Arts featured Labour

Without Consultation: Emerging Lens festival features documentary on NS film industry after the cuts

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – The excellent four-day Emerging Lens Cultural Film Festival, a festival that focuses on  African Canadian and other cultural filmmakers, starts this Wednesday April 19 at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21. As always it is packed with exciting performances, features and documentaries by local, Canadian and international filmmakers.  And it’s free!

One of the works to be featured on Thursday at the Halifax Central Library is Without Consultation, a 40-minute documentary on the the effects of the Liberal government’s changes to Nova Scotia’s film tax credit in July 2015. The documentary is produced by Halifax documentary filmmaker Fateh Ahmed of Core Film Productions.

Fateh Ahmed. Contributed.

Ahmed believes that the attack on an industry that at one time generated $150 million in economic activity per year should not be forgotten. After all, film people continue to face real problems as a result.

“In a way it’s a very political story, but for the most part the documentary focuses on personal stories of Nova Scotia film makers and how they are adjusting and adapting,” says Ahmed. “We want to convey how the government’s announcements very quickly and very deeply affected our lives.”

“In a short time we have seen production companies close, rental companies close, people relocating, We want the audience to understand the impact, not just on the film making industry, but also on the peripheral industries, like insurance companies, carpenters, hotels, transportation, all of that,” Ahmed says.

Ahmed’s intention was to give voice to a variety of points of view on the issue, in the hope that this would increase mutual understanding and appreciation and ultimately lead to some kind of dialogue towards a solution. But this became more of a challenge when Liberal politicians refused to speak on camera, Ahmed explains.

The documentary is tailor-made for the Emerging Lens festival, Ahmed suggests.

“The festival is a unique opportunity for filmmakers to tell stories and have their works screened, especially stories that are not often told or shared. I think it is one of the most important festivals in Canada,” Ahmed says.


The documentary will premiere during the Thursday night (April 20) component of the Emerging Lens Festival, at 6:30 pm, at the Halifax Central Library. A full-length version of the film will be made available on-line and for free at a later date. Click here for a full schedule of the four-day event. 

Without Consultation, which is self-financed, is produced by John Saunders, Justin Thomas Swinamer and Colin Hampsey, with special thanks to lead animator Jay Malone, and graph animation by Ian Kehayes. Camera & Sound: Alejandro J Quintanilla.


If you can, please support the Nova Scotia Advocate so that it can continue to cover issues such as poverty, racism, exclusion, workers’ rights and the environment in Nova Scotia. A pay wall is not an option, since it would exclude many readers who don’t have any disposable income at all. We rely entirely on one-time donations and a group of 25 or so dedicated monthly sustainers.