The Volunteer Spotlight series highlights FIN’s most valuable resource: its dedicated community of volunteers and their role in making FIN Atlantic International Film Festival the premier event it is today. Our volunteers are incredibly diverse and from all walks of life:  young, old, bankers, medical professionals, bus drivers, actors, retired, or current students. 



Check out all these amazing volunteers!










Nadine: What is your day job?

Caitlyn: I work at Admiral Insurance in the Renewals Department as a Customer Service Rep, doing policy renewals for car insurance. 


N: How did you get involved with FIN? How long have you been a volunteer?

C: I always was interested in volunteering for FIN. I went online in July about five years ago and applied and rolled with it. I was funny because, when they had their old building, I strolled into the festival office and just said, “I'm here to help, what have you got?”


N: What is your favourite FIN Atlantic International Film Festival memory?

C: My favourite Festival memory would have to be the closing night gala about two years ago; it had such an incredible energy. It was the first year we started using the FIN brand. Everyone was so excited. After being up in the Transport office, it was so incredible to be able to join the people I had been working with and speaking with over the phone.

Also, being able to do a tech review for the shorts program last year. I was just me in the theatre during the entire program, making sure all the audio and video were in sync.


N: What part of the film festival would you recommend to a first-time festival goer?

C: I would definitely recommend checking out the shorts programs to a first-time festival goer, because you're getting a straight shot of what the festival is all about.


N: What do you most look forward to every year at FIN?

C: I look forward to the Atlantic gala feature, the film from right here on our doorstep. One of our own, Mr. Craig Cameron, had the Atlantic feature a few years ago [as producer of Michael Melski’s THE CHILD REMAINS].


N: What is your favourite film?

C: One that I always kind of come back to, that I haven't been able to find since I saw it at the Calgary International Film Festival 10 years ago, called SOIS SAGE, a French film. One of those psychological films—like, it gets its hooks in you and kind of pulls you every which way until you get to the climax point and your mind is blown. It was the director’s first feature-length film and she just pulled it off so well. I’ve been looking for this movie for 10 years and still haven't been able to find it.  


N: What is your favourite movie snack?

I would have to say OMG’s, the chocolate gram clusters, otherwise known as Clodhoppers. It's such a fun alternative to popcorn. Of course popcorn is the iconic; everyone loves it!







Nadine: What’s your day job?

Logan: I’m a PhD candidate at Dalhousie University, and I also work part-time with the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness.


N: What’s your PhD area?

L: It’s around health policy and policy capacity—so, how we can make health policies more successful.


N: It makes sense that you’re working with the Department of Health and Wellness, then! What do you do there?

L: I work in primary care policy, trying to figure out how Nova Scotians can get better primary health care services.


N: How did you get involved with FIN?

L: I’ve always loved movies! I can’t remember if I just heard an ad or saw posters for it. I think I probably went to the Festival first just to watch movies and then saw volunteers and chatted with a few people. And things kind of snowballed from there. I think it was probably 2012 or 2013, right when I first moved out to Nova Scotia.


N: And you volunteer with our social media team now?

L: The first year I was just a general volunteer. That was fun! I enjoyed being a greeter and directing people around, and I saw that it was more than just the movies; it was this bigger festival experience. I had no idea that it was also delegates from the film industry and local talent. There was just so much else going on! I can’t remember how exactly I got connected with the social media team, but I kind of fit the bill of young and used to social media… so I’ve been doing stuff with the social media team ever since.


N: What is your favourite FIN Atlantic International Film Festival memory?

L: There was a movie called THE TRIBE. It was a movie out of the Ukraine, I believe, that was done entirely in sign language. So there was no talking, no subtitles, just the movie. That in and of itself was a really profound movie experience; you’re able to follow along and realize we don’t actually need talking and dialogue as much as we think we do. But it was also a very, very powerful movie. I actually ended up fainting during it.


N: Oh my!

L: Yeah. Jason Beaudry [FIN Program Director] had even done a disclaimer at the beginning to say just so everyone knows, this is not a PG-13 movie. It told the story of a bunch of people living at a school for the deaf and hard of hearing in the Ukraine. Parts of it were quite graphic. My friend was like, “Are you okay?” and I was kind of slumped in my seat. I actually passed out during a movie! Now when I read about something screening at Cannes and people fainting… I have been someone who has fainted at a screening at a film festival! It was an amazing movie, an amazing movie experience.


N: So you still enjoyed it?

L: Oh, absolutely! It’s not too often that you’re really, really affected by art. I mean, we’re constantly being inundated with media. The Festival, to me, it gives permission to be there for the movie, and just the movie. It’s usually a really respectful crowd.

At the same time, I’ve had other great experiences. Last year, there was a movie out of PEI, POGEY BEACH. What a blast! You had the entire film community come out, people drove from the Island to go to it, a bunch of the actors and the crew were there. It was so, so cool! And that’s the other side of the Festival.


N: But again, you have everyone focused and in it together!

L: And rooting for it!


N: What part of the film festival would you recommend to a first-time festival goer?

L: Oh, you’ve got to go see movies! Just see something! I think the Festival really does have something for everyone. Every year, my biggest challenge is figuring out what I’m going to see, getting a program guide, looking at what I’ve heard of, what I recognize, what sounds good—but also leaving room for the random, the unexpected. You know, like the shorts programs. I’d never really been exposed to short films before, and they do such a good job of showcasing local, Atlantic Canadian content. It’s cool, too, because it really challenges budding filmmakers, usually, who are working with a smaller production budget, to do something impactful both emotionally as well as from a production standpoint.

There’s plenty of stuff that, if I hadn’t seen at the Festival, I would never have seen. Like, a few years ago I saw Xavier Dolan’s MOMMY—and it was fantastic. Here’s this Canadian director that I’d heard so much about. I can find a bunch of his movies at the library, but if I hadn’t known to go look for them….

I don’t have enough good things to say about the Festival!


N: What do you most look forward to every year at FIN?

L: Oh, going to see the movies! I mean, I love volunteering, I love supporting the broader Festival, and it’s great to support some of the big parties. I think that every year, the opening night and closing night parties, they’re in different locations, there’s different themes, there’s always something special about them. It never feels stale; every year they do a really good job. So I guess I do look forward to the parties as well! It’s just neat.


N: What’s your favourite film?

L: I think that one of the first movies that really opened my mind to what movies could do was FIGHT CLUB. It just did so many things that I’d never seen before. And [Gaspard Noé’s] CLIMAX is another example; I didn’t really know that movies could do that.

I love the film fest for exposing me to new ways of using that kind of medium. I think that one of the things that I love about the Festival is that it’s gotten me thinking more broadly about film as an industry. So now I’m more critical—not in a negative way, but in a discerning way—when I watch movies. I’m more aware of the elements that go into it.


N: What’s your favourite movie snack?

L: Oh, I love popcorn! Movie, buttery popcorn, usually with some kind of flavouring on it.









Nadine: What is your day job?

Andrea: I work for the QEII Foundation. I’m a data administration officer. I work with all of our data: keeping it clean, importing, exporting, managing data.



N: How did you get involved with FIN? How long have you been a volunteer?

A: Well, with the Foundation, we’ve had lots of events to raise money, so I started volunteering as part of my job, and I really enjoy being involved with events. Then I thought, why don’t I take this outside of my work and volunteer with other things that I enjoy?

Last year was just my second year at FIN. It was sort of a recent revelation that came to me one day! I’ve attended festivals outside of work as an attendee and I know—because of my background—what’s required to make something run. It’s sort of two-fold, because I get to be involved in the event, but I have a role, so I’m going and enjoying it, but I’m also helping people enjoy their passion.



N: What is your favourite FIN Atlantic International Film Festival memory?

A: I think Gord Downie’s brother Mike Downie’s movie, FINDING THE SECRET PATH.

When he was there previewing his movie and talking about it, it was just very heartfelt and emotional. I really like hearing from the people involved before the movie, just to get their insight and to know where they’re coming from. That one was like, “I’ve got to tell everybody to watch this!”



N: What part of the film festival would you recommend to a first-time festival goer?

A: For me, it’s the watching, the getting to see the movies! Take in as many as you can!

For volunteering, I liked volunteering at the tickets, getting the tickets and seeing people, or being a greeter. Everyone’s excited and in a good mood when they come to see the movies!



N: My next question is kind of related. What do you most look forward to every year at FIN?

A: Volunteering again! I don’t like to do things solo, so for me it’s volunteering so that I can experience not only the movies but also being around where people are happy and excited, being part of that! I’m looking forward to the experience more so than any particular part of it.



N: What is your favourite film?

A: It would be DIRTY DANCING. I know it’s not the most theatrical or cinematic. Cinematically, I really like CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON. It was really beautifully done. But I will watch DIRTY DANCING like once a year!



N: Do your kids watch it with you?

A: My oldest watched it without me; she watched it at a sleepover and I was so disappointed! So then with my 15yo, last year, I thought I’d start her early, but she had no interest! She thought it was old, it was boring! So I watched it by myself! I think it’s more because it brings up the nostalgia of when I was in junior high and watched it every day with my friend.



N: What’s your favourite movie snack?

A: Mmm… I don’t want to be typical and say popcorn. We’ll frequently not get popcorn when we go to the movies. So I usually like to have M&M peanuts: you get a little chocolate, a little crunch.











Nadine: What is your day job?

Michael: I work for Nova Scotia Power in the IT department, as a Business Systems Analyst. I was a consultant for many years, and a lot of times, when I was off work, I would volunteer at the Festival. It worked out great for me because it filled my time.

I started my IT career when I was hired fresh out of school for the Y2K scare in ’99. I was hired in Ottawa, worked there for five and a half years, and ended up with an opportunity to move home to Halifax.



N: How did you get involved with FIN? How long have you been a volunteer?

M: I think it was Events Nova Scotia—it was a profile that I had, and they sent emails to the distribution list to gain interest in volunteerism. At that point, the Festival was using that profile, and I responded. I love movies—I’m a huge movie buff, so it made sense for me to volunteer at the Festival. And then, when I got to the Festival, I was like, yeah, I’m never leaving! I ended up through the summer doing the Outdoor Film Experience [now FIN Outdoor] and I did the youth festival [now FIN Kids]. There was one year I literally was full-time volunteering at FIN!



N: I’m sure they appreciated it!

M: It’s so fun that I can’t imagine myself not doing it.



N: From all those years, then, could you identify your favourite FIN Atlantic International Film Festival memory?

M: There was one Festival, I was standing at the door waiting to scan tickets, and all of a sudden this person comes around the corner with a big huge spotlight. It was the year that the movie DANNY featured, about Danny Williams, the premier of Newfoundland—and he comes around the corner. It was so cool, because he had an entourage and everything, and the cameras were all on him.

And the time I met Jason Priestley. I didn’t even know he was there; I just finished managing a theatre, closed it, came out, all of a sudden I turn, there’s Jason Priestley. I went up and said hi, and he thanked me for volunteering, that sort of thing.

I could go on and on about examples because you never know what happens at the Festival, you never know who you’re going to meet. The one thing I find amazing about the Festival is you could be watching a film, see an actor, and then literally the movie ends and you see them in the audience. Or you go to the next cinema, and they’re sitting beside you as a fan.



N: What part of the film festival would you recommend to a first-time festival goer or volunteer?

M: The front of house—being the ticket scanners and theatre managers—is really the best place to be as a volunteer because you get to see everyone. Being there, scanning tickets, managing theatres, going from theatre to theatre, you end up seeing a larger amount of people and you engage with more people than being in any specific location for the entire time. I find the front of house is the best department for that exposure to the Festival participants, the directors, and even the public. I’ve run into so many people!

You get to see the popularity of the Festival when you’re front of house because you literally see people lining up to see a movie, it’s so popular, and you’re the one doing crowd control. You get a sense of how successful the Festival is for that particular year. Without even looking at the statistics, you can tell that every cinema is filled up. It is chaos, but it’s good chaos because it gives us the sense that we’re doing the right thing, because it’s popular.



N: What do you most look forward to every year at FIN?

M: I look forward to the participants because I like to make sure that people have a good time. When I see the smiles on their faces, that provides me with what I want out of the Festival.

The odd part is, I enjoy the movies—but I don’t specifically seek out the movies. I’ve seen some pretty good movies accidentally. One time, I was managing a theatre and I got switched to another theatre. I ended up in a cinema with the movie BROOKLYN. It was based in New York in the 1930s. It’s about an Irish girl who came over, and the story was amazing! I would have missed the entire movie had I not switched cinemas and accidentally seen the movie. I like that kind of unknown—the unknown jewels that are within the Festival.



N: This is a common theme as I talk to people who go to the festival! People say they’ve seen things they wouldn’t have picked, but that end up being great. It says something about the power of cinema, and also about “not judging a book by its cover.”

M: Like MOONLIGHT. I ended up seeing it twice. And MAUDIE was another one that I got to see at the theatre. I appreciated the fact that I got to see it because I talked about it to other people and they ended up going to the cinema to see it. One thing I also like about the Festival is getting to see movies for free as a volunteer. That is an amazing perk!



N: My next question is my favourite question to ask: what is your favourite film?

M: I don’t want to do any other films a disservice by not selecting them as my favourite movie, but I do tend to go back to the movie BROOKLYN. It was an amazing movie. I’ve got this thing about New York, I love movies set in New York. And it was back in the 30s; I like that era. It was such a simple movie. It wasn’t action-adventure, it wasn’t a really a love story, but it was kind of. It was just an immigrant moving to New York and trying to make her way in the big city and finding love. I think I did shed a tear, I think I did laugh, and I think I did smile. I would have to pick that as my favourite movie currently, though that will probably change.



N: Last question! What’s your favourite movie snack?

M:  Oh, it would have to be popcorn, obviously. I do get the popcorn with the fake butter and the fountain pop. The fountain pop is unhealthy, the fake butter is unhealthy, but it doesn’t matter, because when you’re at the theatre you do it anyway!











Nadine: What is your day job?

Renata: I’m a biologist by training, and I recently got my first job in Halifax in my field. I’m working as an environmental assessment officer. For example, if you have a mining company that wants to start operating in Nova Scotia, they have to meet a series of environmental criteria, and they submit a document outlining the project description, the measures they’ll do to protect the environment. We assess this to see if it’s viable or not.

Humberto: I’m a character animator, and I work in an animation studio called Copernicus Studios. We’re working on several projects for clients like Disney and Cartoon Network. I’m now working on a project for Boomerang: it’s Care Bears. It’s a very nice project! Before coming here, I had ten years of experience as an animator in Brazil.



N: You’ve only been here two years, is that right?

R: Yes.



N: And you’re both from Brazil?

H & R: Yes.

H: It’s been a lot of fun, being in Halifax, doing animation.



N: So how do you find the weather here?

H: Oh, very good! (laughs)

R: It’s getting better! We moved here in January, so when the plane was landing, I looked at Humberto and said, “What are we doing here?!” Everything was covered in snow. But at least that was the worst winter that we had.



N: How did you get involved with FIN? How long have you been a volunteer?

R: It was my idea! I remember that a friend of mine posted on Facebook that she was interested in watching a movie because she knew the director, and she invited me to go. And then, I started learning about the festival. It was our first year here, so I was trying to get more involved in the community. And because I love movies, I thought, “I’ll try to volunteer with them.” And then, I invited Humberto!



N: So that was 2017?

R: Yes.

H: A very good festival!

R: Yeah, we watched a lot of movies.



N: What is your favourite FIN Atlantic International Film Festival memory?

R: Last festival, I went to one of the shorts. And usually, you have the directors and some of the actors there. When they called one of the directors, the name sounded Brazilian: Danilo Baracho, if I’m not mistaken. When he started explaining the movie, I thought, “Oh, this is a Brazilian accent.” And then, at the end of the movie, I had the opportunity to chat with him: he’d recently moved to PEI, he made a short there [Bill’s Bills], and it was the premiere at the Festival! It was a really touching story, but at the same time funny. Speaking as a newcomer, it’s really nice when you see different cultures be involved in an industry that you appreciate. It was a really good surprise!

H: For me, because I like animation, it was an animation I watched last year, a Japanese anime [Mirai]. It wasn’t a blockbuster, it was more independent, about a family, from the point of view of a child.



N: Was it something that you wouldn’t have been able to see otherwise?

H: Yeah, it is a kind of movie I was not going to watch—but then I watched it and I enjoyed it a lot!



N: What part of the film festival would you recommend to a first-time festival goer?

H: I recommend that they be a volunteer! (laughs)



N: Haha! You get a gold star! And you, Renata?

R: I agree with him, because you get to know more about the people involved and about the movies. You always have the opportunity to chat with people who already watched the movie. “Do you recommend this? What is going on now?”



N: So you get more of the buzz.

R: Exactly. You are involved. The culture of volunteering, it’s something really powerful. It’s an opportunity for you to enjoy the movies, the festival itself, and also an opportunity to get involved in something that is really important—an important value for the community in Halifax.



N: What do you most look forward to every year at FIN?

H: Watching the movies! You can chat about movies. It’s pretty interesting.

R: With FIN, you take over Park Lane. It’s easy for people to get there and watch movies that are more unique, for example smaller productions like the shorts. It’s a good opportunity to see this kind of movie, because during the year, you don’t have many opportunities.



N: What is your favourite film?

H: I consume a lot of Japanese animation. I like SPIRITED AWAY; it’s from Studio Ghibli in Tokyo. It’s very good. For me, it’s one of the best animations because the script, the story itself, is very good. It’s like Alice in Wonderland, but in a Japanese way. She goes to another universe.

R: I’m going to name one that’s a classic movie. I’ve watched it more than ten times: it’s GONE WITH THE WIND. It’s pretty classic, it’s pretty romantic, but it’s something that I used to watch with my aunt and my mother, so it has this emotional component as well. But it’s so hard to pick only one!



N: Well, hopefully this is an easier question. What is your favourite movie snack?

R: Popcorn.

H: Popcorn, yeah!









Nadine: What is your day job?

Cathy: I’m retired now, but I worked with curriculum at the school board for a number of years, and my background is also English teaching and student services.

I was curriculum consultant for courses from primary to grade 12, though my concentration was more grades 9 to 12. So I did that, and I was the liaison with public health, with the youth health centres. All of our senior highs and some of our junior highs have a youth health centre in them that’s staffed by somebody from public health. Then, I was a healthy living leader with the board. And then I worked with technology education. Over the years, I’ve had several different portfolios. And that was the joy of my job. A lot of different things!



N: How did you get involved with FIN? How long have you been a volunteer?

C: I came on, probably around 2005, to replace someone who was leaving what’s now the FIN Kids Teachers Advisory Committee. Because of my curriculum connections, I could see where films would fit with the curriculum. So that’s how I got started, and then I really enjoyed it. I loved the people; we’d argue around that table—we’re all very passionate! And then, gradually, I got more and more involved with the festival generally, especially when I retired. I think I did a couple of nights at the outdoor films. Last year I got more involved with it.



N: What is your favourite FIN Atlantic International Film Festival memory?

C: Well, to tell you the truth, there hasn’t been any one specific thing, but I have to say I really love working with people. I’ve been able to make connections with people, so, when I go somewhere to do something with FIN, I know everybody! So it’s not anything specific as much as it is just being with the people; I’m there for human connection.



N: What part of the film festival would you recommend to a first-time festival goer?

C: Get to the movies early! I would really suggest that you download the program because that really keeps you straight and you can cross-reference.



N: So you should really plan out your movie watching?

C: That’s right.



N: What do you most look forward to every year at FIN?

C: The social aspect, the energy! You get this feeling that there’s really something going on, and you can see it throughout the city, too—there’s SOMETHING going on here! I really love that whole thing.



N: What is your favourite film?

C: You know what, a film that’s probably not well heard of that I’ve watched two or three times at least, and that I’ve wanted to go back and watch, is A GHOST STORY with Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara. He plays a ghost with a sheet over his head; it’s a love story. At first, when it started, I thought, “What is this?”—especially when he comes out with a sheet on. But I decided to hang in with the film, and I really connected emotionally with it. He’s obviously a big man, covered with a sheet, but even with that, the sheet had emotion to it: you could see the shoulders slump, you could see him struggling with things. I won’t give too much away, but he goes to different points in time historically, and it kind of shows how he and his wife have been connected through the ages. It really is a magnificent movie.

My other favourite one is DREAM GIRLS. That’s another one—I could watch that so many times.



N: What is your favourite movie snack?

C: Oh, popcorn and chocolate! I try to stick with just the popcorn, but, you know, the chocolate does make it sweet. But popcorn’s my biggest, for sure.









Nadine: What is your day job?

Liz: I work as a licensed real estate assistant at Royal LePage Atlantic. I work for a couple of awesome ladies in a group and basically do all their marketing and deal processing. I’m the back-end, the magic behind the curtain.



N: I like that! It applies to your role at the film festival too.

How did you get involved with FIN? How long have you been a volunteer?

L: I moved to Halifax almost five years ago. I got here at the beginning of September, I didn’t really know anyone and I didn’t have a job, so I needed something to do without spending money. I was broke and I was bored! I’d just traveled across the country: I bought a cheap old car and I drove it all the way [from British Columbia] to Saint John’s, Newfoundland and then back-tracked here. I highly recommend it to anyone!


N: What is your favourite FIN Atlantic International Film Festival memory?

L: Well, it’s kind of a silly memory. I think it was my second year. I’d gone on a date with a guy and then, a few days later, I ended up accidentally running into him and his parents while I was scanning tickets into Theatre 8. And… that guy is now my fiancé!


N: That’s not silly; that’s so cute!

L: I mean, there are so many good moments. You meet some really interesting people and they turn into really good friends.


N: What part of the film festival would you recommend to a first-time festival goer?

L: The whole thing, really. Try to see as many films as you can. If you have time, go see whatever, even if it doesn’t look like something you’d usually see. You never know—it could be the best film you’ve ever seen. Just try it!


N: What do you most look forward to every year at FIN?

L: Wearing the headsets! It makes me feel important.


N: Ha, I love that answer!

L: When else do you get to wear a headset with a little microphone on it and tell people what’s going on?!


N: What is your favourite film?

L: I haven’t watched it in a while, but I really love SEABISCUIT. The acting’s great, the story’s great, the way they filmed it is just beautiful. And I like horses!


N: What is your favourite movie snack?

L: I have a love-hate relationship with popcorn. I’ll eat the whole bag. It’s a problem. But I don’t usually get popcorn when I’m volunteering!










Nadine: What is your day job?

Tina: I work for Turner Drake & Partners Ltd. They specialize in commercial real estate. My official title is VP Finance. I do the books is what it comes down to!


N: How did you get involved with FIN? How long have you been a volunteer?

T: I had actually volunteered with FIN quite a few years ago, maybe 10 or 15 years ago—ticket scanning and info booth, that kind of thing. Then, about 3 or 4 years ago, someone I know through Hal-Con put out a call because, at the time, she was also doing contract work with FIN and they needed last-minute volunteers. I’ve been with them ever since!


N: What is your favourite FIN Atlantic International Film Festival memory?

T: That’s easy! My second year, they nominated me for volunteer of the week, through CTV. So I got an award; it was very lovely of them to do that.


N: So you were on the news?

T: Yeah! They came in with a camera, they interviewed a couple of my fellow volunteers, they interviewed me and filmed me doing the theatre manager job I was doing at the time. That’s probably my best one so far!


N: What part of FIN would you recommend to a first-time Festival goer?

T: I would have to say the galas. If they can get to a gala, those are always number-one, high-traffic; you’re guaranteed to really enjoy it.


N: That’s where you get the glamour of the Festival!

T: Yeah, as if you were at TIFF or in Cannes!


N: What do you most look forward to every year at FIN?

T: You know what, it’s reconnecting with the other volunteers, because it tends to be a lot of the same people from year to year and sometimes you only see them once or twice a year. You might see them on the bus or passing through, and you see them at the Festival. They’re people that I don’t get to see much but have great relationships with otherwise.


N: What is your favourite film?

T: Umm… I’ll qualify it: my favourite film to date that’s been in the Film Fest was SECRET PATH. It was the documentary done by Gord Downie’s brother. It’s like a multi-media presentation from Gord Downie—I think they actually did it here at the Rebecca Cohn. So there’s a book, there’s the performance he did. They set his poems to music, and… it’s very emotional. Bring your Kleenex when you watch it!


N: What is your favourite movie snack?

T: Popcorn! Of course popcorn!









(Liz has been volunteering at FIN for about ten years and is that killer combo of volunteer who takes on front of house at events and as a driver! Her love of film is evident and always makes sure that she sees quite a few!)


Cydney: What is your day job?

Liz: I am and office administrator for an electrical contracting company in Burnside. I do payroll, account payable/receivable, answer phones and whatever else comes up?


C: How did you get involved with FIN? How long have you been a volunteer?

L: A friend mentioned it and I was in between jobs at the time. I love film and had lots of spare time, so I applied! I believe that was 2006 and I haven’t missed a year, so that would make this my 13th year!


C: What keeps bringing you back year after year?

L: There are so may reasons! The chance to see films that don’t usually come to the regular cinemas, get re-acquainted with fellow volunteers, see a side of the film world that the general public doesn’t see, and meet some very interesting people.


C: Why do you volunteer, generally?

L: The chance to see things I might not be able to see if I had to buy a ticket is one reason, but there is so much more. You get to meet people you might not otherwise; you feel that you have made a difference, helped in some way. You feel appreciation and get to a side of things that you wouldn’t by buying a ticket. I also enjoy the camaraderie of working with other volunteers and staff. I am an empty nester and am often alone at my office, so being around so many other people is a good change.


C: What is your favourite FIN Atlantic International Film Festival memory?

L: That is so hard [to answer], but I will have to say it was running into Ron Hynes outside the theatre before his documentary THE MAN OF A THOUSAND SONGS and helping him get a candy out of a vending machine. It cost a toonie and he was trying to use a quarter! I also really enjoyed finding about his earlier life in the film.


C: What is your favourite film?

L: I’ve seen a lot of films, but GHOST still gives me chills. Such love!


C: What is your favourite movie snack?

L: That would have to be popcorn!







(Maj is a former bus driver and awesome member of the transport team. He wears some great shirts, always has a big smile, and is an invaluable part of our volunteers!)


Amy: What is your day job?

Maj: I drove [the Halifax Transit bus] for one year, but then I got supervisor… I’m an on-the-road supervisor… I’m the one that looks like the cop car. They call me for accidents, passenger disputes, anything pretty much on the road that will affect the route of the bus which can be a LOT of stuff.


A: How long have you been volunteering with FIN?

M: This year will be 4 years.


A: How did you first get involved with FIN?

M: I’m into arts, so I do videography.


A: So did you hear about it through the community?

M: Yeah!


A: Why do you think it’s important to volunteer?

M: To me, I think just going out to helping people out is not about the money, for me it’s not about the money… I don’t need to get paid, I enjoy the work. I even took, the FIN days that it’s running, I took vacation then... It’s a staycation and I’m having fun! Volunteering is always important… once I came back to Halifax and I started doing this [FIN AIFF] and that’s the one [volunteer] thing I do.


A: What part of FIN would you recommend to someone who’s never gone before?

M: Pretty much just come out to the movies! Funny thing is, since I’ve been doing this, I’ve never watched one movie! I never have time – I literally just volunteer, volunteer, volunteer. I never have time to watch any – not one movie! I gave away all the passes! My biggest thing for me, it’s meeting people and socializing.


A: Do you have a favourite film, or movie that’s close to your heart?

M: THE GODFATHER. I’ve watched that movie, geez, how many times have I watched The Godfather? I never get tired of it. And when I watch it, I sit down and watch One, two and three straight.


A: Why do you like it so much?

M: It’s just really well-made. For something that’s so long, to keep your interest for that long? Amazing.


A: What’s your favourite movie snack?

M: Definitely not popcorn! I’m not a fan of popcorn, it gets stuck in my teeth. I’d have to say… I don’t really eat snacks! It’s so noisy and kinda distracts you from the movie.









(Bernie is a FIN volunteer driver and has been with us for at least four or five years. His quiet demeanor, knowledge of the city and friendly disposition makes him a wonderful ambassador for FIN and the city, welcoming guests from around the world. He always has a kind word and is eager to help make the FIN Transport Team the best it can be.)


Amy: What is your “day job,” what you do when you’re not volunteering?

Bernie: I am retired! I retired in 2010. I was working with the credit union system of Nova Scotia, primarily as an analyst, which basically means you interact with credit unions, monitor them, if there’s any issues, give them advice, correct any weaknesses, give us benchmarks, follow the benchmarks, when they meet them, we go away. That bit was my role up until 2010, when I retired early. I’m now doing contract work with the same system. I help them do audits of credit unions in the province, about eith months of the year, I work about two weeks a month. It’s a nice blend. It’s sort of a dream job, because you get lots of time off and I don’t work, generally speaking, from mid-June to about the end of September. I have a lot of outdoor interests, mostly summer related. It gives me opportunity to do that.


A: And when you’re not doing that, you’re driving trains! That is the life, I think.

B: Well, actually, you know, that all came about through volunteering!...


A: So, how long have you been volunteering with FIN?

B: I only started three years ago, actually. It all started – I didn’t do a lot of volunteering up until 3 years ago. It started with the Rotary Rib Fest. I’m not a Rotarian but I know one, and they can’t possibly put that on without a lot of outside help and so she asked me if I would be able to volunteer and I said sure. I volunteered, and I thought, “I like this!” So, I started looking at other festivals and putting my name in. The Jazz Festival came up and I put my name in, then the Film Festival came up and I put my name in, and so it just kind of evolved from that.


A: Did you go to the Festival previously before volunteering, or have you just seen the Festival from the volunteer view?

B: I’ve got to admit I haven’t been to the festival, but I have been taking advantage of the perks. I have been going, these screenings – the advance screenings, I went to the last one.


A: If you were suggesting things for someone new to the Festival, what would you suggest that they check out?

B: I think that if they can take in a gala. Unfortunately, that part isn’t normally included in the perks. That definitely would be one, people would appreciate that. There’s such a variety of films offered – I really enjoy the short films because it’s a variety pack…. It’s really rewarding to go to it [the Festival], particularly when it’s here in Halifax.


A: Do you have a favourite film?

B: You know, actually one that I saw here! REMEMBER with Christopher Plummer.


A: What’s the most memorable moment you’ve had while volunteering with FIN?

B: I had a moving experience. The moving experience was the appreciation film last year was [Gord] Downey, LONG TIME RUNNING. And, I looked around and people… [a man] was bawling, tears streaming down his face, so emotional! I think that’s what sticks out in my mind when you ask me, the emotional impact that film had on some of the volunteers.


A: What’s your favourite movie snack?

B: You know what it is? Whatever I can sneak in! I’ll go to Shopper’s and put licorice nibs in once side and Goodies in the other.









Cydney: What’s your day job?

Anne: I’m retired… I worked for the Federal Government for 38 years for the Department of National Defence (DND)… civilian. And I retired 9 years ago. I hate to say it [laughs] but I work full time for Brian, my son. He has Autism, so between looking for work for him, plus he has a business… got him started three years ago, so between managing his business, managing him, managing everything else about him, updating notes on a constant daily basis. I say, I’m working harder now than when I worked!


C: So how did you start volunteering with FIN?

A: A lady who lives across the street… she volunteers for quite a few things. She told me one day about it, so I applied and I’ve been here since! I think this is my sixth year, I believe. I believe, six or seven, I’ve lost count now, I should have kept count.


C: What do you look forward to the most every year at FIN?

A: Well first of all, meeting the same people; a lot of the people who volunteer come back year after year like myself. So, and you bond with them in other ways. Like sometimes to bond with them outside of the festival. I love the employees of the festival, they’re the greatest people. Last year I volunteered with the Tall Ships and that was fine and dandy, and I volunteer here and there. But I really find I feel like part of a family, you know that you belong. That really is a great feeling. Compared to [volunteering with other organizations]. Yes, they appreciated what you did but you went home and that was it. And I feel like with the contact with FIN over the whole year makes it even better.

I volunteered starting in the church over there when I was 14, I was in the kitchen with my mother. And I just, volunteering, you always get back 8 times more than that you give, and again you meet new people over and over again. It’s just a wonderful experience all the way around. I’m so glad, you know, just like everything else you think ‘oh why didn’t I do this sooner?’ but there’s a time and place for everything and it was the time.


C: What is your most memorable memory from your time volunteering with FIN?

A: I would think, and I’m just looking back, the first year because I didn’t know what to expect. But you know, Rose was very welcoming and that was good and she made me feel very good. Wayne, even though I didn’t know him at the time, again, like again, he spoke to me which made me think, ‘Wow, you know, I’m not just a nobody.’ The first year stands out because I was timid and shy and didn’t know what to expect – I’m not a shy person, but you know, embarking on something new, you’re kind of set back. So after like, the second year, I was looking forward to it because… I love meeting people, I’m a very social person. I like meeting new people and getting to know them and working with them. Again, you bond with them. So, its just a great feeling.


C: What is your favourite film?

A: My favourite genre is comedy, so anything to do with comedy I love… you see some good ones, you see some bad ones. What I like about the festival is you get the [program], so you can pick and choose.


C: What is your favourite movie snack?

A: I’m a chipaholic! So it would probably be nachos and cheese.








Cydney: What is your day job? What do you do when you’re not volunteering with FIN?

Margaret: Oh, I’m retired, but I’m very active! I volunteer one day a week at the Dartmouth Seniors Centre, more if they need me. I work in the canteen, which is like the heart of the recreation room. I do that, I do water aerobics… I travel a lot, I’ve been down to New York already twice this year! I’m always on the go. Before I retired I worked for Nova Scotia Power. That was an awesome job, because NSP is one of our bigger employers and they provide a lot of opportunities for the people of Nova Scotia.


C: How long have you been volunteer with FIN?

M: I’m going to say 8 or 10 years. I love it. I mean, FIN treats their volunteers so well. There’s a lot of opportunities to meet a lot of people. There’s different roles you can participate in. I [have] different roles [each year], it’s just a win-win. I meet so many wonderful people.


C: How did you get involved with FIN?

M: I just saw an advertisement and I like films; I like the idea of bringing these opportunities into Halifax. We have all these actors coming in, and all these movies coming in. So I like that idea.


C: Why do you volunteer in general?

M: It’s a win-win. I feel good about it, I feel useful, I meet new people, I’m helping other people – it’s just a win-win. It keeps me young, it keeps me healthy, I’m always up for something new. It’s just what I do.


C: What part of FIN AIFF would you recommend to a newbie?

M: I believe that it’s all so awesome. One year I was at the Lord Nelson and [the volunteers] were greeting people who were there for different [events] for conferences or meetings. There was a lot going on at the Lord Nelson.  There was a young couple there from England and they were just brand new [to Canada]. So I kind of mentored them and said, “You need to be in the forefront, I’m going to stand back and let you do this,” and kind of guided them. They met all kinds of new people and they loved it. Every role provides a lot of opportunities [like that].


C: What is your favourite film?

M: My favourite films are musical fun films, like Mamma Mia. That’s fun, it’s got a lot of good music, a lot of laughs. I liked when [FIN] did Maudie, that was fantastic. I also like documentaries about people in the area who have done well.


C: Most vibrant memory from the film fest.

M: There’s just so many. I think what sticks out the most, because it’s the most challenging, was when we had the awards banquet…  [There were] …like 2 picnic tables together full of vegetables we had to wash, chop and … some volunteers to go at that and bring it to full presentation. [T]hat, to me, was always such a challenge, because there were mounds, I’m telling you MOUNDS of vegetables… To see that materialize, that was something we needed to [work together to achieve], to bring that to life.


C: What is your favourite movie snack? 

M: Popcorn. I mean, popcorn. It’s classic.










Recent transplant to Halifax, from Montreal to Vancouver, Rodin has made a great addition to the FIN volunteer crews! He’s done a bunch of everything, but more than anything he makes sure that every volunteer he meets feels welcome, part of the team, and included. Friendly and always willing to chat, Rodin is excited to show other FIN newbies what the festival has to offer!  


Cydney: What is your day job?

Rodin: When I first came to Halifax two years ago, I wasn’t working so I had the free time to volunteer, it was perfect, it was a great way to meet people and get involved, and who doesn’t like movies? But now, I just got hired recently as a bus driver for Halifax Transit – I drive on the streets of Halifax.


C: So you’ve been volunteering with FIN for two years and you got involved from seeing an advertisement?

R: On a whim, just on a whim. I probably went online and just took it from there. It’s interesting because once you volunteer for one thing, you tend to run into the same people…


C: What part of the film festival do you recommend to newbies?

R: I guess any of the parties, they [are] fun if you can get into them. But just going to the movies. Getting yourself involved and just going out! It’s a great way of traveling without leaving your city. So like, you go to see a foreign film… yeah, so either the parties or going a movie, or just mingling and being involved.


C: What are you personally looking forward to this year?

R:  Actually, I have no clue, I never do any of my research, which is kind of good. I don’t really plan things as much, I just go and see what’s there. I love looking through the [program guide], it’s a lot of movies to see. But I LOVE not having any expectations and being wowed or surprised.


C: What’s your favourite film/guilty pleasure film?

R: Right, … I’m horrible at selecting my favourite thing… I like everything... I remember there was one movie I watched… It’s a Swedish movie called A MAN CALLED OVE. It’s just a well-done movie, it’s a feel-good movie that takes you on an emotional roller coaster if I can say that. It’s a nice story about a man, but also has its soft parts, but funny parts too. I loved that movie so much that after watching I had to share it with so many people I know. I got my mom to watch it, my sister to watch it, my brother… not that I have a favourite movie or genre but that movie kind of stuck out in my head and I really liked that.


C: Vibrant memory

R: That’s a hard one, I can’t really think of… You know when – it can be a group of people -  strangers especially - or people you know, and you’re watching a movie and [you] all laugh at the same time? It’s a connection – [it must be] an amazing thing as a filmmaker when everyone is on board with the same thing.  


C: What’s your favourite movie snack?

R: What I like doing is -I like having popcorn and I’ll get a bag of M&M’s (the peanut ones) and I’ll put them in the same bag and munch down and watch a movie, if I splurge.













Jason came on board in 2017 as a new volunteer and certainly made a mark! After attending the festival for many years with his wife, he joined the transport team as a driver and drove for nearly 40 hours in eight days! He always had smile on his face and genuinely enjoyed getting to know FIN delegates, filmmakers and staff. We were lucky to have him as part of the team and hope he’ll be with FIN for a long time to come.


Cydney: What is your day job?

Jason: I’m a mortgage underwriter with Home Trust, I’ve been there for about four years. I’m the guy who says yes or no, and on a good day I make a whole bunch of people’s dreams come true.


C: How did you get involved with FIN?

J: My wife has worked with Telefilm Canada for about 15 years, so we’ve always kind of been somewhat involved with the Festival. And now that the kids are a little older I can enjoy more of the films, and when the opportunity came up last year to get involved volunteering I jumped at it. I’ve been a big fan of Canadian films for years and, you know, smaller films get the spotlight at FIN and I’ve always enjoyed being at the festival and now I can be on the other side and kind of help pull off the event.


C: Why do you volunteer?

J: As the kids grow up and don’t need mum and dad at home as much as they used to, I’ve always loved giving back to the community and to get involved in an event that I have a huge love for. I have the time and I have the energy and I have some skills that I think I can offer and I’m happy to do that when I can. FIN, as it grows and has a [wider] reach, I just enjoy being part of something like that.


C: What would you recommendations would you make if you are speaking with a first-time FIN festival-goer?

J: If you can get to the Opening Night Gala, that is a pinnacle. The energy, the excitement, the enthusiasm, and the celebrity that comes with it, it’s just so much fun to be a part of. It’s a huge deal, it’s at a great venue, generally it’s easily accessible, and yeah, it just kind of sets the tone for the week. [I]t’s a must-see, a must-do.


C: What’s your favourite film?

J: Hmmm, oh boy. I think one that’s always stuck with me over the years is IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER. It’s about the Irish Republican Army and the Guilford Five, who were wrongfully accused of this famous bombing in Guilford, England and their fight for basically understanding and freedom. It’s the kind of film that told a deep and meaningful story and really shows how politics and the need to blame someone often clouds fact… it was just a really powerfully-made film and a really great story.


C: So you’ve been volunteering with us for a year?

J: Yeah, just the one time so far.


C: What’s your most meaningful or memorable moment that stands out to you from your volunteer experience?

J: I think one of my first shifts on transport I made a pickup at the airport and it was a large portion of the cast from the film INDIAN HORSE. I was not at all familiar with the film, I hadn’t had an opportunity to review the guide for the year. The crew has just come from TIFF [Toronto International Film Festival][ where the film had debuted, and they were dead tired, all of them, and they were talking about the film itself. Later on, I went back to the airport and picked up the director from the film and just learned a little bit about it and heard the buzz and excitement. I ended up attending the film later that evening, and really learned a lot about the film, the film-making process and how it all came to be. It‘s probably one of the best films I’ve seen at the Festival and I had that connection with the talent and the producer. It was kind of fun to see them up there talking about their film and the crowd was a full house and the appreciation for the film was absolutely incredible. The next day I drove them back to the airport and they were appreciative of having seen me in the theatre, it was incredibly rewarding in that sense. Great film too, that I probably wouldn’t necessarily have seen.


C: What is your favourite movie snack?

J: A big ol’ bag of popcorn!














Joan is a pillar within the FIN volunteer community. Everyone loves her! She’s quick with a laugh and immediately makes people feel welcomed. Joan is very generous with both her time, volunteering all year round, and her food – often bringing in treats like jerk chicken or homemade salsa to the volunteer office. As an avid movie lover, Joan sees all sorts of films and her open-minded and adventurous attitude makes it hard to believe she’s a shy person at heart. FIN is lucky to have such a dedicated volunteer!



Cydney: What is your “day job?” What do you do when you’re not volunteering?

Joan: I’m retired! I was a sterilization technician, at the old Grace [Maternity Hospital] and then we moved over to the new Grace attached to the IWK… I loved what I did, we sterilized all the instruments and the bundles for the hospital, so you know you’re taking care of the patient.


C: How long have you been volunteering with FIN Atlantic International Film Festival?

J: You know what, I don’t know. I would say maybe about 7 – I never really put a date or a time… I’ll say 7 [years]. I’m trying to think back to what made me start, which was the red carpet on Oxford Street. I said, “What’s going on there?” and they said, “A red carpet!” and I said, “A red carpet in Halifax?” And the next year I signed up!


C: Why do you volunteer?

J: Because I am very – or I was – a very, very shy person. I cringed when I knew somebody of high standard talked to me, I didn’t know what to say, I cringed. It’s just to get me out of my shell, to meet people, to mingle, and to get rid of my shyness.


C: It seems to have worked!

J: I think so! When I go anywhere with my companion, [he says] “Is there ever a day when we go out and you not meet someone, you don’t know someone?” I think it worked out for me.


C: What part of FIN AIFF would you recommend to a newbie? Not a new volunteer, but someone who is new to Halifax and wants to go to the festival – what should they check out?

J: First I would recommend that they go through the book, get the schedule and go through the[program guide]. It would be best if they got a pass, so they can come and see what movies they want or as many movies as they want. And the people who bring the festival together are fantastic people to meet!


C: And what are you looking forward to this year?

J: Some GOOD MOVIES! Throughout the years I’ve been able to see some incredible films at the festival. My favourites were: The Dressmaker, The Handmaiden, Manchester By The Sea, and Personal Shopper.  I’m going to be working anyway, but [this year] I’m looking for some unusual movies, and some that make me go, “Oohhh I’ve got to see that again!”


C: What is your favourite film or guilty pleasure film?

J: Pretty Woman or An Officer and A Gentleman. Or this one – [Terms of] Endearment?


C: What is your best festival memory?

J: Meeting Olympia Dukakis. She had a film here which was good, it [focused on two]women. I know it will come to my mind, but I can’t tell you…. [Cloudburst!] Yes, Olympia Dukakis, meeting her was really, really nice.


C: She was premiering a film here or...?

J: She came in for, you know, after they film they have the talk, and as she was going in I said, “Hi Ms. Olympia, how are you?” and she shook my hand!

I knew she was coming so I had three postcards - Mahone Bay, Halifax, and somewhere else - and I gave them to her. I just said, “Enjoy Halifax, Nova Scotia!”


C: What’s your favourite movie snack?








If this has inspired you to volunteer, we encourage you to visit www.finfestival.ca/volunteer to get involved! Although our major event is FIN Atlantic International Film Festival on September 12th to 19th, 2019, we also have events throughout the year which require volunteer assistance.