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.
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.
OCanFilmFest is a volunteer and artist-run, not-for-profit film festival. Donations are welcome and can be made at PayPal.me/ocanfilmfest.
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.
Board of Directors
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 first narrative film 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.
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 A Clean Slate (winner of the Miglior Cortometraggio Internazionale, Best Short Film, International) at the Valle d’Itria Film Festival in Italy, 2014) and Producer of the short film The Gift. He is currently co-producing, writing and directing the upcoming documentary web series pilot Under The Ink.
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 DARC in Ottawa.
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.
Manuel Sousa is a graduate of the former youth program at DARC; 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.
Catharine Horsley is a film studies graduate from Carleton University, who is addicted to the cinema. She is very passionate about art, photography, and filmmaking.
Her favourite film of all time is Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers, and her dream is to become a screenwriter or film critic.
When Catharine isn’t watching movies, she finds joy in reading, writing, painting, and cooking.
She enjoys getting to explore different cultures, and connecting with the people in her community.
Since moving from the countryside to Ottawa, she’s wanted to immerse herself in the city’s film scene in order to gain experience.
Due to her affinity for writing, last year, Catharine decided to write some film reviews for the festival’s 2020 program line up. She enjoyed analyzing the films so much that she was very eager to get started working in a more prominent role with the Ottawa Canadian Film Festival.
OCanFilmFest is an Organizational Producing Member of Digital Arts Resource Centre (formerly SAW Video). DARC 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. DARC has been a sponsor of OCanFilmFest since its inception and we look forward to collaborating on ongoing and future initiatives.
Collaborations and Partnerships
Ottawa Black Film Festival
Created by the Fabienne Colas Foundation, a not-for-profit artistic organization dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion in the arts, the Ottawa Black Film Festival was launched in 2021 and is designed to showcase recent and relevant Black films. We co-presented the panel “The Show Must Go On! Filming in a Time of Covid” at the inaugural edition of the festival.
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 programmed a series of films by local and pan-Canadian filmmakers at a special yearly summer events in 2015, 2016 and 2017 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 SAW Video’s (now DARC) inaugural Ottawa Independent Video Awards in 2015 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.
It addition we continue to promote and support numerous events and screenings of independent Canadian films on an on-going basis such as DARC‘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.