06. March 2015 · Comments Off on What’s it all about? · Categories: General

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Welcome to Ottawa Indie Fest.  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.

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The Confucius Institute (CI) initiative is a multi-billion dollar Chinese language program found in over 1,500 universities and schools across the world. As new Institutes open at a rate of one every week or two, a global controversy grows at academic institutions around the world as scholars, parents and others question the program’s political influence and purpose.

When Canada’s largest school board is slated to open the world’s largest Confucius Institute, the school trustees find themselves embroiled in this controversy. Joined by a former instructor, hundreds of disgruntled parents launch a campaign to have the institute closed and are confronted by supporters.

Doris Liu

Doris Liu

Into this controversy steps filmmaker Doris Liu and the result is her award winning documentary In the Name of Confucius

Five Questions With spoke with Liu about the challenges she faced in making the film which has its Ottawa premiere at the One World Film Festival on Saturday September 30, 2017.

How did you get in involved in making this film?

As a Chinese-Canadian journalist, I’ve spent years covering news stories related to China and the Chinese diaspora in the Greater Toronto area. In early 2013, I read a Globe and Mail article about McMaster University closing down its Confucius Institute because of the discriminatory hiring policies against which a former instructor, Sonia Zhao, had filed a complaint. The story caught my eye right away as it related to the topics I was interested in: Chinese-Canadians, Canada-China relations, and education – I myself was a university teacher back in China and I also studied education after my immigration.

At first, I didn’t know much about the Confucius Institute (CI) although I heard of it long ago and knew it teaches Chinese language. I did a quick Google search and found lots of concerns and criticisms about the institutes, not only in Canada.

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Johanna Schneller, host of The Filmmakers
Photo source: CBC Media Centre

The Filmmakers is a new 30-minute series of studio conversations with some of the talent behind the greatest Canadian films of the past 20 years.

Airing on CBC and hosted by Johanna Schneller, each of the 11-episodes centres on one film that will air immediately after the talk show.  The series kicks off on Saturday July 22, 2017 at 8:30pm with an interview with Atom Egoyan followed by his The Sweet Hereafter.

Some of the other artists featured include Xavier Dolan, Sarah Polley, Director X, Mina Shum, Kim Nguyen, Don McKellar, Deepa Mehta, Zacharias Kunuk and Jennifer Baichwal.

Guest panelists include Connor Jessup, David Suzuki, Stephanie Morgenstern, Cameron Bailey, Sook-Yin Lee, Eli Glasner, Edward Burtynsky, Cazhhmere and Academy Award-winner Sylvain Bellemare.

Check your local CBC listings to confirm showtimes.

This is the published schedule:

July 22THE SWEET HEREAFTER – Directed by Atom Egoyan

July 29 – STORIES WE TELL – Directed by Sarah Polley

August 5 – LAST NIGHT – Directed by Don McKellar

August 12  INCENDIES – Directed by Denis Villeneuve

August 19 – DOUBLE HAPPINESS – Directed by Mina Shum

August 26REBELLE (WAR WITCH) Directed by Kim Nguyen

September 2 – J’AI TUÉ MA MÈRE (I KILLED MY MOTHER) Directed by Xavier Dolan

September 9WATER – Directed by Deepa Mehta

September 16ATANARJUAT (THE FAST RUNNER) – Directed by Zacharias Kunuk

September 23MANUFACTURED LANDSCAPES Directed by Jennifer Baichwal

September 30ACROSS THE LINE (fka COLE HARBOUR) Directed by Director X

Winner of the Toronto Film Critics Association prize for Best Canadian Feature of 2016, The Stairs is a challenging look at the lives of those who live on the margins.  We saw this film at the Kingston Canadian Film Festival earlier this year and were blown away by the sensitivity of the filmmaker and the amazing access to the subjects in Toronto’s Regent Park.  The film is now streaming on-demand at tvo.org.  Here’s the trailer.

You can access the film directly at the tvo.org site by clicking  this link.

Here’s some feedback we recently received for #ottawaindiefest2017 from a few of our featured filmmakers.

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Thanks again to the filmmakers who submitted films for consideration for inclusion in our inaugural festival program.  Without your films, we’d have no festival.  Watch the playlist of clips from the films below.

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