30. May 2017 · Comments Off on Five Questions with Lasha Mowchun, Director of “Hue Quilted Windowpane” · Categories: Canadian Filmmakers, Five Questions with..., Short Films · Tags: , , , , , , ,

In the short film Hue Quilted Windowpane imaginary love is better than real loneliness as Edi, a lonely woman finally finds love when Elvis Presley charms her through the television.

As a host of the Shopping Channel, Elvis can communicate with Edi privately as she watches the screen. He even dazzles her with a real cubic zirconia ring! But when he promised to come by to deliver the pantyhose she ordered from the telly, Edi must wait to see if the man of her dreams will appear in reality.

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Lasha Mowchun

Fascinated by this pop art gem, Ottawa Indie Fest had a chance to speak to Lasha Mowchun, director of Hue Quilted Windowpane about the inspiration for and making of her film which has its Ottawa premiere at Ottawa Indie Fest on Saturday June 3, 2017, 11:00am.

Where did you get the idea for your film?
I grew up as the daughter of a psychiatrist worried that, like many of my family members, I would one day become schizophrenic. My dad would often tell me frightening stories about people suffering. This scared me because of my family I am predisposed to schizophrenia. Luckily I never became sick with schizophrenia, but the threat loomed for much of my teenage and early adult life because this is the typical onset period.

One story my dad told me stuck out in my mind because unlike the others it wasn’t really negative. It was actually kind of fun. One of his patients was a very sweet older woman who had suffered with schizophrenia her whole life but managed to retain her gentle demeanour. Some of her delusions seemed kind of pleasant. The little birds outside her window would talk to her. This film is based off of a particularly dazzling auditory hallucination she had. She was a big Elvis fan and when she put on her pantyhose she said she could hear Elvis singing in her legs. Imagine being able to hear music through your legs! This idea made the illness seem less damaging. In this film, I explore the potentials of altered perception to teach us new things about the body and love.

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29. May 2017 · Comments Off on Five Questions With Tim Alberts, Co-director of “Sisyphus Rides” · Categories: Documentaries, Five Questions with... · Tags: , , , , , , ,

Sisyphus Rides tells the story of Vince Vetro, founder of The Lending Journey a micro-finance organization which provides micro loans to underprivileged Nicaraguan women. In an effort to raise awareness of the plight of the poor in Central America, Vince and a group of rural Nicaraguan women cycle across Nicaragua. What follows is the slow unravelling of his organization, and a soulful examination of what constitutes real success and failure in international development.

Tim's Photo for 5QW

Tim Alberts

The film’s title and central metaphor is based on Sisyphus a character in Greek Mythology who has a great passion for life but angers the gods by putting Death in chains. His punishment is fitting. Sisyphus isn’t sentenced to death. Instead, each day, he must roll a boulder up a mountain only to have it fall back down each night.

For some, Sisyphus‘ fate may seem hopeless, but for Vince Vetro – life’s meaning is found in struggle itself. What drives Vince to fight the odds so clearly stacked against the poor in Central America? The film examines Vince’s decision to exchange “the good life” in Canadian business for the constant challenge of third world micro finance.

Intrigued and wanting to learn more about the film, which has its Ottawa premiere Saturday June 3, 2017 at 5:00pm, Ottawa Indie Fest spoke to Tim Alberts, the film’s co-director.

How did you got get involved in making a documentary on this subject?
The project began with a chance encounter with Vince Vetro at a music festival in Guelph Ont. Vince is the founder of an independent micro finance NGO called The Lending Journey. I had known him years earlier but we’d lost touch. He told me about what he’d been doing over the past 12 years in Nicaragua and Ecuador, arranging micro loans for women in remote areas to start small businesses. He also talked about his plans for a fundraising cycling excursion across Nicaragua, from Costa Rica to Honduras, a climb of about 7000 feet. This became the first of several meetings over the course of the summer.

Lisa

Lisa Lightbourn-Lay

Lisa Lightbourn Lay (co-director) and I admired the work of The Lending Journey and were drawn to Vince’s story, but we wanted to make sure that any potential film project would yield a documentary film and not just a promotional video for the organization. It was during one of these meetings that I turned to Lisa and said, “You know what this is. This is the myth of Sisyphus; a story about persistence in the face of unending struggle.” Lisa came of up with the title, Sisyphus Rides and that became the central metaphor for the film. We didn’t want to make a film in defence of micro finance or any other methodology in international development. We wanted to explore Vince’s determination to pursue his goal long after it seemed logical to do so. This is the untold part of the Sisyphus story. What are the good things that happen while pursuing what turns out to be an unattainable goal?

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“As I filmmaker I grew up loving animation and comic art in hopes of telling stories that I could create and tell. Watching movies like Tim Burton’s Batman or the 90’s TMNT films and shows made me love the medium,” director Yaron Betan tells Ottawa Indie Fest during a recent conversation about his feature documentary film Heroes Manufactured.Yarton with Poster in BG

Winner of five awards and the official selection in 30 international film festivals, the film explores the world of Canadian independent artists who are trying to break into the comic book industry while dealing with fandom and the craze of comic book conventions, super heroes, cos-players and everything else the comic-con markets have to offer.

Heroes Manufactured has its Ottawa premiere on Saturday June 3, 2017, 11:00am at Ottawa Indie Fest 2017.

How did you get involved in making a documentary on this subject?
Comic books have always been a passion of mine while growing up. I had produced a number of documentaries and feature films in the past and wanted to create something that I really loved and appreciated. Comic creation, illustration and story telling have always been a subject I had interest in.

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The feature film Broken Mile, told in real-time and presented as a single unbroken take, follows a drug addict who awakens to find the girl he is with is dead. To escape the consequences, he seeks the help of his ex-girlfriend while they dodge a mysterious figure who chases them around the city with a gun.

justin mcconnell 5QW Version

Broken Mile director Justin McConnell

Wanting to learn more about this tense real-time thriller, Ottawa Indie Fest spoke to the film’s director Justin McConnell about the making of his film which has its Ottawa premiere at Ottawa Indie Fest on Saturday June 3, 2017 at 8:00pm.

What motivated the single take idea?
It was partially practical, and partially story based. The primary reason was practical, though. I had such a limited budget that I was trying to figure out how I could economically shoot a film in the fewest number of days possible, which would mean paying less for actors and crew. But as I began to develop the story I realized that it really would only work if told in real time, so the audience can live in each moment as it plays out. It became about being a window into an 82 minute period of these character’s lives when this horrible thing happens.

How difficult was it to present the story in a single take?
Execution was definitely a huge challenge. But I should get this out of the way now and state that the film is not a true single take. That’s why the marketing says ‘presented as a single unbroken take’. It is actually 8 long takes with 7 very well-planned hidden cuts. We even ended up reshooting the opening 6 minutes of the film two months after we wrapped.

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22. May 2017 · Comments Off on Five Questions With Kim Saltarski, Director of “Andre The Anti-Giant” · Categories: Canadian Filmmakers, Documentaries, Five Questions with..., Ottawa · Tags: , , , , , ,

“Andre was such a ‘human beacon’ in the sense of how he made the most of life despite facing extremely daunting physical challenges. He was a 3-foot-something comically fuelled, socially conscious, disability activist tank of a man”, director Kim Saltarski filmmaker tells Ottawa Indie Fest during a recent interview about the subject of his documentary “Andre The Anti-Giant” which has its Ottawa premiere at Ottawa Indie Fest on Saturday June 3, 2017 at 8:00 pm.

Andre & Kim

Andre H. Arruda and director Kim Saltarski

Andre the Anti-Giant is the remarkable journey of 3-foot-something actor, comedian, and disability advocate Andre H. Arruda. Although born with a rare genetic condition, Andre hasn’t let it or misguided ableist preconceptions prevent him from fulfilling his show business dreams. Supported by a loving family, Andre defied an early prognosis that he wouldn’t live beyond his teens, becoming a regular at Toronto comedy clubs despite their limited accessibility and the harassment of those who insist on defining him by his stature. When a new medical complication threatens to leave him paralyzed, Andre must summon that defiant spirit yet again in order to retake the stage.

 

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10. May 2016 · Comments Off on Five Questions with Steven Hunt about his Web Series “Past Redemption” · Categories: Canadian Filmmakers, Five Questions with..., Ottawa, Web Series · Tags: , , , , , , ,
Steven Hunt 5QW Photo

Photo of Steven Hunt by Susan Murdock

“I have never really thought of doing a narrative film until my son Dylan asked me to help him on one of his high school projects. He wrote a script about a fictional town called Redemption where nothing was sacred except blood, money and religion. What eventually emerged was a complete and complex world of a fictional town,” replies filmmaker Steven Hunt. Ottawa Indie Fest spoke to Hunt at his home about his web series Past Redemption.

Steven Hunt, a seasoned director and producer, has worked in Latin America and Africa on numerous broadcast and communications projects. His documentaries on various social issues have appeared on Canadian, European and New Zealand television.

Past Redemption is a 9-part character-driven web series about survival in a small impoverished town, where you can be law abiding and live in poverty, or be involved in petty crime where prospects improve dramatically. It is also the historical birthplace of a major crime family – the Wesley’s.

The web series will have a special premiere screening at the Mayfair Theatre on May 19th at 7pm. It will also appear on line, as nine separate episodes released every second Thursday starting June 2, 2016.

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