OCanFilmFest Logo

Ottawa Canadian Film Festival

Our Mission

The Ottawa Canadian Film Festival (OCanFilmFest) is a cultural, not‑for‑profit organization that celebrates Canadian film. Our 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.

Annual Festival Screenings

Our sixth annual film festival, OCan22, took place at the Bytowne Cinema on an unusually warm November weekend. The Call for Submissions for our 2023 Festival opens on FilmFreeway in January.

'Tehranto' voted Audience Favourite at OCan22

The audience at 2022 Ottawa Canadian Film Festival has voted 'Tehranto' the Audience Favourite. Congratulations to director Faran Moradi and the creative team!

"Faran brought us a story that was culturally specific and universal relatable at the same time, and it’s easy to see why it was such a hit with our jury and the audience."
      — Jith Paul, OCanFilmFest Co-founder

It was great to return to a communal, in-person cinematic experience at the historic Bytowne Cinema this year. Thank you to Ottawa Film Commissioner Sandrine Pechels de Saint Sardos for opening the festival, local directors Nicole Bedford, Ramy Raphael, Fitch Jean, and directors March Mercanti, Peter Riddihough, Chris Lennox-Aasen and Faran Moradi who travelled to Ottawa to introduce their films, provide context, and answer questions from the audience and at the festival and at post-festival events. Special thanks to everyone who worked behind the scenes to make this year’s festival a success, and to everyone who attended.

Circle the first weekend of November next year in your calendars. We’ll be back. Our call for submissions for our 2023 festival opens on FilmFreeway in January.

Bytowne Marquee
Tehranto Festival Poster

OCan22 Recap
OCan22 Event Photos
OCan22 Event Photos

About OCanFilmFest

The Ottawa Canadian Film Festival (OCanFilmFest) is a cultural, not-for-profit organization that celebrates Canadian film. Our 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.

OCanFilmFest is artist and volunteer-run, and is strongly committed to fostering diversity in our approach to programming. We strive to achieve this by encouraging film submissions from under-represented independent artists including those who identify as women, non-binary, Black, Indigenous, Persons of Colour (BIPoC), persons from the 2SLGBTQ+ community, and persons with disabilities. We recruit diverse members and voices to our Board of Directors and film selection juries.

Sponsorships, donations, grants, film submission fees, and proceeds from ticket sales are used to fund exhibition / artist fees, that are paid out to filmmakers for the use of their work in our annual festival screenings.

We believe in programming and content that provides Ottawa audiences with entertaining and high-quality independent films, information, activities and events. Our festival, events, online presence and resources aim to encourage collaboration, artistic innovation and creativity while providing access for a broad audience segment. The Ottawa Canadian Film Festival is committed to cooperation and collaboration with other arts organizations as well as the business community. Our programs are interactive, entertaining, educational and great value for the money.

The Ottawa Canadian Film Festival is an evolution of the Treepot Film Festival, independent filmmaker Jith Paul’s series of public screenings that shocased over 150 Canadian independent films at movie theatres, universities, colleges and parks in downtown Ottawa between 2011 and 2014. Although successful and popular with local audiences, Paul decided it was time to take the Treepot screenings to the next level in order further promote independent filmmakers and to reach out and appeal to larger and broader based audiences in a more formalized structure.  The result is the Ottawa Canadian Film Festival, founded in 2015, with our first annual screening in 2017. Since then we have presented Canadian films of various genres and durations from filmmakers across the country at both in-person and online screenings.

OCanFilmFest is a artist and volunteer-run, not-for-profit film festival. Donations are welcome and can be made at PayPal.me/ocanfilmfest.


Check our FAQ page for frequently asked questions about the festival, screenings, artist / screening fees, and film submission process.


Annual Festivals

We host annual in-person festival screenings in Ottawa every November. Out of an abundance of caution we moved the screenings to Vimeo's Video-On Demand platform in 2020 and 2021, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We return to in-person screenings in November 2022!

Activities and Presentations between Annual Screenings

In addition to our annual screenings, OCanFilmFest programs a number of events including screenings, a podcast and web series related to independent filmmaking in Ottawa and elswhere in Canada.

In 2020 we launched ‘Shorts at Home’, a series of short films presented online using Vimeo’s Video on Demand service as a means to continue our mission to promote and celebrate and promote Canadian filmmakers and films in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The films for this series are curated by the OCanFilmFest Board of Directors, the selections are non-competitive and are scheduled to run between the annual festival screenings. In 2021, we extended our artist fee policy to the 'Shorts at Home' selections. In February 2022, we launched a second series, 'OCan Spotlight', which includes feature-length and short Canadian films, also curated by the OCanFilmFest Board of directors.

The OCanFilmFest podcast is available on several major podcast platforms including Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and SoundCloud.

OCanFilmFest proudly accepts entries on FilmFreeway, the world’s #1 way to enter film festivals and creative contests.

Meet the Team

Jith Paul

Jith Paul

Jith Paul is an independent filmmaker based in Ottawa. An engineer by training he decided to take a detour to follow his passion for film.  He began the Treepot Film Festival in 2011, a series of 10 curated screenings at independent cinemas and public parks which evolved into the Ottawa Canadian Film Festival in 2015.

Blair Campbell

Blair Campbell

Blair Campbell is a graduate of the television broadcasting program at Algonquin College in Ottawa. He works as an independent producer focused on providing support to local, independent filmmakers through his collaboration with Moonrise Productions.

Lisa Meuser

Lisa Meuser

When Lisa was younger, she chose a video camera over Disney Land, and as an adult, she still finds time to make films when she is not running her talent agency, The Meus. She is a master at multitasking and drinking coffee — best served with Hawaiian pizza, with a side of inspiration.

Dancia Susilo

Dancia Susilo

Dancia had her start in the Media/Arts & Entertainment Industry at age 5. She has worked with a range of brands and organizations, from Disney to Ottawa’s local Awake At Dawn. Susilo is also a serial entrepreneur and currently works as the executive director of The Missing Link Project, a youth nonprofit.

Nickolas Ebrune

Nick EbUrne

Nick is a graduate student at the University of Ottawa and a lawyer licensing candidate at the Law Society of Ontario. He previously served on the University of Ottawa Students’ Union (UOSU) Board of Directors and as Editor-in-Chief of the student-run law blog Le Flagrant Délit.