'Together Again' at the FIN Atlantic International Film Festival

FIN Atlantic International Film Festival (AIFF) is ready to roll with 178 films, in 29 different languages from close to 30 countries and the return of a full slate of special events.

178 films presented over eight days from Sept. 15-22, in person and online

Blobs of pink, blue and yellow paint poured on a canvas - FIN Atlantic International Film Festival printed in type (festival poster)
FIN Atlantic International Film Festival (AIFF) is ready to roll with 178 films, in 29 different languages from close to 30 countries, and the return of a full slate of special events.

Women with long blond hair wearing a pink shirt
Martha Cooley - FIN Atlantic International Film Festival executive director. (FIN - AIFF)
Screenings will be presented over eight days at Cineplex Cinemas Park Lane in Halifax with 77 films being presented virtually throughout Atlantic Canada online via FIN Stream, Sept. 15-22.

We asked Martha Cooley, the festival's new executive director, a few questions about the event's 42nd edition:

This being your first year as executive director, what challenges are you facing and what are you looking forward to most? 

"The challenge and what I'm looking forward to are the same! This is our first year being fully back in person with full capacity screenings, parties, receptions and panels. That's both very exciting and a bit daunting as we all try to remember how it's done and how to socialize again in big groups."

A couple face to face. Man with black hair in suit and tie holding up a mobile photo in front of woman with long hair and wearing a blue sweater.
Park Hae-il and Tang Wei star in Park Chan-wook’s Decision to Leave. (Courtesy FIN-AIFF)
Is there one film that has that WOW factor or is creating a buzz already, even before the festival opens?

"Decision to Leave screening on Saturday, Sept. 17, by Park Chan-wook (Oldboy, The Handmaiden) is generating some buzz for sure. Park Chan-wook won Best Director for the film at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival, and the film has been selected as the official entry for South Korea for the Best International Feature Film at the 95th Academy Awards."

Eight women dressed in dark period dresses sit in a dimly lit room.
Sarah Polley directs her fourth feature, Women Talking, which has an acclaimed cast including Rooney Mara, Jessie Buckley, Claire Foy, Ben Whishaw, and Frances McDormand. (Orion Releasing / Courtesy FIN-AIFF)
What films are going to stick with audiences long after the festival is over? That one film people think about for a longtime.

"Women Talking, our Closing Night Gala film, (Sept. 22), directed by Sarah Polley and based on the book of the same name by Miriam Towes, will give people a lot to think about after the film's close (appropriate for a closing night film)!"

And what is the ONE stand-out thing (could be event, panel, gala, filmmaker) about this year's festival?

"Filmmaker Stephanie Joline is hosting a series of free panels during the festival with local and visiting filmmakers. The series has as its focus elevating the voices of underrepresented artists and it's certain to be an informative and inspiring series."

Among the highlights


Two Black men sit on top of a picnic table
An image from the film adaptation of the novel Brother by David Chariandy. (Guy Godfree/Elevation Pictures/Courtesy FIN-AIFF)
Kicking off this year's festival is Clement Virgo's new film, Brother. Adapted from the award-winning novel by David Chariandy, Virgo crafts a timely and essential story about the profound bond between siblings, the resilience of a community, and the irrepressible power of music. Virgo has had a long relationship with the festival and Atlantic Canada, with some of his most celebrated work, such as Poor Boy's Game and The Book of Negroes, having been shot in Nova Scotia. Screenings of the film will take place on Thursday, Sept. 15, starting at 7 p.m.

Following the Opening Night Gala film presentation is the Opening Night Celebration. With a reputation as one of Halifax's most anticipated parties of the year, this red-carpet event will take place at The Waegwoltic Club on Thursday, Sept. 15 at 9 p.m.


Bald man wearing glasses looking at a miniature model
Bernie Langille Wants To Know What Happened To Bernie Langille, a documentary feature by Jackie Torrens, is the Atlantic Gala Presentation on Sept. 16. (Courtesy FIN-AIFF)
Jackie Torrens' documentary feature, Bernie Langille Wants To Know What Happened To Bernie Langille, is the Atlantic Gala presentation on Friday, Sept. 16 at 7 p.m.  The film follows a grandson trying to uncover what happened to his grandfather and namesake, a military corporal who died in 1968 under mysterious circumstances. Through the use of miniature sets, we travel back in time as Bernie pieces together fragments of the bizarre tale that has kept his family emotionally frozen. Online access through FIN Stream will also be available for 24 hours starting at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept.16. There will be a reception following the screening at Cable Wharf on the Halifax Waterfront. 

A young man and woman sit across from one another at a table.
Cape Breton-born Ashley McKenzie’s Queens of the Qing Dynasty gets its Atlantic premiere at the FIN Atlantic International Film Festival on Sept. 21. (Courtesy FIN - AIFF)
Second, the Atlantic Canada premiere of Cape Breton-born Ashley McKenzie's Queens of the Qing Dynasty. Set in a remote small town, Star, a neurodiverse teen, develops an unlikely rapport with international student, An, while volunteering at the local hospital. A bond forms between the two and is cemented by their candid conversations, nightly text messages, and an exchange of deep secrets. The boundaries of friendship quickly expand into something special, altering both Star and An's inner alchemy. The film will screen on Wednesday, Sept. 21, starting at 7 p.m.

The Reel East Coast Shorts Gala, presented by CBC, will feature nine short films by an impressive cast of Atlantic Canadian filmmakers. Filmmakers include Jenna Marks with Homard Au Coeur; Desmond Simon with The Borer and The Basket; Chloe Van Landschoot and Niamh Wilson with Tidal; Millefiore Clarkes with Grandmothers; Elizabeth Hicks with Bounce; Mel Hattie with The Mi'kmaq Honour Song Translation Project.; Prajwala Dixit with Love, Amma; Tori Martin Fleming with Keeper; and Scott Jones with Coin Slot. This Gala Presentation takes place on Sunday, Sept. 18, starting at 7 p.m. Online access through FIN Stream will also be available for 24 hours starting at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Sept.18.