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OIFF prepares for jam-packed weekend

By Jared Davidson on October 14, 2015

The Ottawa International Film Festival (OIFF) is preparing for what will be its sixth year. On October 17th and 18th, the festival, held at Cineplex Lansdowne, will showcase over 50 productions from 13 countries, as well as informative panels that will appeal to industry insiders and film buffs alike. With that much on display, there is sure to be a little something for everyone.

“Keeping it over a weekend helps us keep it small,” said festival founder Nina Bains, “but we’ve managed to jam in a lot of elements.”

Indeed. The filmic lineup features web series, movie trailers, music videos, short films, and feature productions. The entertainment is grouped into chunks, involving screenings of combinations of several different mediums. For more information, see the festival’s schedule.

It’s clear that the ambitious little festival is intent on bringing as much of the film and television industry to Ottawa as possible. Yet, according Bains, the OIFF is not focusing on competing directly with larger film festivals like TIFF or the Montreal International Film Festival. Instead, Bains is trying to carve out a niche for the festival by offering awards that appeal to filmmakers from Ontario, as well as those from abroad.

This year, they’re introducing two new awards: an award for Best Post Production and one for Best Film Score. Since Ontario offers tax credits for post production, these awards are aimed at increasing local participation, something that is very important to the festival, and will allow the festival to stand out from its larger neighbours.

“It’s going to take time to build. That’s just our starting base,” said Bains. “Those two awards alone have already attracted a lot of industry people in the city and around the world.”

Photo from the OIFF Facebook page

Photo from the OIFF Facebook page

This year’s OIFF lineup certainly is impressive. Some highlights include The Future Perfect, featuring Zachary Quinto; Wildlike, with Bruce Greenwood; and Jackie Boy, from local director Cody Campanale.

Jackie Boy was filmed in the Hamilton and the GTA, but it had its beginnings in Ottawa as a play called Fragile Minds, which premiered at the Ottawa School of Speech and Drama. The plot follows a man through the intricacies of modern romance as he makes an effort to change for the better the way he relates to women.

“The film is based off my experiences growing up in today’s ‘hookup culture,’” said Campanale. “I wanted to create a film that explores the emotional disconnect of our time as well as the many possible origins of misogyny in young men.”

The resulting work earned Campanale an Ottawa Independent Video Award for Best Director—Narrative this spring, and the film is being featured at the New Orleans Film Festival and the Prestigious Hof International Film Festival.

In addition to the lineup of films, the festival features five panels that promise to educate aspiring filmmakers and those who have already made forays into the field. Some highlights include The Business of Filmmaking, which will feature locally-customized lessons on entertainment law from a group of entertainment lawyers from Edwards Law and a number of established film producers; Engaging Your Audience, an exploration of branding and success in the web series realm featuring Jaimy Warner of Raindance Canada and Darren Morenstein of Next Time Productions and Epic Mealtime; and Miss Conception Actors Panel, a discussion of self-branding, self-image and moving forward as an actor, featuring Degrassi’s Melinda Shankar.

Everything gets started with the 90s-themed Opening Night Gala at The Bourbon Room this Friday the 16th of October. Music will be provided by Ottawa’s own DJ So Nice and Maestro Fresh Wes.

The Ottawa International Film Festival runs October 17th and 18th at Cineplex Lansdowne. For more information and for tickets, see their website.