The Lighthouse, the spooky Nova Scotia-shot thriller starring Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe, will be the closing gala film at this year’s FIN Atlantic International Film Festival.
Organizers announced the prestige booking at a news conference Wednesday in Halifax. FIN runs from Sept. 12-19.
The Lighthouse was directed by Robert Eggers and written by him and his brother, Max Eggers. Pattinson, who has transitioned from a heartthrob in the Twilight franchise to art-house fare, and Dafoe, a four-time Oscar nominee, play lighthouse keepers in turn-of-the-last-century Maine. While the plot was largely kept secret, the film has been described as a fantasy-horror story utilizing seafaring myths.
In May, the movie garnered several rave revues from critics who saw it at the Cannes festival. The Lighthouse will also screen at the 44th annual Toronto International Film Festival, which runs Sept. 5-15.
In 2018, filming locations for the movie in the province included the Leif Erickson Trail at the Cape Forchu lighthouse in Yarmouth County, where a full-scale temporary lighthouse was built. The production also filmed in Dartmouth at a soundstage and at Survival Systems, a pool facility that can facilitate marine and underwater scenes.
The opening gala of FIN will be Halifax filmmaker Heather Young’s Murmur. The movie is described as a docu-fiction hybrid that follows Donna, a 60-something woman grappling with loneliness, family estrangement and alcohol dependence who ends up looking to her pets and other animals for comfort.
The female-focused story, which features an almost all-female cast and production crew, was made in Nova Scotia with local, non-professional actors.
Murmur is also premiering at TIFF a few days ahead of its FIN screening.
FIN executive director Wayne Carter said the takeaway word for the entire event is “discovery.”
“For many of us, discovering new ideas and new places is what makes life incredibly exciting, and that innate joy is at the heart of what we do at the Atlantic International Film Festival,” said Carter at a news conference.
“This festival allows you, our guest, to open doors into different worlds and have experiences that can be both learning and potentially life-changing.”
The eight-day festival will include over 120 screenings, with gala presentations having screenings at 6:30 and 9:30 p.m. Two Atlantic Canadian productions will be highlighted: Assholes, A Theory, a self-explanatory documentary by John Walker, and Conviction, by directors Nance Ackerman, Ariella Pahlke and Teresa MacInnes, which explores alternatives to prison through the eyes of women behind bars.
Other highlights include There’s Something in the Water, a documentary about environmental racism in Nova Scotia by Halifax-born actor Ellen Page and Ian Daniel, and Guest of Honour, the new film from veteran Canadian director Atom Egoyan starring David Thewlis and Luke Wilson.
Special presentations will feature several documentaries for music fans. Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind, Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice and Mystify: Michael Hutchence, about the late INXS singer, will be screened.
Regional, national and international shorts are bundled into 10 showings.
This year’s slate includes 199 films from 35 countries at 121 screenings.
“The programming team probably combs through about 2,000 films in the run of a year and narrows it down to what you’re going to see,” said Carter.
“To be able to put it together in what I would call a cohesive, well-rounded and meaningful program is a challenge.”
FIN passes are on sale. The Big Binge pass, which allows admission to everything except the opening night gala film and party, costs $175. There are also day, student and senior passes. Screenings, with one exception, will be at the Cineplex Park Lane.
The opening night gala showing for Murmur is at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium. Tickets for that evening are being sold through the Dalhousie Arts Centre box office.
Visit finfestival.ca for detailed schedule and ticket information.