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Be an In-School Mentor

Who can be a mentor? You can! Kids need real people with real experience to help them realize their  [ ... ]

Purple Ribbon Pinning Bee

Time to Step Up A pinning bee to prepare ribbons and cards for the 2018-2019 Purple Ribbon Campaign [ ... ]

Feature Debut


Jeff Coll partners with Chaz Thorne to produce Just Buried

by Dan MacCormac

Jeff Coll (left) and Chaz Thorne at the Toronto International Film Festival following the debut of Just Buried. Jeff was co-producer with Chaz, who wrote and directed the film.Jeff Coll admits he’s a young player in the film business, but has intentions of making his mark on the industry.

Coll, 27, hails from Prince Edward Island and currently resides in Halifax where he is working as an associate producer with Nova Scotia writer and director Chaz Thorne. They recently completed Just Buried, an independent film written and directed by Thorne. The drama/ comedy screened at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) this September.

Coll’s role on the film was that of an associate producer, a career he prepared for by taking the Screen Arts program at the Nova Scotia Community College, after studying English and Theatre at the University of Prince Edward Island. Upon graduating from NSCC, he accepted a job as a director’s assistant on a television movie called Candles on Bay Street shot in Halifax by director John Erman.

With a reference letter from Erman in his hand, Coll applied for another job as a director’s assistant, this time with Thorne who was beginning work on Just Buried. After a 15-minute meeting in a coffee shop, Coll was hired and remains Thorne’s sole employee at his production company.

His duties on Just Buried ran from the somewhat basic during pre-production—making deliveries and buying supplies—to some challenging and newfound roles during post-production, mainly ensuring the film gets screened and distributed.

“With no previous experience, I was dealing with broadcasters, sales agents, distributors, government agencies to help make sure all contractual obligations were being met so the production wouldn’t run out of money.” he explained. “Ten months in, I’m still working on this aspect of the film, even though it has long been completed and has screened at several film festivals.”

Coll said TIFF was a great experience, and that despite the high-profile glossiness of the event, there was recognition available for filmmakers and players of all standing. “It’s saturated with Hollywood people who work behind and in front of the camera. But there’s also a lot of support there for young filmmakers such as Chaz and first-time feature filmmakers.”

Coll has busy recently preparing for a Halifax screening of Poor Boy’s Game, a film starring Danny Glover which was shot and set in Halifax. Thorne wrote and co-produced the film, and Coll is making sure the showing leads to more across the country. He said it was a unique experience to be involved in screening a film set in Nova Scotia by a Nova Scotian director.

Coll has found his first home in the Canadian film industry in only a few years, but is confident he’s found his passion and will challenge himself with production skills which he knows are an integral part of the art of filmmaking.

“I’m still pretty young for the film business, but I feel like I have to keep progressing and working my way up. I hate being stagnant. I always want to do more. I’d like to have a full producing credit on a feature before I turn 30.”

Hoop Springs Eternal

Marijka Haines revives a pastime from an earlier era

by Dan MacCormac

Marijka HainesMeet Charlottetown’s first lady of hooping. Marijka Haines began making and selling her own hula hoops after spending the summer of 2006 in Montreal where she was introduced to hooping culture through a roommate.

“She had a hoop and she would take it with her everywhere she went, and she was amazing with it and I wanted to be amazing with it too, so I just made my own,” she explains.

Her hoops begin life as plumbers piping, approximately 10 feet of which are joined by a coupler and then decorated with colours and patterns using electrical tape. Marijka said she would like to try painting a hoop, but figures the paint would wear off with use.

Each hoop takes around an hour to make, she explains. To date, she has built and sold more than 40 hoops. A live demonstration is usually the preface to a sale.

“Who buys them? Lots of people. I took one out at a party and just danced to some music with it. I showed them my tricks and they were all like ‘I want to be able to do that.’”

Marijka considers hooping “another form of dance” and says almost any music can provide a suitable musical background to hoop to.

“Anything with a good beat, anything that makes you want to move. It can be Gorillaz, it can be jigs and reels.”

A recent hooping excursion around downtown Charlottetown brought out many curious onlookers who watched Marijka spin the hoop around her waist, arms and neck. The “step-through” trick—where she spins the hoop on her arms then steps sideways through it—seems to impress.

“Tricks, you have easy tricks and hard ones. One of the easiest is doing it around your hips and the step-through is more difficult.”

Marijka was busy this summer building more hoops and practicing her own technique. She has organized workshops for children in the community where they build and decorate their own hoops and learn some basics. Next summer she plans to do some busking and generally, spread the culture of hooping on PEI.

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