About Ottawa Canadian Film Festival 

Our Mission

The Ottawa Canadian Film Festival (OCanFilmFest) is a cultural, not-for-profit organization whose mission is to recognize, promote and celebrate the art of cinema by showcasing Canadian films and filmmakers. 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.

Our Vision

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.

OCanFIlmFest2019 Board (L-R Jith Paul, Megha Dash, Manuel Sousa, Blair Campbell)


The Ottawa Canadian Film Festival was founded as result of independent filmmaker Jith Paul’s series of public screenings of over 150 Ottawa based and Canadian independent films for a period of four years. Known as the “Treepot Film Festival“, they were committed to fostering collaboration and learning amongst emerging filmmakers. Paul successfully curated and presented short films, documentaries and music videos with trailers and promos at independent movie theatres, universities, colleges and parks in downtown Ottawa.

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 and as a result the Ottawa Canadian Film Festival was born.

Festival Directors

Jith Paul

Jith Paul is an independent filmmaker based in Ottawa. An engineer by training (Honours B.A.Sc., University of Waterloo) he decided to take a detour to follow his passion for film.  A graduate of the television broadcasting program at Algonquin College, Jith founded Treepot Media in 2010.

Films he has produced, directed and edited have screened at festivals around the world, including his directorial debut Algebra, which was featured at Festival international Entr’2 marches in Cannes in 2015, and A Clean Slate which was awarded Best International Short Film at the Valle d’Itria Film Festival in Italy.  His most recent project is Karim Ayari’s Before Me, a bilingual narrative film that explores social intolerance and its impact on children.

Jith began the Treepot Film Festival in 2011.  Short films and documentaries he curated for the festival were screened at independent cinemas and public parks in Ottawa between 2011 and 2014.  This series of 10 screenings evolved into the Ottawa Canadian Film Festival in 2015.

Jith is Team Lead for Digital Development at CPAC, the Cable Public Affairs Channel, an active member of the SAW Media Art Centre and freelances as a photographer, camera operator and editor.


Blair Campbell

Blair Campbell is a graduate of the television broadcasting program at Algonquin College in Ottawa. As founder of 4SightMedia.ca and co-founder of OcanFilmFest he focuses on providing production services to independent filmmakers.

He is the Executive Producer of A Clean Slate (winner of the Miglior Cortometraggio Internazionale, Best Short Film, International) at the Valle d’Itria Film Festival in Italy, 2014) and is the Producer on The Gift, currently in post-production.

Blair is interested in new projects that engage, entertain and bring something new into the lives of audiences around the world. He is an active member of the SAW Media Art Centre in Ottawa.


Manuel Sousa

Manuel Sousa is a graduate of the former youth program at SAW Media Arts Centre; Rural Urban Youth Connection. While a professional administrator by trade he keeps his passion for video production alive through ongoing participation in workshops, self-directed learning, following industry trends and volunteering on local productions.

In 2015 he was the recipient of an award in recognition of over 100+ volunteer hours contributed towards the production of two local independent series.

Motivated mainly by his desire to be surrounded by successful people, Manuel is currently pursuing the creation of a success focused consulting business. In his free time Manuel enjoys playing beach volleyball, listening to epic music, photography and writing. He is currently working on writing his first fantasy science fiction novel.

In addition to being a director for the festival, Manual will serve as the Volunteer Coordinator for our 2019 screenings.

Megha Dash

Megha Dash

Megha Dash has a background in scientific research and holds a Masters in Biotechnology from North Orissa University in India.  Awarded graduate school funding in 2010, she spent four years researching wild aquatic species in Finland and Estonia.

Megha is passionate about filmmaking and performance arts and likes to explore perspectives in storytelling and the art of documentary film making.   She cares deeply about the potential for local cinema to connect individuals with the many faces of society and the wild natural world that surround us all.  Since her arrival in Ottawa, she has volunteered at a local TV station and has served as event photographer at various local art projects and OCanFilmFest.

She aspires to be a business professional, currently polishing her sales and marketing skills in a local artisan company.

Megha serves as a Board member at the OCanFilmFest and is a vital part of the organizing and marketing team for the festival.


OCanFilmFest is an Organizational Producing Member of SAW Video. SAW Video is a not-for-profit, artist-run media art centre that fosters the growth and development of artists through access to equipment, training, mentorship, and programming.  SAW Video has been a sponsor of OCanFilmFest since its inception and we look forward to collaborating on ongoing and future initiatives.

OCanFilmFest Presents Series (launched in 2019)

OCanFilmFest Presents: Secret War February 2, 2019 at SAW Video’s Knot Project Space. Filmmaker Emanuela Campanella and Alison Vandergragt, Program Director of The War Horse Project in attendance. 📷 Megha Dash (larger photos)

We are levelling-up in our third year and adding a series of free short film screenings throughout the year at venues spaces screening spaces provided by collaborators.

OCanFilmFest Talks Series (ongoing)

Launched in 2018, OCanFilmFest Talks features short interviews and artist talks with Canadian filmmakers.





The Ottawa Canadian Film Festival’s 2018 Film Festival Program screened at the Arts Court Theatre (2 Daly Avenue, Ottawa) on November 3, 2018.

For more information about the films and filmmakers, check out our 2018 Festival page.




On June 3, 2017, under its former Ottawa Indie Fest banner , the Ottawa Canadian Film Festival had its inaugural all day screening of Canadian independent films at the beautiful La Nouvelle Scène Theatre in the heart of Ottawa’s art district.

Click here for a recap of the event.

Partnerships and Collaborations

One World Film Festival
We have developed a strong relationship and collaboration with One World Arts’ One World Film Festival such as programming a series of Canadian documentaries in 2015 at the National Art Gallery of Canada and co-presenting a number of Canadian documentaries in 2017 at Saint Paul University.

Ottawa Champions Baseball Club
In partnership with the Ottawa Champions Baseball Club, we have programmed a series of films by local and pan-Canadian filmmakers at a special yearly summer event at the Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton Baseball Park with the aim of presenting films to sports fans and potential new film going audiences.

Ottawa Independent Video Awards
We have supported and participated in the SAW Video Media Art Centre’s inaugural Ottawa Independent Video Awards by sponsoring “The Best Director Under 25 Award”. By sponsoring this award, we encouraged young filmmakers in the craft of creating and telling stories that entertain and captivate audiences locally, nationally and internationally.

Morgana McKenzie, winner Best Director Under 25 at #OIVA2015, photo by Timothy I. Smith

Canadian Indie Film Nights and Events
Our organization has supported and promoted The Lost Dominion Screening Collective‘s screening of the Canadian films such as The Luck of Ginger Coffrey, Skip Tracer and On the Trail of the Far Fur Country at the ByTowne Cinema.

It addition we continue to promote and support numerous events and screenings of independent Canadian films on an on-going basis such as SAW Video’s Jumpstart Screenings and the Canadian Film Institute‘s talks with filmmakers and the screening of their films.

Treepot Film Festival (2011-2014)

The founders of OCanFilmFest were part of the Treepot Film Festival, a series of 10 curated screenings of short films, documentaries, music videos and feature films screened at independent cinemas and parks in the Ottawa area between 2011 and 2014.  Click on the graphic below for more information on the screenings, the featured films, filmmakers and selected press coverage.


Our Call for Submissions for #OCanFilmFest2019 is now closed.  Stay tuned for the selections from the jury in early September.  Screenings take place on November 1 and 2 at Arts Court (2 Daly Avenue).