It’s hard to believe, but its September and the leaves are changing colour once again, making way for fall and eventually winter. The month of September is my favourite time of year for many reasons: my birthday (9/8), the beginning of my favourite season, and most of all, the promise of another fantastic week at the Atlantic Film Festival.
As a regular patron of the festival, I always buy a festival pass so that I have freedom to see as many films as I want to, and to change my mind about screenings as I go. (For anyone that has never experienced four or five film screenings in near back-to-back succession, you would be surprised how very exhausting it can be!)
I also have been known to temporarily swear-off the Opening Gala film, as it is the one screening that a festival pass is not good for. On top of that, the screening always costs a significant amount more than a regular screening, with or without the added price of attending the swanky after party.
That being said, I like to think I’m a fair fellow, and while this article may, thus far, seem like a gripe-fest, I admit that as an AFF regular I see the dozens and dozens of festival employees and volunteers who pour their hearts and souls into our ever-growing celebration of film. I see the screenings that are attended by only a few, lucky individuals and all of the beautiful design work that goes into each years visuals; the program guide, the projections and posters and advertisements. The frugal film fan in me has to take a back seat to the business-minded me that my career has developed and I realize how much it makes sense to have a higher ticket price on a sure-to-sell-out screening (this year, in three theatres simultaneously) in order to continue offering all of the less popular, less glitzy moments that make the festival such a diamond to behold. It’s truly a pleasure to support a cause that has brought me such happiness and inspiration every year since I moved to my fair Halifax some thirteen years ago, and (as long as the film interests me) I always suck it up, attend the opening night film, and have yet to ever be disappointed.