Local filmmaker Tim Tracey struggles to understand why his films receive no recognition from the
Atlantic Film Festival.
The Atlantic Film Festival is an ideal venue for many Halifax filmmakers, but for some, it is a source of frustration.
Joel MacLeod submitted his first film to the festival this year, and got a public screening and support for his next project.
Timothy Barron Tracey has submitted seven films over the years, but has never been accepted.
The festival, started in 1980, originally focused on Atlantic work and developed into an international festival. Lia Rinaldo,
the festival director, says that Atlantic films are still the festival’s “heart and soul.”
Rinaldo says the festival received 1,500 submissions this year and accepted 235 films. Eight feature films and more than
100 short films were from the East coast, but competition is stiff for local filmmakers.
MacLeod’s film GhostVase is a science fiction parody.
MacLeod posts much of his work, including the trailer for GhostVase, on YouTube. Some of his school project films
were shown at NSCAD University screenings, but the audiences were mostly friends and family. The festival was his first chance
to get a wider live audience.
MacLeod says the biggest challenge was getting the right set and props. He and his crew spent their Christmas break “having
craft-making parties” to outfit the campy film.
Their work paid off. MacLeod and Adam Rafuse shared the festival award for Best Art Direction. MacLeod says he was honoured
to win an award for an element of the film they put so much effort into.
Power Post Production gave MacLeod free services for his next project. He says he is planning to collaborate with Joel
MacKenzie and Dayle Hendrix. They’ll be pooling their resources; MacKenzie won Best Atlantic Short for Super Science,
and was awarded free film stock from Kodak.
Tracey has been making films since age 10. He teaches at the Centre for Arts Tapes, freelances as a camera operator and
editor, and is the broadcast television technician at the University of King’ College School of Journalism. He also
runs his own film company, Machine Productions.
Tracey thought this could be the year for him and his film crew. He submitted three films, each with different genres and
lengths. One was his first completed feature film, Grit Town.
“I was surprised that I didn’t get one out of three. I figured I was hitting a wide spectrum,“ said Tracey.
Tracey says there are lots of possible reasons why his work isn’t getting in. An international festival only
has so much space for local work, and Halifax has lots of filmmakers.
Tracey also self-funds all his work and he says that could put him at a disadvantage. Films supported by governments or
groups like the Atlantic Filmmakers Cooperative get screened by their sponsors and might get more consideration.
Rinaldo says the programmers keep an open mind when they look at submissions. It takes about three months to go through
everything, with two intensive weeks devoted to looking at the submissions from Atlantic Canada.
Rinaldo admits that, like most festivals, they don’t watch every film all the way through. She says it isn’t
practical – they would still be going through films now if they did that.
She adds that involvement in certain programs does not guarantee a spot in the festival.
“The thing is that a wonderful film can come out of nowhere.“
She says the programmers reject many films they think are good. Some films don’t fit the rest of the lineup, and
the economic downturn forced the festival to cut back screening time.
“It forces you to make harder decisions.”
Next year will be the 10th anniversary for the Salon des Refuses Atlantique, a festival for films rejected by the Atlantic
Film Festival. The “head reject” Steven James May, says there are bound to be good submissions that don’t
fit the aesthetic of the festival. But he’s not “anti-AFF” and is glad they show international work as well.
Tracey’s short animation, Busted Plastic, was screened last week on Oct. 17 at Halifax’s Nocturne
art festival. He is also optimistic about getting into another festival, because it showcases only self-funded films.
Tracey says it’s hard to not get frustrated after so many rejections. He just paid $250 to apply to another festival,
and it adds up.
“It definitely makes it harder when it’s your own money on the line.”
Tracey had tickets for the festival this year, but didn’t get to go. He became too busy working on one of his
own movies, an action comedy called The Canadian Ninja.
He says it’s great to have a festival that brings international films to Halifax. He just thinks the local film scene
needs more development; more independent screenings and a festival devoted to local work.
“Maybe in the winter,” he says, “when there’s nothing else to do.”
WORKPRINT: AUTUMN 2009
Head reject Steven James May revels in the spirit
of the Salon des Refusés Atlantique.
omeone once insinuated that I
the Salon des Refusés Atlantique so that
I could screen my own Atlantic Film Festival
Not so. I can’t imagine anything lamer.
I’ve rented out The Oxford theatre to
screen my work before, but this is something
totally different—the Salon des
Refusés Atlantique isn’t about me. It isn’t
even really about the individual filmmakers
whose works screen as part of the gathering
each September at the Khyber on Barrington Street.
The Salon des Refusés Atlantique is
about the faceless filmmaking majority. The
original plan was to have everyone at the
first Salon in 2001 sport bandanas or black
balaclavas, a la Subcomandante Marcos, but
then September 11th happened. I was worried
that the cops might freak out by seeing
people running around with masks on their
faces a mere two days after 9/11, so we
scrapped the face coverings.
The Atlantic Film Festival, like most
competitive festivals, receives way more
submissions than they could ever possibly
screen. How then do they decide which
ones to pick? A jury. But first of all, before
that, the (hardworking and underpaid) AFF
staff literally scours the globe to find films
that are hits at other festivals and then
bring them back to show in Halifax. Once
that is done, they gather a selection of
jury folk who are assigned the momentous
task of watching all the AFF submissions.
Refused cinema is unavoidable.
Enter the Salon des Refusés Atlantique.
I first learned about the tradition of
the Salon des Refusés during the 2000 Toronto
International Film Festival. I somehow
scored TIFF media passes for myself and my
“cameraman” so we could conduct interviews
for my documentary,
. It was then that I
learned of a one night
screening that the film cooperative in
Toronto, LIFT, held each year to screen films
rejected by TIFF. Provided filmmakers could
prove that they had indeed been rejected by
TIFF, their films would be considered for the
Salon. I also learned that the tradition of
the Salon des Refusés dated back to 1860s
France (hence the French name).
By 2001, I had moved back to my second
home of Halifax to pursue my dream
of becoming a documentary
filmmaker. Key to the
success of my master plan
was to get The Festival
is Gravy into the AFF.
Back then, when you were
rejected, you received an
actual physical letter sent
to your residence. The
Festival is Gravy, so the
story goes, was rejected
by the AFF. I didn’t take
it very well. Whether it’s
being refused by the local
elite T-ball team at age
eight, or being dumped by a lover over the
telephone at age 28, being left behind is
always hard to take. And it’s extremely hard
to take when it involves a film that you’ve
put your time, energy and money into.
I guess I must have been better at
channeling my heartache back in 2001 because
my immediate response to having my
film rejected by the Atlantic Film Festival
was to start planning the Salon des Refusés
Atlantique. Salon Atlantique is unique in
that, unlike other Salons, there is no curating
of submissions. The first time a film is
seen by the Salon is when it screens to the
Absurd? Perhaps. The goal, however,
is to provide a balance to competitive,
subjective film festivals. The Salon des
Refusés Atlantique, unlike even the Salon in
Toronto that features curated TIFF rejects,
is entirely objective (films are selected by
lottery and screened in the order selected),
non-competitive (no prizes) and
inclusive (AFF-rejected films of any genre
and of any length are eligible, as are films
rejected from any year of the AFF).
It’s hard to believe, but 2010 will mark the
10th anniversary of the
Salon des Refusés Atlantique.
Seeing that it’s a
nice round number, we’re
gonna kick things up a
notch. As such, we could
use your help. If you’re a
filmmaker who has ever
had any of your films rejected
by the AFF since its
very first year, we encourage
you to apply to the
Salon. (It would also be
cool to see a copy of a AFF rejection letter
from, say, 1984.)
Until then, Salon des Refusés Atlantique
2009 will present a crop of seven
proud AFF rejects on Saturday, September
19, at the legendary Khyber building, 1588
Barrington Street in Halifax. Chance has
provided the Salon this year with an all-
Nova Scotian line-up of refused cinema
from various genres. The show starts at
7pm. See you there.
Nous sommes le pouvoir.
Visit salonatlantique.com, or Twitter
@salonatlantique for the latest.
Salon des Refuse unspools at Khyber
The Chronicle Herald
Wed. Sep 10/08
Before Halifax filmgoers celebrate the best of the fest, there’s the best of the rest, as the eighth annual Salon
des Refuses presents a program of projects rejected by the Atlantic Film Festival.
Taking place tonight at the Khyber Building at 7 p.m., the Salon will feature an evening of randomly selected films chosen
by picking AFF rejection letters out of a hat.
Tonight’s lineup includes Candace Mooers’ Halifax comedy short No Yetis Allowed, director Patrick Blackie’s
experimental horror short Uncertainty, the social drama My Friend Susan about a young woman who discovers she’s schizophrenic,
and two shorts by Williamswood’s John A. Baker: the comedy Majinx about a bumbling magician and the fictional docudrama
A Flashing Life.
Longer pieces include Greg Hemmings’ Melting Lands, a documentary about the affects of global warming on a northern
Canadian community; A Song for the Home Front by Fredericton director Jon Collicott, about a farmer whose life changes when
he finds his grandfather’s long lost guitar in the waning days of the Second World War; and the gay horror romance They
Only Come Out at Night, by Fredericton’s Glendon McKinney.
If, for some reason, the Atlantic Film Festival jury rejected your movie about the cannibalistic mime and his talking
iguana (they just didn't get your vision or the homage to 1970s post-classic noir), there's still a chance to invite your
mom to a screening: the eighth annual Salon des Refusés, scheduled for September 10, a tradition that goes back to Napoleon's
time. All you need to do is follow these three easy steps: 1. Get rejected by the AFF. 2. E-mail your rejection letter, along
with a completed Salon application form (available at salonatlantique.org), to salonatlantique(at)hotmail(dot)com by August 29 at 5pm. 3. Hope your film is randomly selected to screen. The Salon doesn't worry about pesky details like juries,
you're counting on the luck of the universe in hopes they randomly pick your rejection letter.
Daily News, September 14, 2007
"Napoleon would've thought these rejects were dynamite"
There is one rule when it comes to the Salon des Refuses Atlantique - you need a rejection letter from the Atlantic Film
"People seem to dig it," Steven James May said. He is the organizer of the Salon, which takes place tomorrow night at
the Khyber Club. It is an opportunity for filmmakers who don't get into the AFF to screen their works.
"Certainly, I think the filmmakers like it," he said about the event, which is now in its seventh year. "They are feeling
upset about not getting into the Atlantic Film Festival, and are feeling sad and rejected, and then all of a sudden they get
word the film will be playing in Halifax."
May named the event after the Salon des Refuses that Napoleon III created in the 1800s to provide a venue for painters
refused by mainstream galleries because their art was seen as too progressive.
Unlike the AFF, where a committee selects the works which will be shown, the Salon's selection process is usually about
the luck of the draw.
With only five films submitting their rejection letters for this year's Salon, all are being screened.
Here is a look at the line up:
- Bread for the Journey: This drama, directed by Halifax's Convivial Daze and produced by Maynard Harris, is about a
group of nuns and a time-travelling bread recipe.
- PHONE WHORES: A comedy by Truro's Gary Caven and Darrell Sampson about an out-of-work guy who resorts to taking a call-centre
- TETAS DE MUERTE: A robotploitation film set in the future, where artificial-intelligence units rely on human blood
as a source of fuel.
- HOW I GOT BUSTED: A documentary where Canadians talk openly about their use of marijuana and how they've been arrested
for growing, buying or using it.
- BETWEEN THE BURIES AND ME: Halifax's Eric Duncan produced and directed this horror film about university students who
go to an isolated island in the middle of Halifax Harbour and are killed one by one.
- WHAT: Salon des Refuses Atlantique 2007 - WHERE: The Khyber Club - WHEN: Tomorrow, 7 p.m. - TICKETS: $6
September 06, 2007 The Coast
THE DOPE SHOW
A trip to the Salon
Tara Thorne knows the dopes and the shows.
by Tara Thorne
Film festival season is upon
us as of this week, but the Atlantic Film Festival is not the only game in town. The Salon des Refuses, the annual one-night
festival of AFF rejectees, has announced its selected-by-lottery line-up.
The all-Atlantic slate of films includes: Bread for the Journey, "a 30-year journey in the lives of a group of nuns revolving
around a recipe as it travels through time" by Convival Daze; Phone Whores, a call centre comedy by Truro director Daniel
Gaynor, whose hilarious Grindhouse contest entry Tetas de Muerte (yes, Tits of Death) will also screen; Between the Buried
and Me, a horror feature from Eric Duncan about a weekend camping trip gone awry and How I Got Busted, by New Brunswick documentarian
Connell Smith. We happened to see a rough cut in St. Andrews, NB in March, and it's a funny and heartbreaking account of four
disparate North Americans who got nailed for pot possession and how the busts affected their lives.
The Salon begins at 7pm on September 15 at the Khyber Club (which, on an unrelated note, HRM, we would love to see go
the route of the Marquee and re-open permanently). Tickets are $6.
The Coast, August 2, 2007
THE DOPE SHOW
by Tara Thorne
The refused unite
The first week of August always finds local filmmakers on edge as they wait for the programming team at the Atlantic
Film Festival to start sending out the acceptance and rejection letters. If you get the latter—it happens! For all kinds
of reasons! Chin up!—there's still a chance your film can be screened in Halifax during the festival when all those
bigwigs are in town.
The seventh annual Salon des Refusés Atlantique has released its yearly call to the rejected—send in your letter
(and your movie, duh) and you will be entered into a lottery (note: do not send your movie with your letter).
Letters will be drawn at random to compose the one-day Salon program at the Khyber Club on Saturday, September 15.
For more info, keep an eye on salonatlantique.org.
Film fest, schilm fest. Bring on the Salon des Refusés Lezlie Lowe September
Look – I’m not saying the 26th annual Atlantic Film Festival isn’t worth your time. Heck, I’d
hock my jewels to get tickets if I had to. But you know all about it already – it runs September 14 through 23, 2006
at venues around Halifax, Nova Scotia and features a collection of 223 films from around the region and around the world.
And it’s getting press coverage up the wazoo. But the Salon des Refusés Atlantique? Now that’s another story.
The Salon – taking place Wednesday, September 13, 2006 in the main floor club at the Khyber Centre for the
Arts – is a handful and a half of films rejected from the Atlantic Film Festival.
This is the place where the films that would otherwise go unseen by regular film fest goers get their due. Call it
a chance to see the films too hot, too gross, or too simple to make it to the fest. Call it a chance to critique the judging
skills of the Atlantic Film Fest juries. Call it a good night out. It is. That’s clear - this is the sixth annual year
for this event.
The process for getting a film into the salon is simple:
Step 1: Get rejected by the Atlantic Film Festival.
Step 2: Submit your rejection letter and an application to the Salon des Refusés Atlantique.
Step 3: Cross your fingers.
The films included are chosen by random draw. So no one has to worry about having rejection heaped upon rejection.
In case you were wondering, the concept of the Salon des Refusés goes back to 19th century salon hangings in Paris.
Traditionally, salon acceptance gave artists the nod of the Académie des beaux-arts and, by extension, the approval
of the royal court and wealthy patrons who might buy their art. If you were in, you were in. If you were out, you were way
But then the first Salon des Refusés came along in 1863. Artists whose work didn’t fit the tight mould of the
Académie des beaux-arts – such as, notably, Renoir, Monet and Manet – got the chance to show their work. And the
rest is, literally, history.
On the bill for this year’s Salon des Refusés Atlantique is Halifax director Mirco Chen’s The Birth of
Serfs, Winnipeger Vanessa Loewen’s Morning Radio, Haligonian Megan Wennberg’s My name is, documentary film Carline-A
Mother's Convictions by Convivial Daze and Los Angeles-based director Crystal Us’s An Open Door.
The Salon des Refusés Atlantique 2006 takes place September 13, 2006 in the main floor club at the Khyber Centre
for the Arts. Screenings run from 7:00 PM to 9:30 PM. Admission is limited to those 19 and over and costs $6.
For more information visit salonatlantique.org. And for more information on the 26th annual Atlantic Film Festival
(September 14 through 23, 2006), visit atlanticfilm.com.
Salon des Refuses welcomes films rejected by the Atlantic Film Festival
Dean Lisk The Daily News
FILM - Some of the films rejected by the Atlantic Film Festival will get a big screen debut after all.
"As an artist, - filmmaker, specifically - you get pretty used to rejection," said Steven James May, who is holding a
Salon des Refuses Atlantique at the Khyber Club tomorrow night.
Now in its fifth (sixth actually, SJM) year, the one-night film festival is a feel-good chance for people
rejected by the Atlantic Film Festival to still have their movies screened.
Five films will be shown at tomorrow's screening, including three works by Halifax directors. They are Mirco Chen's horror
The Birth of Serfs, Convivial Daze's documentary Carline - A Mother's Convictions, and Megan Wennberg's comedy My Name Is?
Also being show are the drama Morning Radio, by Winnipeg director Vanessa Loewen, and the drama An Open Door, by Los
Angeles director Crystal Us.
Unlike the Atlantic Film Festival, where a committee selects the works which will be shown, the Salon's selection process
is all about the luck of the draw.
"Every application is assigned a number, and I write each number on an ibuprofen tablet," said May. "I put that in a
jar, and the first one I pull out is the first one I screen. I do it until I have a couple hours of programming."
All you need you need to enter the salon is a film and a festival rejection letter.
The salon has been in existence since 2001 - when May received his first rejection letter from the Atlantic Film Festival.
He named the event after the Salon des Refuses that Napoleon III created in the 1800s to provide a venue for painters
refused by mainstream galleries because their art was seen as too progressive.
"Those dudes turned out to be the impressionists, like Renoir, Monet," said May.
Similar salons have since popped up in all areas of art, from photography to film and music.
"I've heard there are people that don't like the salon, but nobody has said anything to my face," said May. "Some people
might not like the films, but I don't care if they are good or bad, I just put them out there
September 6, 2006
All-North American rejects
Last week we told those passed over by the Atlantic Film Festival to hurry your asses up and apply for the Salon des
Refuses, the sixth annual screening of AFF-rejected shorts. This week we've got the line-up for you. For a mere six bucks
you can check out the following films from all over North America: Vanessa Loewen's Morning Radio, Crystal's An Open Door
with Haligonian efforts including Micro Chen's horror film The Birth of Serfs, Convivial Daze's Carline: A Mother's Convictions,
a documentary about Carline VandenElsen, and the comedy My Name Is by The Coast's own Megan Wennberg.
The screening begins at 7pm on September 13 at the Khyber Club, 1588 Barrington. Visit salonatlantique.org for more.
August 31, 2006
Here and there
August 31 is your last day to apply to the Salon des Refuses Atlantique, the place where filmmakers rejected by the Atlantic
Film Festival get to screen their works. To apply, hit salonatlantique.org and send an electronic application, along with
your AFF rejection letter, to the Salon. The films will be randomly selected from all entries and screened on September 13
at a location we'll confirm next week.
August 23, 2006
The Chronicle Herald
ENTERTAINMENT IN BRIEF
Salon des Refusés Atlantique wants films
Filmmakers whose latest masterpieces have been turned down by the Atlantic Film Festival have a second chance at finding
an audience thanks to the Salon des Refusés Atlantique which takes place on Sept. 13.
Any piece that’s been given a pass by the AFF is eligible, dating back to the festival’s very first year. The
submission deadline is Aug. 31 at 5 p.m.
The Salon was inspired by its namesake established in 1863 by Napoleon III for artists kept out of official exhibits, like
Renoir, Monet and Manet.
There is no official selection of work screened at the Salon des Refusés Atlantique; instead, it is programmed by randomly
drawing submitted Atlantic Film Festival rejection letters from a lottery. The pile of letters drawn at the end of the day
will be the works to be screened at the Salon.
HALIFAX - A Halifax man who once had a film rejected by the Atlantic Film Festival has created an event to showcase
the work of others like him.
Steven James May founded the Salon des Refusés Atlantique, which takes place Thursday, in 2001, after his independent
documentary The Festival is Gravy was turned down by the Atlantic and other film festivals.
"I think one should embrace their being a reject," May told CBC News.
"If you're rejected and you're not fitting into the popular idea of 'what is of value' and 'what is acceptable in life,'
I think that's good because you're kind of challenging people and their opinions," said May. "I think that's where innovation
May – the self-described "head reject" – said his annual event was inspired by the original Salon des Refusés,
which took place in Paris in 1863. In that case, a group of Realist and Impressionist artists was rejected from the official
exhibition at the French Academy of Art, and managed to persuade Napoleon III to give them their own show.
Though some of the works at that exhibition may indeed have been of poor quality, it also included at least two influential
pieces: Édouard Manet's Déjeuner sur l'Herbe and James McNeill Whistler's The White Girl.
May's only requirement for filmmakers is that all submissions first be turned down by the Atlantic Film Festival, which
opens Friday. Those rebuffed can then send their rejection letters as part of their application to the Salon.
While other film festivals make their selections through a jury process, the Salon "programs" its lineup by making a
random draw from all the submissions.
This year, the seven films to be screened range from a political satire about the Sydney Tar Ponds to a "hallucinogenic
comedy" from Spain.
The Coast. September 9-15, 2004
Respect for rejects
In 1737 the French Academy created the Salon, an annual artwork exhibit chosen by jury and held
at the Salon d’Apollon of the Louvre. Known for its conservative, established tastes, the Salon was the only exhibit
of its kind until disgruntled artists convinced Emperor Napoleon III to create a new exhibition in 1863. Artists such as Edouard
Manet and James McNeill Whistler displayed their work at the first Salon des Refuses, and other famed artists such as Renoir
and Monet would follow.
Well, if the Altantic Film Festival is the French Academy, then Steven James May must be Napoleon
III. May is the creator of the Salon des Refuses Atlantique, a one night film festival taking place at the Khyber Club September
16 that showcases some of the AFF’s rejected works. “It seems like when people get rejected they turn to us first,”
says May, who is back for his fourth turn at Refuses. “It makes rejection as bearable as possible, and it’s a
good base for discussion.”
This year’s Salon features seven films from Canada, the US and Spain, with subjects
ranging from mystery boxes to the Sydney tar ponds. All films were randomly drawn for screening, and James hasn’t watched
any of them.
“I never check out the films,” explains May. “We’re providing balance to competitive
festivals like the Atlantic Film Festival. It’s purely a lottery and everyone is on the same playing field, which is
nice.” And while this experiment in fair play could lead to sitting through a few wretched films, May isn’t losing
any sleep over it. “It’s hair-raising but you have to trust filmmakers. That’s part of the excitement and
that’s why people come out.”
The Coast August 19-26, 2004
Scene and Heard Jane of Arts
Everybody gets a festival festival
Attention all Atlantic Film Festival rejects: the 4th annual Salon des Refuses Atlantic
wants your tapes! Go to salonatlantique.org, fill out an application and send in your rejection letter, and get a chance to
show your film at the Khyber Club on September 16 (it’s a draw, so don’t worry about getting rejected twice).
Deadline is August 31.
The Coast, September 11-18, 2003.
The daily shows 176 Films in eight days? Not likely. Tara Thorne helps you get through the Atlantic film
festival one day at a time.
des refuses Atlantique
The Salon, now in its third year, has two application
requirements: your movie and your rejection letter from the Atlantic Film Festival. "I think it's reaching it's goal", says
founder Steven James May, "which is to provide balance to mainstream competitive festivals". The line-up of randomly selected
films is seven titles long. Ice Dream is about hockey; there's some fancy tango dancin in Rendezvous; you've
always heard that Love is Blind; Through the Tempered Glass is an Alice in Wonderland for today; Omnivac
is about gardening and heroes; Pour lEternité is a drama directed by Paul Verhoeven (who is not the guy who directed
Basic Instinct) and Beyond Ursa Major shows the different stages of a sculpture installation.
May started the Salon after being rejected from the AFF himself; this year, his documentary The Nevermind
Year will screen at the festival on September 18. He set out to make a movie during his 27th year, believing that, like
his hero Kurt Cobain, he would not make it to age 28. He was wrong, and somewhere during filming, the project turned away
from a Cobain homage and into a personal introspective. He had 80 hours of footage and with the help of editor Carrie Mackenzie
cut it down to 46 minutes. May is aware of the irony of his situation. "I've never gotten into anything before", he muses.
"I'm just taking it as it comes".
------------------------------------------------------------ by Eugene Hernandez
and Brian Brooks/indieWIRE
>> Nova Scotia Celebrates Cinema at 22nd Atlantic Film Festival; "Dogs"
and "Columbine" Win Top Awards
(indieWIRE: 09.23.02) -- A series of fall Canadian film festivals that launched
with the Montreal World Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival, continued last week in Halifax, Nova Scotia,
with the 22nd Atlantic Film Festival. The festival, which kicked off on September 13 with Michael Moore's "Bowling for Columbine,"
concluded this weekend with an award ceremony and a screening of Agnieszka Holland's "Julie Walking Home."
Thom Fitzgerald's "The Wild Dogs" was a big winner this year, taking the $5,000
prize for best Canadian feature and also winning the best direction prize in the Atlantic Canadian competition. The outstanding
writer award went to Daniel Maclvor for "Marion Bridge," while Victoria King's "White Thunder" won the Rex Tasker Award for
Moore's "Columbine" was also a clear hit at this year's festival, winning the event's
top international prize, The People's Choice Award. In fact, the picture was such a hit with the city's large college-aged
audience on opening night that a second screening of the movie was added. The film, the subject of an in-depth discussion
during Thursday's critics panel, has local roots; it was produced by the Halifax-based company Salter Street Films Limited
(a wholly owned subsidiary of Canada's Alliance Atlantis). "I knew I would never be able to get the funding for this in America,"
Moore told Halifax's Daily News in advance of the opening night showing. He immediately secured backing upon meeting with
Salter Street chairman and CEO Michael Donovan.
Other gala screenings in Halifax this year included Philip Noyce's "Rabbit Proof
Fence," Deepa Mehta's "Bollywood/Hollywood," Weibke von Carlosfield's "Marion Bridge," David Cronenberg's "Spider," Tim Southham's
"The Bay of Love and Sorrows," and a late-night showing of D.A. Pennebaker's "Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars."
The week-long Nova Scotia Film Development Corp. (NFSDC) Industry Series welcomed
Canadian film community luminaries, as well as participants from south of the border. Among the attendees were Tom Perlmutter
from the National Film Board of Canada, Los Angeles Canadian Consul General Colin Robertson, Emerging Pictures' Ira Deutchman,
producer Jon Marcus ("Party Monster"), Charlotte Mickie from Alliance Atlantis, Canadian film critics Cameron Bailey from
NOW & CBC Radio and Liam Lacey of the Toronto Globe and Mail, Harry Knowles from "Ain't it Cool News," actor Paul Gross,
and producer and director John Martin, among others.
Perhaps as a true mark of its success, the Atlantic Film Festival
has even spawned an alternative fest. Dubbed the Salon des Refuses Atlantique, the event was formed last year by local filmmaker
Steven James May who was rejected by AFF last year. It is back this year with a selection of films shunned by the festival.
Other fall festivals in Canada include Cinefest, Sudbury's Interntional Film Festival
which wrapped yesterday, the Vancouver International Film Festival (September 27 to October 12), and Montreal's Festival International
du Nouveau Cinema next month. [Eugene Hernandez]
September 12, 2002. The Coast
a chance on me: Local filmmaker Steven James May rolls the dice at his own film festival."
by Andrea Methot
"Have you seen this?" he asks you, holding up a copy
of the documentary called The Salesman, and you shake your head, because you haven't. You are wandering through Video
Difference with aspiring documentary filmmaker Steven James May. "This is what's called cinema verite. It's when nothing
is scripted, nobody is told what to do, what to say. They just use whatever happens. This one is able these bible salesmen."
He pauses, then laughs, "I'm acting like I really know a lot about films."
He picks up another film, and says, "Have you seen this?"
and you shake your head, because you haven't. "It's called Breasts. It's just these women, and this one guy, who
had implants, and they talk about their breasts. I don't know. It's good."
He picks up another film, and says, "Have you seen this",
and you shake your head, because you haven't. He points to the film called Buena Vista Social Club, and says, "You must have
seen this," and you shake your head, again, because you haven't. The last movie you saw was Blue Crush, and you're
starting to feel like a bit of a cinematic reject.
It's OK though, because May is a bit of a cinematic
reject too, although in a much more palatable way. Last year, May made a film and submitted it to the Atlantic Film Festival.
It was rejected. But rather than drown his sorrows in copious amounts of alcohol, or give up his documentary dreams for the
life of a dentist, May chose the path of creative resistance, and launched the first annual Salon des Refuses Atlantique.
The salon screened films and videos that had all been rejected by the film festival.
"Getting rejected was...I don't know," he says. "It
comes in waves: first you're sad. And then you get mad. But then you've just got to let it go. This is about taking back the
word 'reject'. We have to reclaim it-like the word 'bitch'. This is a celebration of rejects."
After last year's successful celebration, May is continuing
the tradition with the second annual salon. This year, 11 films, videos and digital videos will be screened, representing
artists from across Canada, the US and the United Kingdom.
"This is a night of reject pride." he says. "It's for
people to come to the Khyber, sit in those chairs, have some drinks, smoke long fancy cigarettes and watch these films."
Still, May says the last thing he wants to do is create
more rejects. Salon participants are chosen at random, via lottery.
"This is about being objective." he says. It's to bring
balance to the festival-to any juried festival. These festivals-the Atlantic, Toronto, Cannes-it's people who sit there and
say, ' think this is good. I think this is of value.' But then you have the salon, and everyone's treated the same."
This year, May received 35 entries after the Film Festival
sent out an e-mail to all its rejects, letting them know about the salon.
"I assigned each film a number, and then I wrote a number
on Apirin tavs. This year I used Ibuprofen, and I carved the numbers in instead, so I could still use the pills." says May.
"Then I put them in a jar, shake them around and pull them out. I just keep picking them out until the night is filled."
Local digital video maker Matt Grant was one of those
lucky Ibuprofen tablets. His video, Mr. Pirc-which follows a local chess-player as he prepares for a tournament-was
rejected by the festival for a tournament-was rejected by the festival, but made it into the salon.
"I'm not a proud person," he laughs. "I don't mind showing
it in the reject festival."
Grant is proud of his video, though, and prefers
to think of it as "overlooked".
"When I hear the word 'reject', the first thing that
comes to my mind is 'defective' " he says. "I know my film's not perfect, but it's not defective."
The idea of the salon dates back to 1863, when artists
like Cezanne and Monet were declined entry into the art shows of their contemporaries because their work wasn't judged to
be appropriate. They opened the first Salon des Refuses in response, and, needless to say, it wound up bigger and better than
the shows that had denied them. So Grant and May and the other film festival "rejects" are in good company.
Grant suspects he was refused from the festival because
his film was difficult to categorise,so he isnt' taking the rejection too personally. He reasons that festival juries aren't
objective, so a refusal doesn't necessarily means your film isn't any good. Of course, the reverse holds true: if you are
accepted, if doesn't necessarily mean your film is good. That's why Grant says he's happy to screen his video anywhere.
"If any film has been conceived, executed, duplicated
and distributed, it deserves to be seen," he says. "I don't need people to tell me my film is good."
This kind of thick skin is necessary if you work in
the arts, and May says he's no stranger to rejection. "I think all my experience has perpared me for doing the salon," he
says. "I had this big-time producer tell me, after I'd pitched an idea to him, 'Steven, it sounds like you want us to roll
the dice on you. We can't do that.' So I'm going to roll the dice on these people. I say that a lot-roll the dice. But that's
what it is. Rolling the dice. I have to trust these filmmakers. If you decide you want to make a film, and you go out, and
you write it, and you shoot it, and you edit it and you say, 'Here it is; I did it,'that earns you the right to have it seen."
"Filmmakers invited to Salon des Refuses"
The Herald. August 29, 2002.
Filmmakers who have been rejected by the jury of the 22nd Atlantic Film Festival can apply to the Salon des Refuses Atlantique.
Applications must be received by Friday at 5pm, for the Salon, to be held at the Khyber, 1588 Barrington St. on Sept
The first Salon des Refuses was held in France in 1863 for painters works.
Works which failed to satisfy the accepted definition of art at that time were deemed dangerously subversive by the cultural
elite and excluded from art exhibits.
A volunteer meeting will be held at 6:30pm on Sept. 4 at the Paper Chase Cafe (above the magazine shop).
"Reduce, Refuse, Recycle"
PLAYBACK. September 2, 2002
First, the bad news. Your movie did not get into the Toronto International Film Festival. You will not get to schmooze
buyers or scarf down plates of free risotto at the parties. But on the bright side, maybe your under-appreciated masterpiece
got into the National Salon des Refuses, the annual mini-festival made up of Canadian movies that didn't make the cut for
Back for its ninth year, the Salon presents two programs of nixed 16mm, 35mm and DV shorts on Sept. 10 at Toronto's Innis
Town Hall - including the 13-minute drama Blueberry by Regina filmmaker Brett Bell.
Out east, Steven James May is also screening films rejected by the Atlantic Film Festival. He started the Salon
des Refuses Atlantique last year as a "feel-good reject pride kind of thing" when his film The Festival is Gravy was left
out of the East Coast fete. Atlantique screens its new crop of rejected films at Halifax's Khyber Club on Sept. 12.
Both Salons are programmed by a lottery draw. Films are shown in the order that they are picked out of the hat.
September 5, 2002
"Second best in fest" The Coast.
Feeling rejected by the Atlantic Film Festival? Did your magnum opus, the product of your blood, sweat and tears become
victim of a cold letter stating "We're sorry, your film has not been accepted"? Welcome to the Salon des Refuses Atlantique.
In 1863, Napoleon III set up the first Salon des Refuses for artists whoe work had been rejected from the official "salon"
for deviating from the status quo. Artists such as Cezanne, Monet, and Pissaro were among those who exhibited in the Salon
des Refuses. That's some good company. Of course, 19th centuary Paris, this ain't.
This Salon, to be held at the Khyber Club on September 12, is in its second year. The Salon's program is determined randomly:
Atlantic Film Festival rejection letters are put in a barrel and drawn in a sort of reject lottery. Last year's Salon films
include The Skunk Whisperer, the harrowing tale of what happened when 16 skunks were discovered living under a house
on the eastern shor of Nova Scotia, Keep on Shucking, about professional oyster shuckers, and The Great American
"Film fest for Khyberites"
The Daily News September 9th, 2002
Get a head start on the Atlantic Film Festival this week, with a couple of
warmups at the Khyber Club.
The second annual Salon des Refuses Atlantique happens Thursday, with 11 films and videos rejected by the bigger festival.
Salon organizer Steven James May received 32 entries, and programmed his screening by drawing filmfest reject letters
at random. The Salon starts at 6:50 p.m. Thursday, and is open to Khyber members and guests ages 19 and older. Admission is
First in the lineup is Gone For a Week, about a woman on a chaotic business trip, by U.S. director Erik Reo, followed
by Samuel Dales British drama Euphoria Black Out, about a photographer named Caitlin setting out to document the end of the
world. Then its Mr. Pirc by Halifaxs Matt Grant, a humourous look at an eccentric chess player.
Other films include Star Dreams, about crop circles; My Bubba, about a girl and her grandmothers chores; Vagina Dentata,
a comedy about a man winning back his lovers affection; Captive, a thriller about a man who wakes up caged in a dark basement;
Minor Adjustments, about a model willing to go to extreme measures in her pursuit of success; Doppio Po, about the northern
Adriatic sea; Tous Les Deux, about the meeting of two would-be lovers; and Lazy Days...Crazy Nights, about a singer undergoing
a grueling transformation.
On Wednesday at 8 p.m., the Khyber presents the Jane Friggin Kansas Film Festival. The Daily News columnist hosts screenings
of Beefcake, Lexx, Black Harbour and How Lesbians Kiss.
Saturday, August 25, 2001
Salon des Refuses 2001 seeks fringe films
The Salon des Refuses Atlantique 2001, to be held on Sept. 13 -
the eve of the 21st Atlantic Film Festival - will provide an opportunity for video and filmmakers, rejected by the Atlantic
Film Festival, to screen their work in Halifax.
There will be no official selection of work to be included in the
Salon line-up. Instead, the Salon will be "programmed" by randomly drawing submitted Atlantic Film Festival rejection letters
from a lottery. The pile of letters drawn at the end of the day will be the works to be screened at the Salon, taking place
at the Khyber Club.