Just before Canada Day the Ottawa Canadian Film Festival had the opportunity to join Izabel Barsive and local Ottawa film maker and musician Lesley Marshallto talk about life as a filmmaker. Principally the life of a female filmmaker. The discussion was full of insights on the challenges of breaking through on an industry that is dominated by men, both in production and, well, all aspects of the industry. As a filmmaker, Marshall has been in the industry long enough to have lived experienced with the limitations that face female filmmakers. But this has not stopped her.
Her life in the arts started young, and her perseverance to see projects and ideas come off the ground is sure encouragement for any filmmaker. Female filmmaker’s can glean that Marshall is a role model for those who can be left on the fringes of the film, and music industry as well. Having predominantly been involved in music video production, and being in a band herself, she can appreciate the art of a music video and what other story it can tell. She teamed up with Canadian band Partner and took that opportunity to create a video that captured the fun of the song “Play the Field”.
Boost, a first solo feature from Montreal director Darren Curtis, is a gritty and thrilling look at 72 hours in the lives of two high-school students who live in Montreal’s tough Parc-Ex neighbourhood. Jahmil French and Nabil Rajo star as Anthony and Hakeem who work at a car wash run by Hakeem’s uncle Ram (Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine), who uses it as a front for more nefarious business dealings. Their friendship is put to the ultimate test when they become entangled with the mob after stealing a car that leads to a windfall of cash, but has dire consequences down the road.
Nabil Rajo won the Canadian Screen Award for best lead actor in a feature film for his role in the film. “You have no idea what this means to a kid from Asmara, Eritrea” Rajo says. “I’ve waited a very long time to see a character like Hakeem on the big screen. Representation does matter.”
2018 is progressing much like we expected it would, discomfort at our world but also the realization that from great distress often comes great art. To that end we are pleased (as punch) at the great quality of films submitted for this years Festival (November 3rd – bookmark it today!). But we need more and I thought I’d take this opportunity to share some of those reasons.
In a world where the modalities for the sharing of artistic vision would seem to be unlimited it is curious to me that this reality, paradoxically, seems to work against the interests of many artists. The challenge isn’t getting it out there, the challenge is getting it seen. Festivals like OCanFilmFest are not a new thing but still play an important role in getting films seen by those interested in doing so. That connective tissue is what is missing whenever an artist throws their work out into the void – huge potential audience but who sees the throw?
OCanFilmFest represents a great opportunity for Ottawa Filmmakers to get their films seen. As a fledging filmmaker myself I can’t begin to tell you how important that is. Everyone wants to be liked (we’re human) but more importantly we want to be thought about, we want ideas, impressions – anything that gives us a perspective on the art we make. Festivals are the still the best way to do that in a fun and supportive environment that respects the audience and the artist equally.
So submit your work, take a chance, take a shot. Not everything will make it but to quote the noted philosopher Wayne Gretzky ” You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”, take yours and we will see you in November!
Cape Breton Island has been showcased as a top tourist destination in Canada for many years. A great deal of chatter has been for its incredibly stunning landscapes and charm. Too add, the vibrant Scottish culture is embedded in the fabric of many communities in Cape Breton. The strong Mi’kmaq and Acadian communities further add to this vibrant Island.
With a deep history as a nautical paradise, the Island also has a long history as an industrial hub in North America. It would be amiss not to recognize the emerging potential from this Island, and it is clear there is some growth in the area of film production on the Island. Just this past weekend, a film showcase was held at Cape Breton University, organized by the newly formed Film Cape Breton. Follow the linkto recent media on the Film Collectives efforts to highlight filmmakers from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. You can find more on Film Cape Breton on their Facebook Group.
In 1907 Dr. Peter H. Bryce, the Chief Medical Health officer for the Department of Indian Affairs wrote a report documenting the inhuman and unsanitary conditions in Canada’s residential schools. Bryson’s report was discredited by the department’s chief bureaucrat Duncan Campbell Scott and he was subsequently relieved of his duties at Indian Affairs.
Decades later, Andy Bryce, great-grandson of Peter Bryce opens a box of family memorabilia that inspires a journey into tracing Peter Bryce’s story from his childhood in rural Ontario to his mysterious death on a cruise ship in the West Indies.
Directed by Peter Campbell and produced by Andy Bryce and Peter Campbell, Finding Peter Bryce: The Story of a National Crime screens at at the historic Mayfair Theatre tonight, May 10th at 6pm. Admission is free, first come, first served. (Presented by Peter Bryce, the Bryce Family and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society)