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One World Film Fest 25 years strong

By Courtney Merchand on September 23, 2014

After 25 years strong, One World Film Festival celebrates its anniversary by continuing to do what it does best – challenging world issues through the power of film.

“We decided to keep it smaller this year and focus on celebrating our 25 years,” said festival director, Pixie Cram.

This year, the big focus is on honouring the festival itself. Not only will it be shorter than last year, it will also feature less films. To compensate, One World will be throwing a big birthday bash on Thursday night to kick-off the three day event.

The One World Film Festival was founded in 1989 by One World Arts (formerly the Ottawa-Hull Learner Centre and World Inter-Action Mondial). Since then, it has become the organization’s flagship program and the best reflection of what One World stands to promote: art and global issues.

What makes One World so unique is that after the screening, participants are allowed – encouraged even – to stick around for a panel discussion.

“It’s an opportunity for people to engage in a dialogue about what’s going on in the world,” Cram said. “And an opportunity to discuss what we can do about it here, at home.”

Out of the 60 submissions it received this year, the One World panel selected five exclusive documentaries that truly reflect the organizations mandate.

Last year, each film fell under one of the all encompassing categories: peace, freedom, wealth, and justice. With the big bash already on their plate, One World decided not to set an unambiguous subject this year and chose this years roster of grass-root documentaries solely based on their innovative and thought provoking merit.

But it wasn’t long until one resonating “unofficial theme” emerged. All five films posed the question in one way or another – what is land to us? The question of territory, of origin and of finding out what home really means plays out in a different perspective in each film.

If nothing else, the 25th anniversary of One World Film Festival will be a point of comparison for the many more years to come. One thing’s for sure, it only gets better with age.

The One World Film Festival takes place September 25-27th 2014 at Library and Archives Canada. Tickets will be sold at the door during the festival but can also be purchased online in advance. Click here to download the program guide or see below:


Above All Else – An intimate portrait of a group of landowners and activists in East Texas who tried to stop construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, a $7 billion dollar project slated to carry tar sands oil from Canada to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast.

The 25th anniversary celebrations follow, featuring music by DJ Jas Nasty and cake by Auntie Loo’s. Admission after 9pm is free. Cash bar.


Virunga – Africa’s oldest national park, Virunga, is a UNESCO world heritage site and the last natural habitat for the endangered mountain gorilla – none of that will stop the business interests and rebel insurgencies lurking at the park’s doorstep.

Song from the Forest – U.S.-born Louis Sarno has spent the last 25 years as a member of the Bayaka pygmies, fathering 13-year-old Samedi with a Bayaka woman. After a near-death illness, Louis believes it’s time to keep his promise and bring Samedi to visit his homeland – New York City.


Watchers of the Sky – Four lives are intertwined as director Edet Belzberg sets out to uncover the forgotten life of Raphael Lemkin – the man who created the word “genocide,” and believed the law could protect the world from mass atrocities.

On the Side of the Road – Former West Bank settler Lia Tarachansky looks at Israelis’ collective amnesia of the fateful events of 1948 when the state of Israel was born and most of the Palestinians became refugees. She follows the transformation of Israeli veterans trying to uncover their denial of the war that changed the region forever. View the trailer here: