OCan Film Fest Highlights Ottawa Filmmakers

Mid B • Nov 3, 2023

Rows of red theatre seats (Kilyan Sockalingum/UNSPLASH).


The Ottawa Canadian Film Festival returns for its 7th annual run, from November 2nd to the 4th, at the Bytowne Cinema. The event was created as a way to bring awareness to and celebrate the work of Canadian filmmakers.

“We are returning to the Bytowne Cinema again this year for another in-person experience,” says Jith Paul, a filmmaker and organizer for the festival. “I am particularly proud of the fact that five of the films selected by our jury are from teams with ties to Ottawa and the surrounding area.”

This year’s lineup will feature a range of 18 films, spanning genres ranging from comedy, to drama, animation and more.

This year’s local entries consist of the following:

  • Brise Glace (Broken Waters) is a narrated feature and Canada’s first bilingual drama featuring female Franco-Ontarian characters. Directed by Karolyne Natasha Pickett, it tells the story of a psychiatrist with unconventional methods, who is determined to cure her serial baby-snatching patient.
    A Simple Mix-Up is a narrated short by Maissa Houri, about a murder in the suburbs.
  • Impulse Control is a short narrated comedy by Mikey Tachuk and Sarah Marks. Their film tells the story of a young woman who loses control of her actions and struggles with intrusive thoughts.
    Lunch at the Rideau, which is a documentary by Jane Gurr and Kent Newson, about Ottawa’s beloved Rideau Bakery lunch counter.
  • Life After… a short narrated film by Stephanie Lalonde, follows a woman leading a support group for the grieving.

In addition to celebrating and inspiring others through storytelling, the event also brings awareness to important issues in the hopes of breaking down stigmas.

“My motivation behind making this film was knowing people who have faced a loss to suicide,” says Lalonde. “Having experienced the fear dealing with my own suicidal teen, I can’t and don’t want to ever know the grief of the other side. I told my son that if he kills himself then he kills me too. He hung on to that. There is so little said about the pain and suffering those left behind have to deal with. I felt a light needed to be shed on that side of the subject. Conversations about mental health and prevention is a big topic now. Let’s break the silence on the reality that exists in life after..”

Last year’s lineup included three entries from Ottawa. Included was UOttawa Communications grad, Fitch Jean’s More Than Hair. The film touches on a black boy’s first barbershop experience, while discovering the symbolic power of black hair. Since then, it’s been showcased on the latest season of CBC’s Short Film Face-Off.

For more information, visit Ocan Film Fest.

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