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Digi60 Filmmakers Festival Poster by Shrinidhi Sridhar

Digi60: “Growth” and the filmmakers festival—12.20.19 to 12.22.19

By Chris Cormier on December 16, 2019

From December 20 to 22, join Ottawa-Gatineau’s independent filmmakers for the 2019 edition of the Digi60 Filmmakers Festival. Founded in 2004, the 15th edition of the event features a unique combination of short-film screenings and professional workshops geared towards fostering and sustaining our grassroots film scene. Digi60 was, and remains to this day, a volunteer run, not-for-profit run for and by filmmakers. The short film screenings take place at the Ottawa Art Gallery on December 20 and 21 while the professional workshops take place at Arts Court Theatre on December 21 and 22.

Screenshot from Sand and Stone by Julian Bate-Vergette & Mark Templin

The festival’s name, Digi60, actually references two components of the festival’s origins. Digi, from the word digital, indicates that the short films were all produced using digital filmmaking techniques. While ubiquitous today, an entirely digital workflow for films in 2004 was not the industry standard at the time, and the festival provided a safe and constructive platform for filmmakers to transition to this new medium. 60 stands for 60 days which is the total time filmmakers are allotted to write, film, edit, and submit their film to the festival.

Screenshot from Night Drive by Arjan Atwal & Savannah Greydanus

Utilizing a 60-day submission deadline means that Digi60 is what is known as a “catch festival” where teams are given a “catch” or theme to incorporate into their film. Each year’s theme is announced to all the interested filmmakers at the launch event, which took place on October 5 this year. Similar short-turnaround events take place all over the world and are known as races or sprints, some of which allow only 24- or 48-hour submission timelines. The Digi60 timeline was set to allow teams—often writers, actors, producers, directors, editors, etc.—to produce unique content to a level of quality that will allow it to have a life beyond the Digi60 screenings.

The theme for this year’s event is “Growth” which serves to provide a common thread across all the submitted films. With over 40 films submitted across three screening categories—Documentary (in partnership with Algonquin College), Community, and Scripted (two blocks of films)—there is plenty to take in over the two screening days. This year even includes a contribution from fellow Apt613ers Hingman Leung and Livia Belcea, whose film “Found Me” is showing in the second Scripted screening.

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Thank you to our community of people from sponsors, to filmmakers, to jury members, to film fanatics and the many more who came out to our 2019 Media Launch Party! We were so excited to screen the 2019 Fall Festival trailers! We look forward to seeing you all for the festival on the 20th to the 22nd at the Ottawa Art Gallery! . . . @topshelfpreserves @lazy__gaga @nomfymoloi @momolambkin @amenjafri @jaymichaelharris @johnwtandrews @benbergeronfilms @jesslafrance @DanDeMarbre @beestarfox @officetuesdays @krynnw @marleyransom @nicolebedfordfilms @owlfairy @nomfymoloi @karolus @miss_maissa @rtvottawa_experts @themeus @thisismyrealm @christiankkalambay @gaylenakamoto @allanhansen @saifulwadudhelal @macdonaldcinema @maxwellmcguire @fourthwalldecor @stephotosfood @kinoottawa @veryvienna @kathistellad @adrian.langley @therivermen @itsalaz

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As I mentioned previously, aside from the screenings there are a number of professional development workshops and panel discussions. Geared towards new and emerging filmmakers who have registered in the festival, the workshops provide a unique opportunity to improve pitching, receive director feedback, and learn more about the importance of things like composition and lighting. The panel discussions provide insight into a wide range of industry topics like genre films, success and failure, and documentary films as “real-life” storytelling. All together, these workshops and panels serve to elevate Digi60 from a film festival to a vital component of Ottawa-Gatineau’s creative community.

The Digi60 Filmmakers festival runs from December 20–22 with events at the Ottawa Art Gallery and the Arts Court Theatre. Schedules, locations, and other information can be found on their website or their Facebook page.