VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHTS

 

 

 

The Volunteer Spotlight series highlights FIN’s most valuable resource: its dedicated community of volunteers and their role in making FIN Atlantic International Film Festival the premier event it is today. Our volunteers are incredibly diverse and from all walks of life:  young, old, bankers, medical professionals, bus drivers, actors, retired, or current students. 

 

 

Check out all these amazing volunteers!

 

JASON COMSTOCKJOAN CURTIS | RODIN LEITAO

 

 

 


 

 

RODIN LEITAO

 

 

Recent transplant to Halifax, from Montreal to Vancouver, Rodin has made a great addition to the FIN volunteer crews! He’s done a bunch of everything, but more than anything he makes sure that every volunteer he meets feels welcome, part of the team, and included. Friendly and always willing to chat, Rodin is excited to show other FIN newbies what the festival has to offer!  

 

Cydney: What is your day job?

Rodin: When I first came to Halifax two years ago, I wasn’t working so I had the free time to volunteer, it was perfect, it was a great way to meet people and get involved, and who doesn’t like movies? But now, I just got hired recently as a bus driver for Halifax Transit – I drive on the streets of Halifax.

 

C: So you’ve been volunteering with FIN for two years and you got involved from seeing an advertisement?

R: On a whim, just on a whim. I probably went online and just took it from there. It’s interesting because once you volunteer for one thing, you tend to run into the same people…

 

C: What part of the film festival do you recommend to newbies?

R: I guess any of the parties, they [are] fun if you can get into them. But just going to the movies. Getting yourself involved and just going out! It’s a great way of traveling without leaving your city. So like, you go to see a foreign film… yeah, so either the parties or going a movie, or just mingling and being involved.

 

C: What are you personally looking forward to this year?

R:  Actually, I have no clue, I never do any of my research, which is kind of good. I don’t really plan things as much, I just go and see what’s there. I love looking through the [program guide], it’s a lot of movies to see. But I LOVE not having any expectations and being wowed or surprised.

 

C: What’s your favourite film/guilty pleasure film?

R: Right, … I’m horrible at selecting my favourite thing… I like everything... I remember there was one movie I watched… It’s a Swedish movie called A MAN CALLED OVE. It’s just a well-done movie, it’s a feel-good movie that takes you on an emotional roller coaster if I can say that. It’s a nice story about a man, but also has its soft parts, but funny parts too. I loved that movie so much that after watching I had to share it with so many people I know. I got my mom to watch it, my sister to watch it, my brother… not that I have a favourite movie or genre but that movie kind of stuck out in my head and I really liked that.

 

C: Vibrant memory

R: That’s a hard one, I can’t really think of… You know when – it can be a group of people -  strangers especially - or people you know, and you’re watching a movie and [you] all laugh at the same time? It’s a connection – [it must be] an amazing thing as a filmmaker when everyone is on board with the same thing.  

 

C: What’s your favourite movie snack?

R: What I like doing is -I like having popcorn and I’ll get a bag of M&M’s (the peanut ones) and I’ll put them in the same bag and munch down and watch a movie, if I splurge.

 

 

 

 


 

 

JASON COMSTOCK

 

 

 

 

 

Jason came on board in 2017 as a new volunteer and certainly made a mark! After attending the festival for many years with his wife, he joined the transport team as a driver and drove for nearly 40 hours in eight days! He always had smile on his face and genuinely enjoyed getting to know FIN delegates, filmmakers and staff. We were lucky to have him as part of the team and hope he’ll be with FIN for a long time to come.

 

Cydney: What is your day job?

Jason: I’m a mortgage underwriter with Home Trust, I’ve been there for about four years. I’m the guy who says yes or no, and on a good day I make a whole bunch of people’s dreams come true.

 

C: How did you get involved with FIN?

J: My wife has worked with Telefilm Canada for about 15 years, so we’ve always kind of been somewhat involved with the Festival. And now that the kids are a little older I can enjoy more of the films, and when the opportunity came up last year to get involved volunteering I jumped at it. I’ve been a big fan of Canadian films for years and, you know, smaller films get the spotlight at FIN and I’ve always enjoyed being at the festival and now I can be on the other side and kind of help pull off the event.

 

C: Why do you volunteer?

J: As the kids grow up and don’t need mum and dad at home as much as they used to, I’ve always loved giving back to the community and to get involved in an event that I have a huge love for. I have the time and I have the energy and I have some skills that I think I can offer and I’m happy to do that when I can. FIN, as it grows and has a [wider] reach, I just enjoy being part of something like that.

 

C: What would you recommendations would you make if you are speaking with a first-time FIN festival-goer?

J: If you can get to the Opening Night Gala, that is a pinnacle. The energy, the excitement, the enthusiasm, and the celebrity that comes with it, it’s just so much fun to be a part of. It’s a huge deal, it’s at a great venue, generally it’s easily accessible, and yeah, it just kind of sets the tone for the week. [I]t’s a must-see, a must-do.

 

C: What’s your favourite film?

J: Hmmm, oh boy. I think one that’s always stuck with me over the years is IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER. It’s about the Irish Republican Army and the Guilford Five, who were wrongfully accused of this famous bombing in Guilford, England and their fight for basically understanding and freedom. It’s the kind of film that told a deep and meaningful story and really shows how politics and the need to blame someone often clouds fact… it was just a really powerfully-made film and a really great story.

 

C: So you’ve been volunteering with us for a year?

J: Yeah, just the one time so far.

 

C: What’s your most meaningful or memorable moment that stands out to you from your volunteer experience?

J: I think one of my first shifts on transport I made a pickup at the airport and it was a large portion of the cast from the film INDIAN HORSE. I was not at all familiar with the film, I hadn’t had an opportunity to review the guide for the year. The crew has just come from TIFF [Toronto International Film Festival][ where the film had debuted, and they were dead tired, all of them, and they were talking about the film itself. Later on, I went back to the airport and picked up the director from the film and just learned a little bit about it and heard the buzz and excitement. I ended up attending the film later that evening, and really learned a lot about the film, the film-making process and how it all came to be. It‘s probably one of the best films I’ve seen at the Festival and I had that connection with the talent and the producer. It was kind of fun to see them up there talking about their film and the crowd was a full house and the appreciation for the film was absolutely incredible. The next day I drove them back to the airport and they were appreciative of having seen me in the theatre, it was incredibly rewarding in that sense. Great film too, that I probably wouldn’t necessarily have seen.

 

C: What is your favourite movie snack?

J: A big ol’ bag of popcorn!

 

 

 


 

 

 

JOAN CURTIS

 

 

      

 

 

 

Joan is a pillar within the FIN volunteer community. Everyone loves her! She’s quick with a laugh and immediately makes people feel welcomed. Joan is very generous with both her time, volunteering all year round, and her food – often bringing in treats like jerk chicken or homemade salsa to the volunteer office. As an avid movie lover, Joan sees all sorts of films and her open-minded and adventurous attitude makes it hard to believe she’s a shy person at heart. FIN is lucky to have such a dedicated volunteer!

 

 

Cydney: What is your “day job?” What do you do when you’re not volunteering?

Joan: I’m retired! I was a sterilization technician, at the old Grace [Maternity Hospital] and then we moved over to the new Grace attached to the IWK… I loved what I did, we sterilized all the instruments and the bundles for the hospital, so you know you’re taking care of the patient.

 

C: How long have you been volunteering with FIN Atlantic International Film Festival?

J: You know what, I don’t know. I would say maybe about 7 – I never really put a date or a time… I’ll say 7 [years]. I’m trying to think back to what made me start, which was the red carpet on Oxford Street. I said, “What’s going on there?” and they said, “A red carpet!” and I said, “A red carpet in Halifax?” And the next year I signed up!

 

C: Why do you volunteer?

J: Because I am very – or I was – a very, very shy person. I cringed when I knew somebody of high standard talked to me, I didn’t know what to say, I cringed. It’s just to get me out of my shell, to meet people, to mingle, and to get rid of my shyness.

 

C: It seems to have worked!

J: I think so! When I go anywhere with my companion, [he says] “Is there ever a day when we go out and you not meet someone, you don’t know someone?” I think it worked out for me.

 

C: What part of FIN AIFF would you recommend to a newbie? Not a new volunteer, but someone who is new to Halifax and wants to go to the festival – what should they check out?

J: First I would recommend that they go through the book, get the schedule and go through the[program guide]. It would be best if they got a pass, so they can come and see what movies they want or as many movies as they want. And the people who bring the festival together are fantastic people to meet!

 

C: And what are you looking forward to this year?

J: Some GOOD MOVIES! Throughout the years I’ve been able to see some incredible films at the festival. My favourites were: The Dressmaker, The Handmaiden, Manchester By The Sea, and Personal Shopper.  I’m going to be working anyway, but [this year] I’m looking for some unusual movies, and some that make me go, “Oohhh I’ve got to see that again!”

 

C: What is your favourite film or guilty pleasure film?

J: Pretty Woman or An Officer and A Gentleman. Or this one – [Terms of] Endearment?

 

C: What is your best festival memory?

J: Meeting Olympia Dukakis. She had a film here which was good, it [focused on two]women. I know it will come to my mind, but I can’t tell you…. [Cloudburst!] Yes, Olympia Dukakis, meeting her was really, really nice.

 

C: She was premiering a film here or...?

J: She came in for, you know, after they film they have the talk, and as she was going in I said, “Hi Ms. Olympia, how are you?” and she shook my hand!

I knew she was coming so I had three postcards - Mahone Bay, Halifax, and somewhere else - and I gave them to her. I just said, “Enjoy Halifax, Nova Scotia!”

 

C: What’s your favourite movie snack?

J: POPCORN!!

 

 

 


 

 

 

If this has inspired you to volunteer, we encourage you to visit www.finfestival.ca/volunteer to get involved! Although our major event is FIN Atlantic International Film Festival on September 13th to 20th, 2018, we also have events throughout the year which require volunteer assistance.