this story alive. So much is conveyed with a hand placement or flash of the eye. You are with these men on this harrowing journey; willingly lost with them as they struggle with themseleves, each other, and rally against her. The ocean, the films’ sixth character, has a personality and seemingly has dialogue as she heaves and torments the men.

We may be biased, having worked on this film, but we’re also honest. It’s a lovely film,  and a film many people will be able to connect too. Over the centuries, many have been lost to the sea. Living on Canada’s East Coast this Maritime tale is a familiar one, and one familiar to many Coasts all over the world.

The lucky ones who return home have encountered something so few of us can comprehend, andThe Disappearedis a beautiful, thoughtful and harrowing discovery of it. We’re very fortunate to have had an early viewing – the rest of you will have to wait until fall.

And…as a quick aside and pat on the backs, it is  awesome seeing your names in movie credits! First time, big excitement.

Acclaimed Choral Theatre Duo Christina Murray and Claire Leger Launch Girls Youth Ensemble

31 May

  

Christina Murray and Claire Leger, the exciting artistic duo behind Camerata Xara Young Women’s Choir announce a new choral theatre project for female youth, ages 14-18. The Xara Youth Ensemble (XYE) is atraining and performance ensemble beginning its pilot project in September, 2012. Auditions will be held June 18-21 and August 27-31. Registration for auditions can be found online at http://murraymusic.ca/studio/xye/.

Art educators, performers, adjudicators, administrators, directors and creators, Murray and Leger are excited to continue their pioneering of choral theatre in Canada. The Xara Youth Ensemble will give teens the rare opportunity to be involved with this innovative art form. The youth involved will learn and collaborate with two multi-faceted talents, Leger and Murray, in an open and creative environment.

“Girls with an interest in the performing arts blossom through training in choral theatre,” said Murray. “It engages their whole selves – voice, intellect, body and spirit. I’ve watched countless young women transform from unsure singers into committed, powerful, all-round performers. On top of that, Xara seems to build confidence that spills over into the rest of their lives. It’s so rewarding for Claire and I to have a role in facilitating this.”

Choral theatre is stunning storytelling through choral singing, theatre, and movement. Beautiful spaces, lighting, and spoken word are also integral parts of telling these original stories. The result is a unique and beautiful feast for the senses and a rich, all-encompassing stage experience for performers.

The Xara Youth Ensemble will provide pre-professional preparation in music, movement and theatre. This training will be showcased in an original production Daughters of Fire, to be performed in November. Training will be multi-faceted: music, theory and writing music; yoga, dance and choreography; scene work and character development.

“I couldn’t have gotten this training anywhere else. I wish that when I was in high school I had the opportunity to be involved with Xara,” said Kallie White of Dartmouth. “Xara has given me confidence on and off the stage. Performers will learn so much, make amazing connections and have a blast!”

The group will rehearse on Tuesday evenings from 6:00 – 8:30pm. Tuition for the term (September to December) is $250. To arrange an audition between June 18-21 and August 27-31, visit http://murraymusic.ca/studio/xye-registration/.

Xara Youth Ensemble is training and performance ensemble in the art of choral theatre for female youth ages 14-18. Christina Murray and Claire Leger, the exciting artistic duo behind Xara Young Women’s Choir, have expanded their pioneering choral theatre practices with this new creation, commencing in September 2012.

SheMachine Performance Footage

4 May

SheMachine was fortunate enough to have the skills of many talented artists in Halifax for their debut show, including videographer Darcy Fraser (yep, brother of wicked photographer Aaron McKenzie Fraser). He shot some great footage of SheMachine’s performance  at the Company House.  It makes us impatient for more live fun with them – can’t wait!

 

SheMachine has one sassy show under their gold belts.

8 Apr

Friday night was SheMachine’s debut at the Company House, and fundraiser for their first video. The girls played a bit of a teaser – a three song set – but a three song set that sounded and looked great! We’d seen Steph play before with The SuperFantastics but had never seen Naomi-Joy. They both blew us away. Naomi-Joy sounds alive on that stage! She grabs your attention and keeps it! Her voice is strong, her pitch perfect, and damn! Both girls are fine.

Everyone had a good time, dancing to A.A. Wallace’s tight DJ skills, and enjoying a set from SheMachine that left us begging for more. Kim Diamondz added further delight as the hostess. What a sexy night! It was great to see the community come out and support & share in some good times.

The SheMachini Martini was delicious (LB: I should know – I had 3 or maybe 4?)  and the glitter cakes were yummy! Great additions to the night, and creative ways to help fundraise for the video for their first single, A New Addiction. The vibe and thought behind every aspect the night really shone through – from the mini SheMachine flags on all the cupcakes and in the drinks to the door prizes; a photo shoot with Marc Anthony Ramsay and a makeup session with Nicole Steeves. (No wonder Stephanie won Best Merch Award in the Coast’s Best of Music three years in a row!) These girls are working super hard in their real lives, and then manage to rehearse, record and produce their music, organize photo shoots, create amazing short videos, whilst still managing to create mini flags and plan an event!

SheMachine’s first video shoot, happening in May, is definitely cause for anticipation!

We can’t wait to hear the girls play again live soon, and are very excited to hear more music. A sweet evening of dancing and amazing, positive, sexy energy! We can use more of that.

The Disappeared

31 Mar

Billy Campbell and Ryan Doucette in The Disappeared.
Photo by Mike Tompkins


The Disappeared
is a feature film that was shot off the coast of Lunenburg, NS in September 2011. LoRoPR was fortunate to be on board as the unit publicist. Our first time working as a unit publicist on a film on our own – ie not working at an agency. What an amazing experience!A stunning script, interesting story, handsome actors, a great crew and the ocean! The film was actually shot ON the ocean, in two vintage dories and on a custom-built shooting raft/barge. As this was an independent feature, it was really interesting to see how a teeny budget was able to accomplish shooting at sea – something usually only big budget productions do!

Starring Billy Campbell ( The Killing, Once & Again, and yep, the Rocketeer!), Shawn Doyle (Big Love, Grown Up Movie Star, Endgame), Brian Downey (Lexx, Hobo With a Shotgun), Gary Levert (Heart of Rhyme, Moby Dick, Bag of Bones), Ryan Doucette (Cloudburst, Charlie Zone) and Neil Alan Matheson, The Disappeared tells the story of six fishermen lost in the North Atlantic. The Disappeared was written and directed by Shandi Mitchell, film maker and author of the award-winning Under This Unbroken Sky.

It is a true Maritime tale – not just for the Maritimes as in a region of Canada – but maritime communities around the world. Did you know that from the town of Lunenburg alone something like over 600 men have been lost at sea? (Not a proper statistic, just using my memory.) I am sure many of us living on the East Coast know a fisherman, and maybe don’t think how they risk their lives every day by making their living from the sea.

What we think is really special about the film is the fact that it is true storytelling, a human story; viewers go on a journey with these men, and are invested. So many films these days are about an event or a string of hijinks, while The Disappeared is six men in two dories, alone on the Atlantic, with just their thoughts and interactions. Having seen an almost final cut a few weeks back, we can attest to its powerful and thoughtful impact.

Find The Disappeared online at http://thedisappearedthefilm.com/. Follow them on Twitter and Like them on Facebook!