Nova Scotia

Atlantic Film Festival hands out 2016 festival awards

Afro-Viking Pictures celebrates Atlantic Film Festival award with its very first production.

Director Koumbie took a break from Mr. D to tell story of high school romance between quarterback and rookie

Koumbie also acts on the show Studio Black. (Submitted by

It seems fitting that Koumbie spent most of Monday in airplane mode on a film set helping a friend with a new production. When the Halifax actor and director finally took a break and checked her phone, it was exploding with good news.

"I'm great today!" she told CBC News. "I'm thrilled."

The good news came from the Atlantic Film Festival, where she'd just won the Best Atlantic Short for Hustle & Heart. It's the first production from Afro-Viking Pictures, her company with Taylor Olson. Olson wrote and stars in Hustle & Heart.

New football player falls for quarterback

"For this to win this is unbelievable and amazing and incredibly exciting," Koumbie said.

The film tells the story of a high school football player named Hunter who joins the team and develops strong feelings for Nick, the starting quarterback.

"Obviously the story isn't typical, because things get a little more complicated when you don't necessarily know the other person's sexuality," she added.

Koumbie won't tell us more than that. "It's a short film," she laughed. 

Koumbie spent the summer on the other side of the camera as she returned to the Halifax set of Mr. D as Sheila, the front-row student regularly embarrassed by teacher Gerry Duncan.

"I think this will be my last year. She's been in school a long time," Koumbie said. "I think it's time for Sheila to graduate."

The changes to the local film industry have hit many of her colleagues, but she's been able to keep her career on track. "I've been really, really, really lucky. I know a lot of people weren't as lucky. As long as there's work for me, I will try my best to stay."

And the winners are...

Here's the list of winners:

The 2016 People's Choice Award:

Winner: Moonlight

The Gordon Parsons Award for Best Atlantic Feature:

Winner: Maudie – Aisling Walsh

Best Atlantic Short:

Winner: Hustle & Heart - Koumbie

Best Atlantic Documentary:

Winner: Perfume War – Michael Melski

Best Atlantic Short Documentary:

Winner: My Life So Far – Alan Collins

Best Atlantic Animation

Winner: Rubbed The Wrong Way – Struan Sutherland

Best Atlantic Director:

Winner: Ashley McKenzie - Werewolf

The Michael Weir Award for Best Atlantic Screenwriting:

Winner: Sherry White - Maudie

Best Atlantic Cinematographer:

Winner: Craig Norris - Kokota: The Islet of Hope

Best Atlantic Editor:

Winner: Brad Sayeau - We're From Here

Best Atlantic Original Score or Song:

Winner: Hillsburn for Hillsburn - A Band Becomes

Joan Orenstein Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actress:

Winner: Bhreagh MacNeil - Werewolf

David Renton Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor:

Winner: Andrew Gillis – Werewolf

Telefilm Canada Script Pitch:

Winner: Mary Lewis – February