Nova Scotia

Tiny Cape Breton village to hit the big screen in Los Angeles

It started out as a school project, but now a short film about Neils Harbour is headed to a film festival in Los Angeles.

Documentary about Neils Harbour to be shown at LA International Underground Film Forum

The small Cape Breton fishing village of Neils Harbour is the subject of a short documentary by 24-year-old Emily Fricker. (Emily Fricker/YouTube)

It started out as a school project.

But now a short film about a small Cape Breton fishing village is headed to Los Angeles.

Emily Fricker's documentary Neils Harbour: A Day Down Home will air at the LA International Underground Film Forum in November.

Filmmaker Emily Fricker showed the doc at FIN last month. (Shoshanna Fraser)

Fricker, 24, made the documentary as part of her coursework in screen arts at the Nova Scotia Community College last year.

She graduated from the program this spring.

"I kind of just wanted to show off my hometown, and just how small it is, but how great it can be," said Fricker.  

The village, located on Cape Breton Island's northern tip, has a year-round population of a few hundred people.

Fricker says she shot the film over several days in the winter. It shows people in the village preparing for fishing season and going about their daily activities, such as preparing meals and playing cards.

"We get a lot of tourists there in the summer, and everyone gets to see what it looks like. It is beautiful, but I also wanted to show what it looks like in the winter."

Limited budget

The film aired at FIN, the Atlantic International Film Festival, last month.

The LA Underground Film Forum website says it focuses "on avant-garde, art-house, independent and no/low budget filmmaking"

Fricker made her film on a limited budget using school equipment. 

"I just paid for my gas to drive there, and I stayed at my parents' house. So my budget? There really wasn't much of one."

She plans to continue making films and hopes the exposure from the festival helps get her name out there. But she won't attend the festival.

"I'd love to," said Fricker, "but it's a lot of money. Maybe another time."

Watch Neils Harbour: A Day Down Home below:

About the Author

Wendy Martin


Wendy Martin has been a reporter for nearly 30 years. Her first job in radio was at the age of three, on a show called Wendy's House on CFCB Radio in Corner Brook, N.L. Get in touch at