Festival to highlight ‘progressive, subversive’ films

Outlier Film Festival will be region's first “genre film festival"

Atlantic Canada’s first genre film festival will hit the screens at the Bus Stop Theatre on Thursday.

The Outlier Film Festival will begin at 8 p.m., with a screening of The Act of Killing, a two-hour documentary about Indonesian death squad leaders.

But, wait. What’s a “genre film festival”?

“It’s generally referring to horror, science fiction, fantasy,” says Matt Charlton, festival organizer and programmer. He dissects this genre further, describing it as “really interesting filmmaking,” and as “progressive, subversive thought.”

Charlton compares this festival to the Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal and to Fantastic Fest in the United States.

Eleven other feature pictures will be shown throughout the Outlier Film Festival, with a final horror film, Halley, scheduled for Sunday evening. Films are considered “features,” says Charlton, when they run an hour or longer.

Each of these features will be prefaced with a different short film, which, unlike their longer counterparts, are the works of Canadian directors, and are only up to 30 minutes in length. More specifically, these films are credited to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia filmmakers.

The festival is the brainchild of five Halifax-based friends with a passion for film: Charlton, Sandi Rankaduwa, Seth Smith, Darcy Spidle and Nancy Urich.

Inspired by the Fantasia International Film Festival this summer, its planning began in July.

“We just decided that it didn’t make sense that something like this wasn’t happening in Halifax; There’s a great arts scene here and there’s a bunch of amazing filmmakers around here, too,” says Charlton.

“We really want to embrace that.”