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New Glasgow ready to host Emerging Lens Cultural Film Festival

Crystal States and Jan MacKay talk about the plan for Emerging Lens at New Glasgow Public Library on Tuesday.
Crystal States and Jan MacKay talk about the plan for Emerging Lens at New Glasgow Public Library on Tuesday. - Fram Dinshaw

New Glasgow’s Ward One Centre is one of several locations in Nova Scotia hosting the eighth annual Emerging Lens Cultural Film Festival on April 22, the first ever outside a major city.

Guests can enjoy a range of short films tackling issues including mental illness, homophobia, identity and lighter topics such as music, its final aim being to showcase the real image of Canada and its culture.

“The Ward One Society and Recreation Centre is delighted to partner with the Emerging Lens Cultural Film Festival,” said Ward One’s president, Crystal States.

She also noted that Ward One is a focal point for the local black community and the centre shares cultural links with other areas of the province where films were produced.

Regional film festival director Jan MacKay said that in the last eight years, Emerging Lens has fostered strong links between the community and local artisans by recognizing the storytelling medium.

Every screening starts with a local artist, this year’s in New Glasgow being djembe drumming group Umoja, made up of Muresia, Murtriko and Muriko Izzard. Their name ‘Umoja’ means ‘unity’ in Swahili, a language widely spoken in eastern Africa.

All screenings will end with an artist talk and networking reception with the filmmakers and audience.

“We are building positive relationships with communities and their growing interest for cultural films that reflect and speak to their identity,” said MacKay in a written release. “You won’t find our stories on television and yet they are more interesting, powerful and compelling when told in our own way.”

Emerging Lens plans a return to New Glasgow after the festival, to offer locals a chance to pitch their own movies in front of a panel of producers and filmmakers. The winning pitch will be awarded a scholarship from the Centre for Art Tapes.

Anyone wishing to make a film submission can call Jan MacKay at 902-870-7753 for more information. Submissions from people of all ages and skill levels are welcome.

The Emerging Lens festival is a production of the Charles Taylor theatre and Media Arts Association.

“It’s an opportunity to bring a bigger-city event to an area like this,” MacKay told The News.

This year’s other Emerging Lens locations include the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, the North Branch and Central Libraries in Halifax and the Black Cultural Centre.

A full list of films for the upcoming festival can be viewed at

Admission for guests is free.

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