By Catharine Horsley. Catharine is a 2019 Carleton University film studies graduate, and a major movie buff! She is currently volunteering with the Ottawa Canadian Film Festival as their Digital Media and Outreach Coordinator. In addition, she assists with showing specialty Netflix screenings at various Cineplex locations in Ottawa. Follow @aussie.cat on Instagram.
Films have always been something that people look forward to. They generally provide enjoyment, and also convey a sense of comfort to some people. Lately more films are being viewed online as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, choosing films to watch online can be a laborious task as one scrolls through the various genres, possibly picking a film that they’ve already seen, or trying to find ones that have been recommended to them. How does one choose what to watch?
The answer to this question is simple: watch local films. Local films provide audiences with a more unique and personal viewing experience. And film festivals provide people with the best opportunity to watch these entertaining films. There are several local festivals, some with specific genres. One film festival that is particularly enticing, focuses only on Canadian films—and starts this week—is the Ottawa Canadian Film Festival (#OCAN21).
The Ottawa Canadian Film Festival is a non-profit organization that is independently run by Canadian artists and provides people with the opportunity to experience a variety of film genres from across the country. The festival is typically held at the Arts Court Theatre in Ottawa during the month of November, but due to the pandemic, this year’s fifth annual lineup will be featured online using Vimeo (a video-viewing platform).
The lineup for this year features seven short films and seven feature-length films. The films are available to rent online from November 12th to 21st for a small fee of $0.99 cents per short and $4 per feature. Some of the films are produced directly here in Ottawa, and focus on COVID-19, as well as the impact that the pandemic has had on local businesses. The two films that I am most eager to watch are: Curbside Pickup, and Pinball & Perogies.
Curbside Pickup has become a familiar term coined during these last two years of the COVID-19 outbreak. However, in this film, the term is used to address the challenges of dating during 2020. The film is a short narrative, and it is directed by local filmmaker Hingman Leung. The film was a finalist in the CBC Short Film Face-Off.
Pinball & Perogies, a catchy name for anyone who favours games or food, is a film about one of Ottawa’s hot spots: House of TARG. House of TARG, for those of you who are unaware, is an entertainment venue known for its live music, arcade games, and delicious perogies. The film is a short documentary, directed by Algonquin College graduate Sammy J. Lewis. It centers around the business’ struggles to stay afloat during the pandemic and the effects it has had on the community as a whole.
The Ottawa Canadian Film Festival caters to everyone’s needs and interests, and keeps everyone well-entertained. The festival can provide people with a greater sense of appreciation for film, since those who are watching know that they will be supporting local films and filmmakers. These films also tend to bring people together as a community, and they highlight how Canadian films and filmmakers are proponents of our Canadian culture and economy.
So, if you are someone who is trying to decide what should be next on your watchlist, or you are just easily captivated by cinema, then this festival is for you. Each day you can stay updated with the organization’s social media posts, and then tune in Friday, November 12th, for a binge-worthy week-long party!
The Ottawa Canadian Film Festival runs from November 12 to 21, 2021, during which time films are available for streaming on-demand. Visit ocanfilmfest.ca for the complete program. Streaming passes range from $0.99 to $3.99 per film. Follow @ocanfilmfest on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for more updates.