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Nova Scotia film making waves internationally

Monday, July 23, 2018

The Incentive Fund is a great program, and it’s huge for a small project like us to be able to fill such a large percentage of our financing, knowing that NSBI is there to help us. They’re fantastic.

Aaron Horton, Producer

Blac Op Films Inc.

Black Cop, the first feature film by writer/director Cory Bowles and producer Aaron Horton, picked up the John Dunning Discover Award at the 2018 Canadian Screen Awards and was named Best Feature Film at the 2018 Screen Nova Scotia Awards. In March 2018, the film won an award at the International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights in Geneva. 

Described as a psychological drama and a hyperactive satire, the film follows a black police officer who, pushed to the edge, takes on the white community in a maelstrom of abuse and terror. 

“The film plays on different levels,” says Aaron Horton. “It tackles current events with racial profiling and police officers, and people connect to it on that level as another perspective. But it’s also structured and shot in a way that people may not have seen before, and it gets people talking.”

The film was made on a micro-budget of under $230,000 with funding from Telefilm Canada and from NSBI’s Film & Television Production Incentive Fund

Filming in Nova Scotia

Filmed over 12 days in Halifax and Dartmouth in November 2016, Black Cop used a cast and crew that were almost all from Nova Scotia. “We never considered shooting it anywhere else,” Horton says. “Nova Scotia is a great place to make movies, and the people we like to work with are here.”

To shoot a feature film on a micro-budget requires creativity. A 12-day shoot minimized the number of crew days and gear rental. “We worked with a small crew of people we work with regularly,” Horton says. “They know they won’t make their regular production rates, but they’re willing to be a part of the project to help filmmakers make their first features.” Horton and Bowles both work on Trailer Park Boys, Horton as production manager and Bowles as a director and actor, and some of their crew were also willing to work on the project.

Ongoing success

After screenings at nearly 30 North American festivals, the film now has a US distributor, Samuel Goldman Films, and is being released in theatres there and is available digitally. It has played at festivals in Ireland and Argentina, and the team is looking forward to its release soon in Latin America and the UK. Other festivals abroad are also booked. 

Following the film’s premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival last year, Bowles acquired a US agent and is being sent projects to consider. He and Horton hope to make another project together in the future. 

Horton has worked with NSBI many times because of Trailer Park Boys. “They’re great to deal with,” he says. “Any time I have questions, they’re quick to answer.”