In 2014, Apartment613 launched an Indiegogo campaign to support a new fellowship program, which would allow us to fund projects that go beyond blog posts and radio segments. Thanks to our generous donors, the program is underway and today, we’re pleased to present our first fellow, Jith Paul!
Jith is a long-time member of Ottawa’s creative scene. The founder of Treepot Media (named for the curious teapot/tree sculpture at Kent and Slater), Jith has produced and collaborated on documentaries and short films that have appeared on national broadcasts and have screened at festivals in Canada and around the world.
Fostering and encouraging collaboration is the name of the game when it comes to Jith and Treepot Media. Treepot.tv, a web-based channel, brought indie musicians and emerging videographers together to cross-promote their work. The Treepot Cliffhanger put filmmakers, writers, actors and local sponsors together for a year-long collaborative cinematic chain letter project. Jith hosted the Treepot Screenings, a series of public showings of over 150 short films and music videos at independent cinemas and parks in Ottawa and co-founded Indie Koala, which provides emerging filmmakers the ability to self-distribute their work to a global audience using video-on-demand services.
For the Apt613 Fellowship Program, Jith decided to turn the camera back on Ottawa’s filmmakers by developing a web series Ottawa Indie Film. Focusing on the vast, diverse array of creative talent of the indie film community in the city, episodes of the series will appear here on Apt613 and be cross-posted on the website for Ottawa Indie Fest, Jith’s latest collaboration.
We talked to Jith about his start in film, why Ottawa is a great town for film, and what’s coming up on the horizon for movie lovers.
So how did you first get involved in film?
I have always been interested in visual storytelling, both as a fan and a creator. My parents had an 8mm camera and we used to make silent home movies that we enjoyed at family gatherings. I think that, and the excitement of seeing films projected on a big screen at the local cinema got me interested in telling my own stories through film.
Why is Ottawa a good place for indie film – both making and watching?
Ottawa has a thriving indie film community. It’s almost like Ottawa’s best kept secret and it shouldn’t be. There are festivals and contests that have filmmakers creating original work almost every month. Filmmakers take advantage of our two independent theatres—the Mayfair and the Bytowne—and several other venues to display their work so there’s no shortage of indie film in Ottawa.
What was important to you about showcasing some of Ottawa’s indie filmmakers?
While we are great at promoting our work among filmmakers and our immediate circles, I find that we don’t do a good job of cross promoting among the various contests, showcases and venues and with the general public. I have hosted several screenings over the past few years at theatres and parks and there are invariably members of the general public who walk up to me and say they had no idea this type of work was being created and shown right in their back yard. The Ottawa Indie Film series of filmmaker profiles is one way I hope to expose the filmmakers and their passion for the work they do to the public at large.
What are you most excited about that’s coming up for Ottawa’s film scene? (films coming up, festivals being organized, etc)
I am encouraged and excited about several new festivals that are starting and continuing for all kinds of niches in our local filmmaker community. The Ottawa Indie Fest is a new initiative that is beginning by hosting gatherings of Canadian indie film fans who meet, chat and then head out to see a Canadian Indie film at a local theatre. Its mission is grounded in the belief that Canadian film and filmmakers are distinctive and vital to our country’s culture and the development of the local economy.
I am also looking forward to the inaugural Ottawa Independent Video Awards (OIVA) on April 11th. Presented by SAW Video, a local not-for-profit, artist-run, media arts centre, the night promises to be an exciting event where all facets of the industry, sponsors and the public get together to celebrate and acknowledge the amazing work created by Ottawa artists.
Check back tomorrow as we launch Ottawa Indie Film, featuring Jith Paul’s first video.