Daily Gleaner SWFF Article_14

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Daily Gleaner SWFF Article_14
Recent winners of the Silver Wave Film Festival in Fredericton. Many filmmakers in the province are calling on the Gallant government to get involved and provide the support necessary to develop the film industry
here. They cite what's happening with the thriving film industry in Nova
Scotia, where the government provides support to help make it happen.
Photo: submitted.
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In the world of filmmaking there are many challenges and a lack of support
from the province is one of them, says Fredericton filmmaker Rob Gray.
Gray was nominated for multiple awards and won for best script, original
music and New Brunswick short drama for his film zack and luc at last
weekend’s Silver Wave Film Festival.
He said there are many other talented filmmakers in the province making
award-winning short films and some are on the verge of making feature
films. But, he added, there’s a realization that resources are missing to
make this happen.
“It requires a kind of systematic support. It requires tax incentives. It requires somebody who’s appointed by government to build the industry, to
support the industry.”
Gray noted the successes happening in Nova Scotia’s film industry, where
the provincial government sees the importance of supporting its film industry so that feature films can be made there.
“Currently, it makes more sense for New Brunswick filmmakers to shoot
feature films in Nova Scotia. To change this, it requires vision from the
government that there could be an industry here.”
Gray credits the NB Film Co-op for being an essential element of the work
that’s happening here.
“I’ve never seen an entity so supportive. They give everything. That is essential to what we do here.”
NB Film Co-op does everything from helping filmmakers to access materials, to lending equipment and holding workshops. It makes making films
possible here, he said.
“We wouldn’t be anywhere without that foundation,” Gray said.
The University of New Brunswick is also supporting filmmaking in the area.
Gray, as a UNB professor, created the 48-hour film competition, which has
encouraged people to work together to make more films over the past sixand-a-half years.
Denis Theriault, the winner of the Canadian short film at this year’s Silver
Wave festival, said it’s this kind of government co-operation that’s necessary if the province’s film industry is going to grow.
Theriault, who is from Fredericton but now living and working in Halifax,
said there are a lot of big projects now happening there, and he hopes the
same will happen in New Brunswick. He said if the Gallant government
were willing to partner with those trying to make great films in the province
anything is possible.
“New Brunswick could thrive. We need the government to believe in that
base of workers that exists there. There’s talent in New Brunswick. Gia Milani is proving that, but she had to go out of the province in order to get
her film (All The Wrong Reasons) made.”
There’s a level of co-operation among New Brunswick filmmakers that
those in other parts of the country would envy.
People are willing to get involved, giving their time and talents voluntarily
because there is such a desire to see others achieve success.
Shawn Henry, who’s in post-production for short film Il Sole, said he relied
heavily on the goodwill of volunteers to help create his debut film. He credits film director Gia Milani for mentoring him along the way.
He said thanks to the mentorship of Milani and film producer Tony Whalen,
others are taking a leap of faith to go after their dreams of creating feature
films. He agrees that the provincial government needs to get more involved to develop what’s happening here only because people are passionate about what they’re doing.
Foyna Irvine, who stars as the lead female in Henry’s film, has won this
year’s New Brunswick Joy Award for Adrift Without an Anchor.
“We want the best for each other. It’s great to be back in N.B., where we all
just want to help one another achieve success,” Henry said.
Irvine is in pre-production and casting for the short film. Irvine said this
kind of collaboration is essential in the currently small filmmaking industry
that exists in the province.
She said the reason so many in the business are achieving success is only
because everyone is encouraging one another to do their best work.
“I feel like we’ve created a little family with each other. I don’t understand
how people could compete, fight against each other when you can accomplish so much more in a team environment. Film productions are very
much a team effort,” she said.