Friday, March 22, 2019

Writer/director Bretten Hannam & producer Gharrett Patrick Paon screen WILDFIRE at the BFI Flare LGBTQ+ Film Festival on March 22 & 23 2019.

WILDFIRE is a short film about a rebellious Mi'kmaw runaway, stalked by his abusive white father, who meets a two-spirit teenager drawn to his journey. As he learns Mi'kmaw language and culture from his new companion a deeper bond begins to grow between them. 

As Bretten Hannam reveals in his director’s notes, WILDFIRE is a story drawn from personal experience, re-imagined and turned on its head. On the surface the story is very much an adventure—three boys travelling the back roads on a quest. In reality, it’s a very personal story of reconnecting to heritage and coming to terms with two-spirit identity. 

Since Nova Scotia doesn’t have any Indigenous teenage actors in ACTRA (the professional actors union). Bretten and Gharrett set out on a grassroots journey to find their two leads. Over 2 weeks they traveled to various reserves and communities in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and auditioned over 50 Mi’kmaq teenagers, become the largest casting search ever, for Indigenous talent on the east coast on Canada.

The BFI Flare LGBTQ+ Film Festival is the biggest LGBTQ+ film festival in Europe and running for over 30 years. Wildfire is programmed in CHALLENGE ACCEPTED, a selection of ‘bold shorts showing the courage, intelligence and heart of those who have found a way to rise above their circumstances’.

Wildfire is a part of Telefilm’s Not Short on Talent program, and was one of ten short films in Canada selected for Telefilm’s Not Short on Talent showcase at the 2019 Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival. Not Short on Talent is a Telefilm Canada initiative that presents a selection of new Canadian short films at international markets.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Talent Trust is looking for new Board members

The Talent Trust's work wouldn't be possible without the hands-on support from our dedicated board members. 

Would you be interested to share their dedication and passion for the arts?

We're looking for a new treasurer. (Accounting knowledge would be an asset).

After eight years, our Treasurer Daphne Cruikshanks is stepping down to enjoy her retirement. We are grateful for her insight, knowledge, and support to help grow the Talent Trust. Thank you Daphne!

We're also looking for new board members that want to help us reach our fundraising goals. See more at

If you're interested in a board position and want to know more please send us an email at director(at) or give us a call at 902-492-6801

Thank you,

Jaqueline Steudler, Executive Director,  director(at)

Monday, March 18, 2019

Barbara Hannigan wins 2019 Juno Award

Congratulations to Barbara Hannigan for winning the 2019 Juno Award for Classical album of the year: vocal or choral.
Barbara Hannigan with Reinbert De Leeuw, Vienna: Fin de si├Ęcle​

This is the second time in a row that Barbara Hannigan from Waverley won a Juno Award. 

In 2018, she won a GRAMMY Award and a Juno Award for her album Crazy Girl Crazy. More information can be found at

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Celebrating Portia White as Catalyst on the 75th Anniversary of her Breakthrough Concert.

On March 13, 1944, Portia White delivered her breakthrough concert that changed her own life and many more. 75 years to the day, Portia White became the first Canadian ever to perform at the New York Town Hall. 

Hedley Rainnie’s portrait of White hangs in Government House
The concert initiated her ascent to become one of the best singers of the 20th century, a particularly incredible triumph considering the systemic racism of segregation. 

Internationally recognized in her day, Portia White is now revered as part of Canadian heritage. Her legacy represents the catalyst for the Talent Trust and its 75-year commitment to aspiring artists across the province. Since 1985, many deserving vocalists have been awarded the Talent Trust’s Portia White Award, including the 2016 winner Shanice Skinner, also a female African Nova Scotia operatic singer.

To celebrate the anniversary of this historic achievement Cecilia Concerts will bring Grammy Award-winning, African American Harolyn Blackwell to Halifax to perform in "Genius Child: Portia White at Town Hall" on Nov 9, 2019

The concert revisits some of the material Portia White sang in her milestone concert while also showcasing a collection of beautiful songs encompassing poetry by the timeless, and timely, African American writer and social activist Langston Hughes. Blackwell will be accompanied by prize-winning Texan pianist Danny Zelibor.

Read the Talent Trust editorial “Celebrate Portia White’s Legacy,” published in The Coast.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Breagh Mackinnon Plays for the Juno Awards with her Port Cities Band on March 17, 2019.

As a member of Port Cities, past recipient and current Board member, Breagh Mackinnon was selected to perform in front of over 1,200 music industry elite at the JUNO Gala Dinner & Awards on March 17 2019.

This follows her participation in the Allan Slaight JUNO Master Class, where Breagh and her bandmates received industry mentorship courtesy of The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) and Slaight Music.

This masterclass and performance adds to a list of growing accolades including 2019 East Coast Music Award nominations for Songwriter of the Year and Entertainer of the Year, five 2017 Nova Scotia Music Awards, a SOCAN #1 Award (for “Back to the Bottom”), and stints at #1 on CBC and Spotify charts. Breagh Mackinnon with Port Cities has amassed over 1.5 million streams internationally, showcased at The Great Escape, Focus Wales, and the Reeperbahn Festival, and will be releasing their debut in the U.K. and Germany this year.

Read more about her Nova Scotian influence in a recent CBC article and watch her performance on JUNO Awards.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Karen Myatt Helps Celebrate 200 Years of Province House on March 20, 2019

The Province House celebrates its 200th Anniversary with a House Concert Series open to the public.

Recipient Karen Myatt adds her voice to mark this milestone with Jazzing up the Red Room:

March 20, 2019
7:30 p.m., Red Chamber, Province House

joins Daniel Matto and pianist Holly Arsenault to pay homage to their favourite jazz singers in the oldest legislative building in Canada.

Join the trio for a 2-set soiree of new and old 
smooth and sultry, classic and contemporary standards.

This event is free and open to the public. Tickets are limited to 60 and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration will open on March 6, 2019.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Reeny Smith gets high recognition in CBC’s Searchlight Competition.

Last week Reeny Smith’s song, Good Girl Swag, ranked in the top 10 out of thousands of deserving submissions. 

Through a combination of public voting and jury selection, the annual competition awards Juno-ready Canadian musicians prizes courtesy of the Juno Awards, the National Music Centre and CBC Music.

By getting to the final round, Reeny Smith accrued national attention to her music and in particular, her song writing.

As Smith says on her website, the thing she’s the proudest of, is developing her craft as a songwriter; and being recognized for all of the hard work she’s put into the depth and realism of her work.

“My biggest achievement thus far has been recognized internationally for my song writing work. Song writing was never something I thought I was good at, so to have reached this level of validation means a great deal to me.”
Since winning the Talent Trust Portia White Award in 2010, Smith has gone on to receive a series of additional awards including the Music Nova Scotia’s African Canadian Artist of the Year award in 2016, 2017 and 2018 as well as Best RnB Artist award in The Coast’s Best of Halifax awards in 2017 and 2018.

Watch the Good Girl Swag official music video