North Shore film earns no­tice

North Shore film wins pres­ti­gious award at Nickel Fes­ti­val

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - Melissa.jenk­ BY MELISSA JENK­INS

New­found­land film­maker Justin Oakey, pic­tured above, is earn­ing some ac­co­lades for his short film “Flankers,” which was shot in com­mu­ni­ties along the North Shore. Oakey has fam­ily roots in North­ern Bay and wants to make movies that re­flect New­found­land’s cul­ture.

It could be the smell of the salty air off the ocean or the close-knit re­la­tion­ships in a small town, but what­ever the rea­son, Justin Oakey keeps en­thu­si­as­ti­cally re­turn­ing to New­found­land.

The 27-year-old St. John’s na­tive has roots in North­ern Bay, and spent a lot of time “around the bay” through­out his child­hood.

Be­ing in the calm­ing at­mos­phere of out­port New­found­land is Oakey’s muse, and he used that in­spi­ra­tion for his most re­cent award-win­ning short film called “Flankers.” It was filmed in Ochre Pit Cove and North­ern Bay.

His film has been shown at fes­ti­vals all over the world, and shows how there are some­times ri­val­ries among fish­er­men from neigh­bour­ing com­mu­ni­ties in this province. But in the end, the ri­val­ries are set aside when emer­gen­cies arise.


A grad­u­ate of Ry­er­son Univer­sity in Toronto, Oakey has used his home­grown knowl­edge to cap­ture the at­ten­tion of au­di­ences, es­pe­cially in his home province.

Last month, “Flankers” screened dur­ing the fi­nal night of the Nickel In­de­pen­dent Film Fes­ti­val in St. John’s and it re­ceived a lot of sup­port. The film was one of two re­cip­i­ents of the Peo­ple’s Choice award. It’s a feat Oakey is proud of, be­cause film­go­ers choose the win­ners.

“Flankers” de­buted at the At­lantic Film Fes­ti­val in Hal­i­fax last year and gained mo­men­tum in places like Ire­land and Scot­land. It has been nom­i­nated for sev­eral awards in Canada, and one in Ire­land as well.

Film­ing Flankers

His film mostly takes place around the Ochre Pit Cove wharf, a set­ting that gives a vis­ual rep­re­sen­ta­tion of what some of the smaller har­bours in the province look like.

A lot of the act­ing was im­pro­vised, said Oakey. The ac­tors, who were mostly pro­fes­sion­als, kept the lan­guage sim­ple and tra­di­tional.

There’s some pro­fan­ity in the film, but Oakey has been told it demon­strates New­found­land speech. He tried to keep the feel of the film as au­then­tic as pos­si­ble.

“A lot of my knowl­edge about the fish­ery may not be mod­ern­day knowl­edge,” he ad­mit­ted. “I kind of grew up with it in the back­ground. Heard it talked about my whole life.”

The idea of do­ing a script and film with a fish­eries con­nec­tion has been on his mind for years, and he fi­nally had the fund­ing to go ahead with it. A large per­cent­age of what is seen in the film couldn’t have hap­pened with­out do­na­tions.

“Friends, fam­ily, friends of the fam­ily,” Oakey said. “Ev­ery­thing be­sides labour and equip­ment, ev­ery­thing be­hind the scenes, ev­ery­thing else was gra­ciously do­nated.”

Plans for the fu­ture

Oakey is in the process of mov- ing back to New­found­land from Toronto and hopes to con­tinue to bring sto­ries of New­found­land alive through his film­mak­ing.

“I want to help pre­serve New­found­land cul­ture,” he ex­plained, not­ing he likes to hunt and go to the cabin rather than spend time in the city.

He was look­ing for­ward to fin­ish­ing film school so he could get back to New­found­land and re­con­nect with his roots. His next ven­ture is likely go­ing to be more of a chal­lenge.

“Plan­ning my next film, hop­ing it will be a full length,” Oakey said. “I am hop­ing to shoot it in Har­bour Grace.”

Friends from On­tario are al­ready on the list to come back and help with the next pro­ject be­cause they loved their ex­pe­ri­ence here work­ing on “Flankers.”

To watch the short film “Flankers,” visit

“I want to help pre­serve New­found­land cul­ture.” Justin Oakey


Justin Oakey’s short film “Flankers” was filmed in com­mu­ni­ties along the North Shore.


A still im­age of ac­tor Joel Thomas Hynes from the award-win­ning short film “Flankers,” writ­ten and di­rected by Justin Oakey.


Justin Oakey (right) is the writer and di­rec­tor of “Flankers.”

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