Made for TV

The Eastlink show Cin­ema 902 of­fers up weekly lo­cal fea­tures and, this month, a slate of four brand-new films.

The Coast - - ARTS - BY TARA THORNE

Satur­days on Eastlink TV, 11pm re­peat­ing Sun­day, Tues­day, Thurs­day

Of­ten

you have to wait for a film fes­ti­val or one-off screen­ing to catch lo­cally made movies, but Cin­ema 902’ s been of­fer­ing up a slate of Hal­i­fax-cre­ated fea­tures since Jan­uary. And be­gin­ning at the top of this month, the pro­gram—air­ing on Eastlink TV at 11pm on Satur­days—has been of­fer­ing de­buts of brand­new mi­crobud­get fea­tures.

“They need pro­gram­ming like so many other peo­ple do and they are pretty well the only lo­cal—the CBC is the only other one, but they do much less—Eastlink does a great deal,” says Ron Fo­ley Mac­Don­ald, pro­ducer at Win­terlight Pro­duc­tions, which in turn has pro­duced the films for Cin­ema 902. “They have dis­tri­bu­tion in Nova Sco­tia and PEI and north­ern On­tario—Sud­bury pri­mar­ily—Al­berta and BC, so they ac­tu­ally qual­ify as a na­tional broad­caster. They were will­ing to take a chance on this so they said ‘OK go ahead.’”

The deal in­cluded pur­chas­ing ex­ist­ing films like Koumbie’s In­evitable Breakup and Ben­jamin Stevens’ Wisp, and pro­duc­ing four bud­geted at $25,000 each. That list in­cludes Dil­lon Gar­land’s The Last Di­vide, Aliens with Knives by Ni­cole Steeves and Struan Suther­land, Chelsea Comeau’s Creepy Crawl­ing (air­ing this Satur­day) and Mac­Don­ald’s own Shadow In the Mir­ror, air­ing April 21.

“I had gone through five other di­rec­tors with three dif­fer­ent scripts,” says Mac­Don­ald of how he came to make his own film. “We were run­ning out of time—some peo­ple said, ‘I can’t do this for $25,000,’ which is sen­si­ble and sane. We were sup­posed to shoot in De­cem­ber but we shot in Fe­bru­ary; Fe­bru­ary is the worst pos­si­ble time to make a film.”

Chal­lenges aside—Mac­Don­ald’s movie was still in post at press time— Cin­ema 902 has been suc­cess­ful for Eastlink and Win­terlight, so there may be an­other round in a cou­ple years. “Sev­eral other film­mak­ers have con­tacted us say­ing, ‘We want to do one of these,’” says Mac­Don­ald. “There’s so few other out­lets. Do you want to make a film for $25,000 and get it broad­cast?”

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