FIN outdoor film series returns to Halifax Public Gardens

It’s the Summer of Sarah Polley. That’s the theme of the FIN Atlantic International Film Festival’s outdoor movie series returning since the pandemic began.

The outdoor screenings at the Halifax Public Gardens were put on pause back in 2020 - now they’re coming back in a big way.

This year’s FIN outdoor summer movie series highlights award-winning actress, producer and director Sarah Polley. Four of Polley’s films, including “My Life Without Me,” “Away From Her,” “Take This Waltz,” and “Stories We Tell.”

The 2012 documentary “Stories We Tell,” which was named the 70th greatest film since 2000 by the BBC in 2016, focuses on an affair between Polley’s mother and a film producer. The film reveals Polley was the product of their affair, rather the man she grew up thinking was her father.

This year’s series marks the first under the leadership of executive director Martha Cooley, who succeeded Wayne Carter after a decade at the helm of the organization.

While the outdoor film series has done “The Summer of…” theme before, featuring films with Sandra Bullock and Ben Murray, Cooley wanted the return of the event to feature a Canadian who is also connected to the FIN International Film Festival.

That’s where Polley, whose films have played at past film FIN film festivals, came in.

“There’s something very special about not just watching movies together but watching movies outdoors,” Cooley said.

While COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted in the province, organizers and volunteers will continue wearing masks.

Guests can choose whether to wear a mask. With space for a maximum of 500 attendees, guests are encouraged to pre-register online ahead of the screening time.

Parents are encouraged to take discretion when it comes to bringing their children due to the subject matter of Polley’s films.

The Friday evening screenings are slated to begin at dusk, with gates at the Halifax Public Gardens opening an hour before the events begin. Attendees are encouraged to bring blankets and chairs. Snacks will be available on-site and Feed Nova Scotia will also be accepting monetary donations.