Now on its 4th road show, the Nickel is ready to hit the pavement.  In total, 10 films go on the road but this year, half of them are from first timers!  The Nickel has a history of supporting new and emerging filmmakers so it’s no surprise to that they flock to it with their first films.  Welcomed with no hesitation, The Nickel believes the purpose of independent festivals like theirs is to inspire new and experienced filmmakers to submit anything.  “New filmmakers bring fresh thoughts and ideas to the table and we’re usually very impressed with the work,” said Executive Director Ruth Lawrence, making selection for the road show that much easier.  “The films selected for the road show are based on some of the most popular selections from the previous year’s festival!”

The ‘firsts’ come through a variety of sources that include NIFCO, CNA and MUN or they’ve simply been produced independently.  Ruth stopped packing up for a moment to tell me a bit more about them:

What are these 5 first timer’s films about?
Moose Adventures (Stephenville): A “modern” hunter meets his match in a battle of wits. A collaborative animation project, CNA class of 2008, directed by David Gale.

One of Us Cannot Be Right (St. John’s): Embittered by a recent break-up, Mandy seeks comfort at a bar frequented by the lonely and reclusive. Here she meets Mike. Undeniably drawn to one another, their mutual irritation quickly turns to attraction.  Directed by Jacqueline Hynes.

Lionel Lonely Heart (St. John’s): A broken-hearted middle aged man begins to receive mysterious roses in the mail.  Lionel begins to seek out his secret admirer. Directed by Stephen Dunn through the NIFCO first time filmmaker’s course.

Mary Power (St. John’s): The film honours the life of Mary Power and helps to preserve the rich traditions which she’s been a part of. A colourful piece and a must for anyone who loves a good story.  Directed by Michelle Jackson.

City Song (St. John’s): A look at the life of Steve Doiron, a local busker. Everyone knows him as “the guy with the dog” who plays on the corner of George and Water Street. The doc introduces the man behind the music.  Directed by Justin Madol, Nicci Hearn and Victoria Wells through MUN’s Performance and Communications Media Program.

What is the goal of doing this road show?
It’s to showcase some of our best films from the previous year to broaden exposure for local and international short films. It’s not often areas outside of St. John’s have the opportunity to view a selection of short independent films and the road show can interest and inspire budding filmmakers from all over Newfoundland. It’s important to support local talent so we ensure there is always an array of local material up on the screen.

What can people expect for the 2009 Nickel?
With the LSPU Hall closed for renovations we had to find another location for screening so we moved to the INCO building at MUN. So far we’ve had an abundance of submissions both local and internationally, as far away as Israel! We’re seeing innovative animations, thought provoking dramas, wonderful comedies, cutting edge experimental films and some really great horror shorts. We can already see the selection process being challenging! You can expect our children’s matinee and late night horror screenings as well as informative workshops taught by leading industry filmmakers.

The Nickel film festival will take place from June 23 – 27 with the road show busily drumming up excitement in Stephenville, Corner Brook and Clarenville throughout March.  Tickets are only $10 and you get a 90 minute presentation.  Go to for more details.

– Joshua Jamieson