Halifax film scores big with audiences, film critics
Halifax film "The Dance" has only been screening at festivals for two weeks but it has already received a handful of awards and distinctions and attracted big crowds at the Atlantic Film Festival this week.
Halifax-born comedian Pardis Parker wrote, directed, produced and starred in the silent flick and it has been gaining both critical and commercial success. Parker says he believes the film has been a hit with audiences because it's both fresh and relatable.
"It's about a guy who's trying to be what he thinks a girl wants him to be, but it's only when he's himself that they finally connect," explains Parker. "I think people are excited and relieved to see a film that isn't trying to shock them. And the story's relatable."
"It's about a guy who's trying to get a girl. Who can't relate to that?"
The film was shot in Halifax this April and it played to a sold-out crowd at the Atlantic Film Festival on Sunday. A second and final showing took place in Halifax Wednesday night, as part of the Atlantic Shorts 4 program.
"It's incredibly satisfying to find out that audiences are reacting to the film as positively as they are."
It seems critics are reacting positively too.
The film's first string of honours came from the PEI International Film Festival two weeks ago, where it won the Northumberland Award for Best Maritime Film and it was the first time the award was presented to a film that was made out-of-province.
"The Dance" was also recognized last weekend when Parker was named best foreign filmmaker at the SNOB Film Festival in Concord, New Hampshire and it will show this weekend at the Huntsville Film Festival in Ontario where it landed a spot as a finalist for best short film.
The JamFest Indie Film Festival in Louisiana has also taken note of the film, along with the Carmel Art and Film Festival in California.
"I'm not sure if people are just being kind or not, but so far it's getting the best response of anything I've ever made. It's encouraging," says Parker.
"It wouldn't have been possible without the brilliant cast, crew, sponsors, and friends who came together to bring the film to life."
Many of whom are from Halifax where the film was shot, and Parker says "the film couldn't have been made anywhere else."
Another recognizable face is "Roller Town" actress, and member of the Halifax-based comedy troupe Picnicface, Evany Rosen who starred alongside Parker in the film.
"She's awesome, a true talent," says Parker. "Watch out for her in 2012. She's going to blow up. "
Although the film itself is silent, it also boasts Halifax ties in its soundtrack. The film contains two original songs which were was composed and produced by Asif Illyas and Shehab Illyas at The Shire recording studio in Halifax. Ontario-born, but Halifax-based, artist Meaghan Smith provided vocals on the second track.
Parker says he has wanted to create a silent film for a long time, and he's pleased "The Dance" has struck a chord with local audiences, despite being dialogue-free.
"There's something about silence that begets laughter that's particularly satisfying. It feels more elegant, in a way, more efficient," explains Parker.
"Maybe it's the computer science side of me that's rearing its head, thinking that the best algorithm is the simplest one, I'm not sure. But if I had to choose between making people laugh with words or without, I'd choose without every single time."