Workprint — Autumn 2023


FILM 5: A cohort reflects


Grants, Screenings, Opportunities


FILM 5—AFCOOP’s annual creative development program for emerging Nova Scotia filmmakers—provides a unique blend of classroom instruction, mentorship from experienced filmmakers, and hands-on production experience for writers, directors, and producers. With the 2023 deadline coming up fast on September 22 (more info here), Workprint checked in with the 2022-23 teams now that they’ve completed the program.

A scene from Remnants.

Barrett Hooper (writer-director) & Kate Devlin (producer)

A piercing drama about a son struggling to connect with his widowed father and the cruel horrors of aging, illness, and dementia that haunt them both.

What did you think FILM 5 would be like going into the program?
Hard work. Challenging.

How would you describe FILM 5 now?
Hard work. Challenging. One of the most rewarding and exhilarating experiences of a lifetime.

What was your biggest shooting challenge?
Our location fell through two weeks before our shoot and it had already taken several months to find the perfect remote country house. Fortunately, we had a backup, although it was twice as far from Halifax, which made our night shoots a bit of a logistical nightmare, and it required re-envisioning some scenes and shots.

What’s one thing you could go back and tell your pre-FILM 5 self now that you’ve made the film?
Making a movie is even better than you imagined. And you’re going to make some wonderful friends.

How does the film you pitched compare to the film you finished?
Filmmaking is a collaborative process where (hopefully) the best idea wins, so it’s not surprising that Remnants resembles 65 percent of our original script yet far exceeds our vision. At every step, our mentors, our actors, our cinematographer, our production designer, our editor and sound designer—literally everyone involved—helped guide and shape our film. New, better ideas came from everywhere, during pre-production and rehearsals, during the shooting of scenes at midnight, and after long days and hours in the editing room. And we were grateful for all of them.

What’s next?
Remnants has already been submitted to several festivals and we were accepted into the inaugural AIFF Filmmaker Lab. We also have a second short film—a comedy, this time—that we shot this year and are planning a festival run. We also intend to shoot another short in early 2024 and are adapting Remnants as a feature script. Hopefully we’ll get to work with our incredible cast and crew again soon.

Emily Flynn (writer-director) & Chelsea Innes (producer)
Mello, Judd, & Tooth Floss

Mello and Judd make up stories for passersby as they eat lunch in their car.

What did you think FILM 5 would be like going into the program?
We had no idea what being in the FILM 5 program would be like, although we heard great things about it. We were pleasantly surprised by how extensive it was, and appreciated the immense support we got from Iain along the way!

How would you describe FILM 5 now?
FILM 5 is a great place for emerging filmmakers to learn and meet like minded peers. The mentorships and workshops are fantastic!

What was your biggest shooting challenge?
Our biggest shooting challenge was definitely the weather! It rained both days—they were exterior days. Shooting analogue had many of its own challenges as well!

What’s one thing you could go back and tell your pre-FILM 5 self now that you’ve made the film?
Chelsea: One thing I would tell my pre-FILM 5 self is to have the confidence to go for it! I've been wanting to make films with Flynn, and in general, for years. Sometimes working on set can somehow make that seem like more of a mountainous task than maybe if I wasn’t a film industry labourer by trade. It was hard to see myself as a producer when lugging around sandbags in the rain. Now that I’ve produced a film through FILM 5, I feel like I’ve gained the confidence, skill set and network to make more films—the reason I got into this industry in the first place.

Flynn: I would agree with Chelsea by telling myself just to go for it and I’d also remind myself that there’s no better time to do this. We had been bouncing ideas off of each other for years, but could never find the right time to sit and write, or execute a plan of action until we decided to pitch a FILM 5. I would tell myself that now is a good time.

How does the film you pitched compare to the film you finished?
The film we pitched is very similar to the film we ended up finishing. One difference is that we didn’t pitch this short thinking about shooting it on film—that was a suggestion that was made to us after being accepted into the program and we’re so glad it was suggested!

What’s next?
Mello, Judd, & Tooth Floss is undergoing festival and marketing strategy through AIFF’s Filmmakers Lab. With a good plan in place, the short film will have a great festival run! Emily Flynn and Chelsea Innes will continue to collaborate as creative partners under a soon-to-be-named production company, as well as individually. They continue to be passionate about storytelling and filmmaking and some new projects in the works.

Marley O'Brien (producer) & Violet Shoshanna Pask
The Score 97.9

A local Radio DJ is haunted by mysterious forces through her car radio.

What did you think FILM 5 would be like going into the program?
FILM 5 was recommended to us by friends who had participated in the program previously, so we had a general idea of what to expect. We anticipated lots of workshops and collaboration between the FILM 5 teams as well as with community members involved in film. We knew FILM 5 meant we’d have to work very closely as a team and we would have to spend a lot of time together. We also expected a lot of one-on-one meetings with industry professionals to help guide our production. In essence we were expecting a fast-paced learning environment with a lot of collaboration and hands-on learning.

How would you describe FILM 5 now?
Now that we’ve been through the program we realize many of our expectations were correct. It was indeed a fast-paced learning environment that had us meeting and working with dozen of our peers to create our film. We got so much critical feedback from other team members as well as industry professionals that were crucial in the development and success of our film. Not only did we make great connections with people in the industry, we also made a lot of friends. Because of our success working together as a producer/director duo, we will be continuing in the film world as close collaborators.

We would now describe FILM 5 as an incredible opportunity for ambitious hard-working new filmmakers who want to learn a lot very quickly. We would recommend FILM 5 not only as an excellent hands-on education, but also as a chance to express yourself as an artist.

What was your biggest shooting challenge?
Time and location. On both days of shooting, we had to compromise our shooting schedule to stay on track for a 12-hour day. Our brilliant 1st AD, Marie David, would remind us when we were dragging behind and would help us find the best way to get back on schedule. This did mean sacrificing a few takes and a few shots but it meant we got everything we actually needed.

At our second location, there was a loud building fan that would come on randomly and interrupt our shooting, so we once again had to be agile and flexible and rearrange our shooting schedule so we could still get all the shots we needed. Our flexible and resourceful crew were essential to us making it through our shoot without any major setbacks.

What’s one thing you could go back and tell your pre-FILM 5 self now that you’ve made the film?
If we could go back to the start of FILM 5 and give ourselves some advice, it would be not to underestimate ourselves and to trust our instincts. We were very capable of making it through the program successfully. We would also remind ourselves not to panic when we inevitably had a setback or got stuck because we had all the best resources at our disposal to overcome our obstacles.

How does the film you pitched compare to the film you finished?
Throughout the program the heart of our film stayed unchanged—the tones and thematic qualities we envisioned were in the final product. However many of the variables did shift in pre-and post-production. We added scenes to our script that helped bookend the film and give it the campy quality we wanted. We cut many of the production challenges we were able to flag during Phase One, such as the driving scenes and outdoor locations. During our rough-cut screening with the other teams, we got a ton of valuable feedback on how to streamline and better our final edit. This meant having to leave some gold on the cutting-room floor, but our film is absolutely better for it. Overall our finished film is more concise, clean and effective than the film we pitched.

What’s next?
The Score 97.9 will be playing at this year’s Atlantic International Film Festival in Halifax, and has been submitted to genre festivals around the world. We are hoping to get into a few more festivals before the end of the year. We work so well together as a team that we’ve already begun planning our next short films which we’d like to produce and direct together over the next few years. We are both interested in developing a wider range of skills in film production and try new roles, both above and below the line, as we progress as filmmakers.

Akshay Shirke (writer-director) & Sehmat Suri (producer)

Two immigrant women from India put their own spin on a Thanksgiving dinner while navigating the pressures of tradition.

What did you think FILM 5 would be like going into the program?
We weren’t expecting it to be as intense as it was. It really felt like film school in a year. Prior to the program, we had an awareness of how a film comes together from but now we have an understanding of it.

How would you describe FILM 5 now?
Intense! But so deeply rewarding at the same time. A blanket recommend to apply for any emerging filmmakers in Nova Scotia.

What was your biggest shooting challenge?
Having to make quick decisions when things didn’t go according to plan on set. In those moments, learning to stay calm and just trusting the absolutely phenomenal group of filmmakers around us (who, let’s face it, had a lot more experience than us) helped immensely.

What’s one thing you could go back and tell your pre-FILM 5 self now that you've made the film?
“If you have access to your location in pre-production and can spare the resources, try to take a few days to block, rehearse and plan your shots with your actors, in the space, before you go to camera. Also just remember to breathe when you’re in the thick of it. Everything will be fine.”



All Atlantic International Film Festival screenings take place at Park Lane Cinemas and online via

Saturday, September 16, 11am: William D. MacGillivray’s Life Classes screens as part of AIFF’s Classics/Restored series. (tickets)

Sunday, September 17, 3pm: The FILM 5 project Entrée (Akshay Shirke and Sehmat Suri) screens as part of Shorts Programme 3 (tickets)

Monday, September 18, 6pm: The world premiere of Celestial Queer: The Life, Work and Wonder of James MacSwain featuring a Q&A with Jim and directors Eryn Foster and Sue Johnson (tickets)

Tuesday, September 19, 8:30pm: The FILM 5 project The Score 97.9 (Violet Shoshana Pask and Marley O’Brien) screens as part of Shorts Programme 5 (tickets)

Wednesday, September 20, 4pm: AFCOOP’s Filmmakers Party at the office!(Moved from its original date of Sep 17 due to weather.)



Telefilm Development Program deadline: October 10
Screenwriters Development Fund deadline: October 20

Arts Nova Scotia deadlines:

Canada Council for the Arts deadlines:


The Fruit Machine (Sarah Fodey, 2018): September 19, 7pm at the Halifax Central Library. The homosexual witch-hunt of public servants and military personnel in Canada from the 1950s through the early 1990s and its effects on the people whose lives and careers were disrupted or destroyed by it. Followed by a panel discussion. Free and streaming live.

Thrillema presents: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Philip Kaufman, 1978): September 28, 730pm at the Museum of Natural History. When strange seeds drift to earth from space, mysterious pods begin to grow and invade.

Terror Vision presents: Trick ‘R Treat (Michael Dougherty, 2007): October 25, 7pm at Cineplex Lower Sackville. Five interwoven stories that occur on Halloween: an everyday high school principal has a secret life as a serial killer; a college virgin might have just met the guy for her; a group of teenagers pull a mean prank; a woman who loathes the night has to contend with her holiday-obsessed husband; and a mean old man meets his match with a demonic, supernatural trick-or-treater.

AFCOOP’s fall workshop list will be released in the coming weeks!

For work opportunities, check out AFCOOP's Filmmakers Job Board HERE!

ABOUT AFCOOP: Established in 1974 the Atlantic Filmmakers Cooperative (AFCOOP) is a non-profit community organization dedicated to supporting the production and presentation of independent film and moving image-based work in a collaborative, learning environment.

AFCOOP acknowledges that we are located and operate in Kjipuktuk, in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaw People. This territory is covered by the “Treaties of Peace and Friendship” which Mi’kmaw, Wəlastəkwiyik (Maliseet), and Passamaquoddy Peoples first signed with the British Crown in 1726. The treaties did not deal with surrender of lands and resources but in fact recognized Mi’kmaw and Wəlastəkwiyik (Maliseet) title and established the rules for what was to be an ongoing relationship between nations. We are all treaty people.

AFCOOP operates with generous support from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Province of Nova Scotia and the City of Halifax.