About the AFCOOP Archives

There is so much work in the basements and closets of Atlantic filmmakers that is in severe danger of being lost to time. The AFCOOP Archives seeks to address this imminent loss with offline storage and an online streaming portal for the preservation and dissemination of AFCOOP members’ and archival work. At the same time, it will establish an online venue for Atlantic filmmakers to upload new content as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic together.

The project will begin by re-acquiring and digitizing AFCOOP’s existing film and analogue video collection, from original sources wherever possible. This will include materials related to programs, commissions, members’ films and special screenings. To facilitate the preservation of films, AFCOOP will also create a free 16mm film, Super 8 and video digitizing service for members. These films, if related to AFCOOP, will become part of our archives, creating a pathway for the crucial preservation of history of Nova Scotian film online.

This archive will be stored on a media server in AFCOOP’s office. Archived films will then be mirrored to an online streaming platform developed in partnership with FAVA’s Arts Management System (AMS). This streaming service will be similar to FAVA’s existing FAVA TV in its presentation and usability. With permission, titles will become visible and accessible 24/7 through the streaming page on AFCOOP’s website. Filmmakers will also be able to upload their own works and change viewing permissions as they see fit. As AFCOOP’s members create more content, the local and online archive will grow and more important regional and cultural works will be saved from disintegration and made discoverable online.

To celebrate and promote AFCOOP’s nearly 50 years of members’ films, a series of eight thematic programs will be curated from this new archive and launched on the site. Six of these programs will be chosen by a diverse group of media artists and curators from our region. These online programs will stream monthly in 2022, beginning with films from AFCOOP’s Languages of Nova Scotia program and culminating with a program of randomly chosen user-uploaded content and archival films. All of these curated programs will be closed captioned in-house at AFCOOP.

If you have work that you created in an AFCOOP program, grant or used AFCOOP equipment in making it, we would love to include it in the archive we’re creating to capture AFCOOP’s 48-year history. Films will be digitized or ingested (if required) and stored at AFCOOP in our dedicated ‘vault’ server. A text-based record of the work will also be included in a public database for research and other opportunities (like an IMDb for AFCOOP films). But that’s not all! Optionally, we will also host your film on AFCOOP’s new streaming media service at no cost. No, it’s not too good to be true, it’s all part of the goal of making sure that every AFCOOP film lives on and can be seen in the future.

Currently, we are only taking Beta SP, Digi beta, ¾ “ Umatic tape and digital files (whatever you got that is the best you got). We’re looking for master-level quality but if all you have is VHS we’ll take that too. We can’t take 16mm film right now but we will put out a big call for that when we’re ready.


The Archives Team


Christopher Spencer-Lowe (CSL) is an award-winning filmmaker, media artist and performer of unusual works in public. He also works as a media artist for hire and in film post, picture editing, sound design and location sound as well as arts administration and project coordination. CSL is an active member of the Halifax filmmaking and arts community, often teaching film and media art and serving on various boards and committees. 


Hailing from the Gulf Islands of British Columbia, Meg (BA, MIS) has abandoned the Pacific Northwest to return to the East Coast. And with good reason! Meg is helping AFCOOP preserve and promote their historic film collection. She’s also setting up workflows to ensure that present-day and future projects don’t fall into the digital void. When she’s not busy ghost-proofing her apartment, Meg is a freelance writer, avid hiker, and consumer of all things film-related. Her top four films (at the moment) are Re-Animator, Excalibur, The Devils, and To Live and Die in L.A


Evan is a writer, reporter and film programmer living in Dartmouth, NS. He’s a programmer for the Halifax Independent Filmmakers Festival and has worked at AFCOOP in various roles since 2019. Previously, he served as Lunenburg Doc Fest’s media coordinator and as an arts reporter on Nova Scotia’s South Shore. He recently completed his first novel through Humber College’s School for Writers.


Ratna is a quirky lover of long aimless walks, delicious ice cream, and cinema visits.  Originally from out west, she arrived in Halifax in January 2020 to start her Master in Information at Dalhousie University, and take in all the great arts and culture of the city. She is excited to finally be finished with her studies and join AFCOOP’s archive team.


Kay is an intermedia artist and experimentalist based in Kjipuktuk/so called Halifax. Interested in technology and science fiction, they might not be upset if one day they woke up as a cyborg. They’re excited to help AFCOOP build and preserve an accessible digital archive; their work and ways of moving through the world are informed by their experiences as a queer, trans survivor, and survival of stories is very important to them.

Program Curators

Becka Barker is an interdisciplinary artist, educator, and researcher of settler ancestry living in Kjipuktuk/Halifax. She will absolutely fight you if you suggest animation is part of cinema and not the other way around. She teaches in the Media Arts, Foundation, and Design Divisions at NSCAD University and is currently pursuing her PhD at York University, where her research will bring together her unconditional love for animation, process cinema, critical pedagogy, and grassroots organizing. She is also currently learning how to create Geometry Dash levels from her 11 year-old.

Sylvia D. Hamilton is a writer, filmmaker and artist known for her landmark films Black Mother Black Daughter, Portia White: Think on Me and The Little Black School House. Screened in festivals in Canada and abroad, they are widely used in schools and universities throughout Canada. Her poetry collection, And I alone Escaped to Tell You, was a finalist for the 2015 League of Canadian Poets Gerald Lampert Memorial Award and the 2018 Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Masterworks Award. Her solo multimedia installations have been featured in galleries and museums in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario. She has received several honorary degrees, a Gemini Award, the 2020 Governor General’s Award in History (Popular Media) and the 2021 Doc Institute Luminary Award. She is an Inglis Professor at the University of King’s College in Halifax.

Bretten Hannam is a Two-Spirit L’nu filmmaker living in Kespukwitk, L’nuekati (Nova Scotia) where they were raised. Their films deal with themes of community, culture, and language with a focus on Two-Spirit and LGBTQ+ identity. They wrote and directed NORTH MOUNTAIN, a Two-Spirit thriller that won Best Original Score at the Atlantic Film Festival and the Screen Nova Scotia Award for Best Feature. They also wrote/directed the short film WILDFIRE which premiered at BFI Flare and went on to play at Frameline LGBT Film Festival, Vancouver International Film Festival, ImagineNative, and Inside Out LGBT Film Festival. Recently, they wrote and directed WILDHOOD, the feature version of the short WILDFIRE, which premiered at TIFF 2021.

James MacSwain, born in Amherst, NS, received a B.A. in English from Mount Allison University and studied theatre arts at the University of Alberta, Edmonton. In 1973 he settled in Halifax where he began a career in theatre and arts administration. Since 1980, he has been working in film and video, receiving Canada Council, Ontario Arts Council and Arts Nova Scotia grants as a media artist. MacSwain was the recipient of the 2011 Portia White Prize.