Our 2020 Annual Festival, OCanFilmFest2020, was streamed online due to the COVID-19 pandemic and out of an abundance of caution. The film festival programme consisted of 18 films—3 feature-length and 15 short films—presented over three weekends in November. The festival also included four Q&A pannel discussions streamed online. Filmmakers participating in the annual festival screenings in November were paid artist fees. We also launched Shorts at Home, a series of short films curated by OCanFilmFest's board of directors. The 10 selections were non-competitive and presented online using Vimeo’s Video on Demand platform 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.

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Media Advisory

December 15, 2020

'and also, for youth' is the 2020 Audience Favourite at the Ottawa Canadian Film Festival

We are pleased to announce that the OCanFilmFest2020 Audience Favourite award goes to and also, for youth. Congratulations to filmmaker Eamon Hillis from Harrowsmith, Ontario and his collaborators!

"When I was young, while driving home from evening hockey practices with my father, we would listen to the AM broadcasts of OHL games. We would sometimes drive in silence together as rain pattered on the windshield. There was something so promising and timeless about these moments, and this was something I wanted to try and capture on film." — Eamon Hillis, director, and also, for youth

We think he succeeded, and it resonated with our audiences who overwhelmingly picked the film as their favourite this year. Check out his show reel which we found on Vimeo. We think it captures a similar vibe.

Information about the festival can be found online on the festival's website: ocanfilmfest.ca.

ocanfilmfest2020 audience favourite

OCanFilmFest2020 Films - Taglines / Synopses and Filmmaker Bios
(Three weekends in November 2020)

Project Cold Days, Stephen R. Coleman (Ottawa, ON) [ Documentary | Feature ]

Suffering from mental health issues and addictions, a diverse homeless population struggles to survive the winter in the coldest capital city in the world.

Stephen Coleman’s artistic career began unexpectedly during a mental health crisis as he experienced profound empathy and compassion for those suffering in the world around him. Coleman’s art practice goes far beyond “making documentary films”. He sees the art form as a powerful method to educate and inspire with captivating narrative, powerful imagery, dialogue and music.

More info: Trailer | Producer Sterlin Fernando's Intro | Filmmaker Panel | Official Website

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The Manhattan Project, Matthew Campanile (Etobicoke, ON) [ Narrative | Feature ]

When a small-town cocktail-enthusiast decides to end his life after being diagnosed with a terminal illness he must deal with the repercussion his choice has on his community.

Born in Toronto, Ontario, Matthew Campanile holds a degree in Film Studies at Ryerson University. His work to date has been in short films, and his first feature film debuted in 2019.

More info: Trailer | Director Matthew Campanile's Intro | Official Website

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The Great Disconnect, Tamer Soliman (Ottawa, ON) [ Documentary | Feature ]

The Great Disconnect is a documentary that uncovers why, in a world seemingly more connected than ever before, people are feeling more and more socially isolated – and the true cost this has on our lives.

Before producing health documentaries, Tamer Soliman built his career as a holistic nutritionist, personal trainer and wellness speaker. Making this film has changed the way Tamer understands true health. Moving beyond simply eating well and exercising, Tamer now believes that in order to live in a state of optimal wellness, you need to have a strong sense of community wellbeing. Currently living in Ottawa, Tamer is partnering up with community leaders locally and internationally to continue to spread the message of this film.

More info: Trailer | Tamer and Sara introduce the film | Filmmaker Panel | Official Website

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Vessel, Ethan Godel (Toronto, ON) [ Narrative | Short ]

VESSEL is a sci-fi comedy that follows two lonely romantics as they go to absurd lengths to be anybody but themselves.

Ethan Godel is Toronto-based Writer/Director and recent graduate of Ryerson’s Media Production program. One of 12 directors selected nationally for the Pendance Film Festival’s inaugural Rise Canada Director’s Lab, Ethan’s filmmaking and video collaborations have taken him to 10 different countries, working with various companies around the world. His most recent short film, Vessel, won the grand-prize of CBC’s nation-wide Short Film Face-off in 2019. The film was awarded a $40K funding package from Telefilm Canada and William F. Whites Int’l towards Ethan’s next short film. Additionally, Vessel screened at over a dozen festivals internationally and was shown on Air Canada’s Enroute Entertainment system. Ethan continues to produce commercial and international projects through his video production company, JnE Films.

More info: Trailer | film613 review | Filmmaker Panel | Vimeo | CBC Gem

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Social Mediation, Matt Pittroff [ Narrative | Short ]

Neil and Charlotte have shared an exciting life together. More importantly, they’ve shared a very carefully curated version of that life on social media. Now it’s up to two attorneys to navigate the process of fairly dividing that public facing life into two lives that leave them feeling just as interesting, enviable and shareable apart as they were together.

Matt Pittroff has been helming very short form stories for nearly two decades. Pittroff’s innate positivity and flexibility turn challenges into exhilarating comedic adventures – deftly balancing the absurd with reality – to create an undeniably accessible brand of humor. His prowess for comedic timing has led to successful commercial campaigns for Hilton Honors, Bank of America, Firehouse Subs, McDonald’s, and National Car Rental featuring celebrity talent the likes of Patrick Warburton and Judy Greer. His work has been showcased in Creativity, AdWeek, SHOOT, and at Cannes.

More info: Trailer | Filmmaker Intro | Filmmaker Panel | Vimeo

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Not Your Average Bear, Cliff Skelton (Vancouver, BC) [ Narrative | Short ]

No job and no prospects for a future. An average Joe gets creative in making a scheme to rob some armed guards. Written by Simon Longmore and directed by Cliff Skelton, “Not Your Average Bear” is a multi- award winning short film that tells the story of a daring robbery pulled off by the most unlikely of culprits. What an average man will do when pushed to his limits.

Cliff Skelton was born and raised on a small ranch in the scenic countryside of Alberta, Canada. At age 20, he ventured to New York City to train at the HB Actors Studio under the great William Hickey. After a successful four-year career in Europe in front of the camera, he embarked into the world of film directing music videos and commercials. With an insatiable appetite for all things visually creative, Cliff learned cinematography, editing, and motion control time lapse.

More info: Trailer | Filmmaker Intro

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Saint-Tite, Florence Pelletier & Élizabeth Marcoux-Bélair (Montreal, QC) [ Narrative | Short ]

Saint-Tite tells the story of a family living their last weekend together at the rodeos of the Festival Western de Saint-Tite.

Florence Pelletier has had the chance to write and direct several short films and documentaries that have appeared at festivals in Québec and overseas. In 2013, alongside Juliette Gosselin, Florence co-directed the fiction short film MES ANGES À TÊTE NOIRE, which won the Horizon Award at Sundance Film Festival. Recently, she completed her first feature documentary, PASSAGES, coming to theaters in Quebec on December 4th, 2020.

Elizabeth Marcoux-Bélair is an actress, screenwriter and director. She starred and co-scripted the short film FOX LAKE with Florence Pelletier in 2016. In 2019, Florence and Elizabeth co-directed their first short film together, SAINT-TITE.

More info: Trailer | Filmmaker Panel

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WESTBOUND / EASTBOUND, Rohan Bader (Etobicoke, ON) [ Experimental / Dance | Short ]

WESTBOUND / EASTBOUND is an underground multicultural dance film.

Rohan Bader (aka Earthtone) is an experimental filmmaker, musician and multimedia artist from Toronto, Canada.

More info: Filmmaker Panel

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i hope they remember my name, Patrick Weiers (Toronto, ON) [ Narrative | Short ]

Struggling with depression, a famous vlogger travels to Asia and documents his search for dopamine.

Patrick Weiers is an emerging Canadian artist and filmmaker who’s been working professionally for over five years. He’s continuously on the hunt to explore contemporary consumption patterns, while expanding the boundaries of cinema. His short films have screened at a handful of festivals across Canada including the Nickel Independent Film Festival and the Oakville Film Festival. He made his international debut at the 2020 South Dakota Film Festival with his latest short film, i hope they remember my name.

More info: Trailer | Filmmaker Intro | Filmmaker Panel | film613 review

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Advances, Tyler J. Seguin (Burlington, ON) [ Narrative | Short ]

Nancy, an ambitious executive, is up for promotion at work – she just has to make it through a dinner party with her husband, Andrew. When a well-meaning colleague suggests that the boss and his wife have a sexual secret, Nancy starts to overthink the situation and the tension around the dinner table increases with each innuendo-filled word and gesture.

Tyler J. Seguin is a Toronto-based creator, director, and performer who is making his debut as a film director with Advances. Known mostly for starring in the award-winning web series, Just Passing Through, Tyler has spent the bulk of his career in live theatre. In addition to directing independent productions with the Toronto theatre company Thought For Food, Tyler’s experience includes work with The Stratford Festival of Canada, The St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival, and the Sudbury Theatre Centre. Tyler has recently completed his second short film, Weed Night.

More info: Trailer | Filmmaker Panel

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Inhale, Brian Chambers (Strathroy, ON) [ Documentary | Short ]

INHALE documents the emotional journey of the Chappell family and how their daughter’s struggle with Cystic Fibrosis has helped them to live in the moment. Cystic fibrosis is a fatal genetic disease affecting over 70,000 children and young adults worldwide. At present, there is no cure.

Brian Chambers is a filmmaker based out of London, Ontario. Upon graduating Fanshawe College, Brian worked on numerous commercials and music videos throughout Southwestern Ontario. Establishing a strong network with other trusted and talented filmmakers in the region, Brian set out to direct his first mini doc “Inhale” – an emotional story about young Kaylee Chappell and her fight against a fatal disease called cystic fibrosis.

More info: Trailer | Filmmaker Panel | Filmmaker Intro

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Guardians of the Grasslands, Sarah Wray & Ben Wilson (Bashaw, AB) [ Documentary | Short ]

Guardians Of The Grasslands is a short documentary brought to you by a group of dedicated conservationists, ranchers and Canadian filmmakers. The film explores the current state of one of the world’s most endangered ecosystems, the Great Plains grasslands, and the role that cattle play in its survival. As we reach new critical levels in the loss of these iconic landscapes, there are important truths we must face about humanity’s relationship with the land and our food.

Sarah Wray and Ben Wilson have a deep passion for sharing powerful stories. Sarah, a farm girl turned social media strategist, and Ben, an aerospace engineer turned freelance filmmaker, started working together in 2009 building an online community called FarmOn.com. Since then, the team have launched their own independent media company, honing their skills and their passion for telling authentic and engaging stories by working with clients across Canada, including many agricultural organizations. Ben and Sarah operate Story Brokers Media House from their home base in the rural community of Bashaw, Alberta, and their work has reached millions of viewers around the world. Their award-winning film, “Guardians of the Grasslands” has been selected by numerous film festivals in recent months, shedding light on the important and controversial topics of food production and climate change.

More info: Trailer | Filmmaker Panel | YouTube

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The Date, Taylor Olson (Halifax, NS) [ Narrative | Short ]

Two single-parent divorcees try their hand at dating again. They have no idea how wrong they’re doing it.

Taylor Olson is an ACTRA nominated actor and Screen NS nominated writer/ filmmaker based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He has directed/ written short films such as Hustle & Heart, Cut, Masc, The Date, and Inceldom or why are the angry men angry. Most recently he wrote/ directed his feature film debut Bone Cage – based on the Governor General award winning play by Catherine Banks – being released this fall. His films have screened internationally and won prizes at CBC’s Short Film Face Off, FIN: Atlantic International Film Festival, Emerging Lens Film Festival, etc. and is currently in production on his sophomore feature film, Look at Me. Taylor is focused on creating a Canadian culture of kindness, courage, and inclusion.

More info: Trailer | Filmmaker Intro | Filmmaker Panel

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StreetSauce! Public Art in Waterloo Region? Paul Campsall & Tom Knowlton (Kichener, ON)
[ Documentary | Short ]

Does street art have a place in our cities? StreetSauce follows works-in-progress, artists and controversies to make a strong case for the importance of public art.

Paul Campsall and Tom Knowlton have each lived and worked in the Waterloo area for more than 30 years. Paul Campsall has been producing films and video through his company, MetaMedia, for more than 20 years. His work as director and camera has taken him to Africa, Asia and South America. MetaMedia has a studio and editing facility in uptown Waterloo. Tom Knowlton has a background in teaching and summer camp leadership and has focused on producing high quality media and materials for a youth audience. His experience includes co-creating/co-hosting the award-winning children’s series, Camp Cariboo (CTV, YTV) and hosting Good Morning Canada for the CTV Network.

More info: Trailer | Filmmaker Panel | Filmmaker Intro

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and also, for youth, Eamon Hillis (Harrowsmith, ON) [ Experimental | Short ]

A young couple experience the ecstasy of youth; those reckless nights, the romantic melancholy, the yearning.

Raised in a small rural community north of Kingston, Ontario, Eamon Hillis is a young cinematographer living in the Toronto area. He is a proud graduate of McMaster University, and is currently finishing his post-graduate studies at Sheridan College. His longtime passion for literature, and deep background in artistic photography continue to educate his style and shape his unique approach to cinematography. His recent narrative and documentary projects have been featured in independent festivals around the world.

More info: Trailer | Filmmaker Intro

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Miracle, Baby, C Hudson Hwang (Toronto, ON) [ Documentary | Short ]

The ultra competitive world of professional sports is daunting for any athletic hopeful, let alone Tampa Bay Lightning forward Cory Conacher. As we explore the young hockey star’s journey to the NHL, we discover that dealing with type 1 diabetes is just one of the many significant challenges he has had to face head-on, and overcome.

The award-winning filmmaker Calvin Hudson Hwang was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. C. Hudson started performing as a youth with the St. Albert Children’s Theatre and gradually progressed to acting roles in commercials, film and television. Following a career in advertising that took him to London (UK), Toronto, San Francisco, and Montreal, C. Hudson transitioned to behind-the-camera after moving to Los Angeles to attend film school. His directorial works have screening internationally at festivals including Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, London, Milan, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Halifax, Ottawa, Berlin and throughout Germany. He is the creative force and executive producer behind the award winning documentary series Real Life Stories. His 3-part documentary series on psoriasis was awarded best patient education programming by the Canadian Dermatologist Association. C. Hudson resides in Toronto, where he is an alumni of Second City Toronto.

More info: Trailer | Filmmaker intro | Filmmaker Panel| Official website

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World Of The Fluffs, Chaisi Glover (Vancouver, BC) [ Stop-Motion Animation | Short ]

This is the documentary of a sentient piece of fluff and his journey to build a home.

Chaisi Glover is a young Canadian Filmmaker. She recently graduated from Sheridan College where she completed her short animated film World of the Fluffs. This film has gone on to be featured in numerous film festivals across the world. She is currently living and working in Vancouver.

More info: Trailer | Filmmaker Panel | Filmmaker intro

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Tessellate, Rob Jacobsen (Vancouver, BC) [ Narrative | Short ]

In a world where the technology to custom-make your personality has been developed, a conflicted technician encounters a client hoping to alter her motor-mouth character.

Rob Jacobsen is a Canadian writer, actor, and director, who has been in a few TV shows you might watch, had a few films in festivals you might have attended, and authored some stories you might have come across. He’s hoping to accomplish plenty more by the time he inevitably dies surrounded by cats while watching reruns of Mr. Robot. Currently, he is the Creative Director of Cave Puppet Films, as well as the co-author of the upcoming Guild Codex: Warped book series with Annette Marie.

More info: Trailer | Filmmaker Panel

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OCanFilmFest2020 Q&A / Discussion Panels
(Three weekends in November 2020)

OCanFilmFest2020 Weekenend 1 Panel

A conversation with the filmmakers featured in the first weekend of the 2020 Ottawa Canadian Film Festival. We talk about the importance of building trust and relationships, approaching filmmaking from different perspectives, creating stories that are meaningful, and how COVID-19 has impacted filmmaking.

  • Hingman Leung - Moderator
  • Sterlin Fernando, producer, Project Cold Days
  • Filip Lee, writer, Vessel
  • Florence Pelletier, co-director, Saint-Tite
  • Tyler Seguin, director, Advances
  • Taylor Olson, director, The Date
  • C. Hudson Hwang, director, Miracle, Baby

OCanFilmFest2020 Weekenend 2 Documentary Panel

We spoke with Tom Knowlton (StreetSauce!) and Derek Lamoureux (Inhale) whose films screened during the second weekend of the OCanFilmFest. We got to answer some audience questions, and talked about different approaches to telling a story through documentary filmmaking.

  • Hingman Leung - Moderator
  • Tom Knowlton, director, StreetSauce!
  • Derek Lamoureux , producer, Inhale

OCanFilmFest2020 Weekenend 2 Narrative Panel

In our second part of the Weekend 2 Filmmaker Q&A, we got to talk to filmmakers who were behind Westbound/Eastbound, World of the Fluffs, and Social Mediation. We got to chat about the craft of telling a story with intention, reflecting on the backstory of how these films came together, and sharing some hope for the future. This panel is not to be missed!

  • Hingman Leung - Moderator
  • Rohan Bader, director, WESTBOUND / EASTBOUND
  • Chaisi Glover, director, World Of The Fluffs
  • Jeff Collins, writer, producer, Social Mediation
  • Matt Pittroff, director, Social Mediation

OCanFilmFest2020 Weekenend 3 Panel

Canadian filmmakers get together at the last panel discussion of the 2020 Ottawa Canadian Film Festival to talk about their films, The Great Disconnect, I Hope They Remember My Name, Tessellate, and Guardians of the Grasslands. Join us as we go behind the scenes to talk about the filmmaking process and the power of visual storytelling for human connection.

  • Hingman Leung - Moderator
  • Tamer Soliman, director/producer/co-writer, The Great Disconnect
  • Sarah Douglas, co-writer/story editor, The Great Disconnect
  • Patrick Weiers, director, i hope they remember my name
  • Sarah Wray, director, Guardians of the Grasslands
  • Ben Wilson, cinematographer, Guardians of the Grasslands
  • Rob Jacobsen, director/writer, Tessellate

Shorts at Home - Volume 1 (May 15, 2020)

Perfect, Karim Ayari [ Narrative | Short ]

“Perfect” is a quirky comedy about one man’s attempt to free himself of any flaws, only to learn that perfection can mean many things.

More info: YouTube | Official Website

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L’homme de la Maison, Karim Ayari
[ Narrative | Short ]

L’homme de la Maison (Before Me) is a bilingual film that explores social intolerance and its impact on children.

More info: Trailer | Official Website

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Andre the Anti-Giant, Kim Saltarski
[ Documentary | Short ]

A 3-foot-something actor / comedian / disability advocate strives to retake the stage following a life-endangering diagnosis in this intimate and inspirational tale of hope, hardship, and hilarity.

More info: Trailer

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As It Was,
Blake Garbe [ Narrative | Short ]

A young boy, Mason, senses that the relationship between his parents isn’t as perfect as he thought.

More info: Trailer

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the art of the morning, Nathan Hauch
[ Cine-Poetry | Short ]

A lyrical look at how one person prepares for the day ahead, savouring each moment.

More info: Trailer

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Shorts at Home - Volume 2 (June 12, 2020)

Angels, Taylor Olson [ Narrative | Short ]

A young Dad struggles to reconcile with protecting his daughter and bringing her up in a world that has nothing to offer her and will only take everything from her.

More info: Trailer

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The Talk, Tyler Boyco [ Narrative | Short ]

Neil and Carol, a husband and wife, try to come up with the perfect way to have the most uncomfortable conversation known to mankind; the sex talk with their teenage daughter.

More info: Trailer

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Baba Yaga, Nicole Sitanski & Cheryl Taam
[ Animation | Short ]

A desperate mother with an incurably ill baby ventures into the dark woods long believed to be the home of Baba Yaga, a mystical witch with the power to change fate.

More info: Trailer

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Away Home, Jana Stackhouse
[ Narrative | Short ]

A man returns to his family home on the East Coast of Canada to unite his family and say goodbye to his terminally ill mother.

More info: Trailer

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Girl in the Hallway, Valerie Barnhart
[ Cine-poetry | Short ]

Why does ‘Little Red Riding hood’ give Jamie nightmares? It’s been 15 years, and the girl in the hallway haunts him still.

More info: Trailer

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Media Advisory

September 29, 2020

Ottawa Canadian Film Festival Offers Its First Online Edition

The Ottawa Canadian Film Festival (OCanFilmFest) is pleased to announce that this year's festival will be available online Nov 6-8, Nov 13-15 and Nov 20-22. Each weekend program provides the opportunity to watch rent either a feature film or shorts selected by our jury in the run-up to this year’s festival.

Festival Co-founder Blair Campbell says “although this year has been challenging for all of us I am excited by the quality of films we received this year and opportunity to continue to show them to the people of Ottawa and beyond through this format.”

This year’s festival will provide plenty of bonus content with filmed interviews with the artists themselves as well as volunteer reviews of the selections.

The Ottawa Canadian Film Festival (OCanFilmFest) is a cultural, not-for-profit organization whose mission is to celebrate 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.

Information about the festival program, the films, filmmakers can be found online on the festival's website: ocanfilmfest.ca.