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.

22. September 2015 · Comments Off on Five Questions With Mar Y Sol, Director of “Sayachapis” · Categories: Documentaries, Five Questions with..., Ottawa, Short Films · Tags: , , , , ,
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Photo of Mar Y Sol by Jesse Mckinnon

“This film for me has a lot of meaning. My first thought about it is how does one come to terms with their past. If Sayachapis was able to heal himself from his suffering, if he found the strength to get help and heal himself, anybody can do it”, filmmaker Mar Y Sol tells Ottawa Indie Fest when we spoke to her about her award winning documentary film Sayachapis which screens at the One World Film Festival on Saturday September 26, 2015.

Named “52” for ten years, Sayachapis now lives alone on Indian Island, a small island off grid off the coast of Vancouver Island. A residential school survivor, he remembers vividly the hard labor, starvation, rape, broken bones and unimaginable horrors from the years gone by. “I am still alive, I am still ok.”

Update: Ma Y Sol’s Sayachapis was awarded Best Documentary Short at the 26th annual One World Film Festival in Ottawa on September 26, 2015.  Photos

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14. September 2015 · Comments Off on Five Questions With Jennifer Robbins, Director of “Chajil Ch’upup” · Categories: Documentaries, Five Questions with..., Ottawa, Short Films · Tags: , , , , , , ,
Jennifer Robbins

Photo of Jennifer Robbins by Robin Canfield

“I think there is something really powerful about caring about something so much that you would do anything to keep it alive. Meeting the members of Chajil Ch’upup, it really makes you wonder about your own life. Is there something you would get up every morning at the crack of dawn to fight for?”, filmmaker Jennifer Robbins tells Ottawa Indie Fest during a recent interview about her documentary Chajil Ch’upup which screens at the One  World Film Festival on Saturday September 26. 2015.

The film Chajil Ch’upup (Guardians of the Tule) explores the world of Juan, an Tz’utujil Mayan whose family has fished Lake Atitlan (Guatemala) for generations. His generation especially, however, has been subject to major trials created by nature, and also by man. The members of the local fishing cooperative – Chajil Ch’upup – have banded together to work towards a solution and a better life.

How did you get involved in the making of your film?
I was finishing my final year of Humber College where I was studying Film and Television Production and one of my teachers introduced an opportunity to complete the internship by traveling abroad to work on a documentary project. I remember being so excited and running home to research Actuality Media and Guatemala. I immediately knew that I wanted to be a part of the project, I applied to be director and a few weeks later after an interview process, I got in.

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08. September 2015 · Comments Off on Ottawa Indie Fest at the Gallery – Saturday September 26, 2015 · Categories: Documentaries, Media Advisories, News, Ottawa · Tags: , , , ,

OttawaIndieFestOWFF-1024The One World Film Festival (OWFF) in association with Ottawa Indie Fest presents Canadian Documentary Shorts at the National Gallery of Canada on Saturday September 26th at 12:30pm, followed by a Q&A with filmmakers.

Update: Photos from the event on September 26th

Presented as part of the One World festival’s “Our Home on Native Land” program, the four featured films explore the themes of journeys, the sacred, and conservation and reinforce the need for governments to respect and honour the needs indigenous communities and preserve something lasting for future generations.

 

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Searching for Sacred Mountain
| Dir. Gary Marcuse and Shi Lihong | B.C., Canada | 2015 | 20 mins

In the midst of a growing environmental crisis in China, journalists, filmmakers and scientists discover clean air, green mountains, wild animals and an ancient network of ecological reserves maintained by Tibetan Buddhists in the mountains of southwestern China.


Chajil Ch’upup
| Dir. Jennifer Robbins | Ontario, Canada | 2013 | 8 mins

Juan is an Tz’utujil Mayan whose family has fished Lake Atitlan – one of the most beautiful lakes in the world – for many generations. Working together with other members of the local fishing cooperative – Chajil Ch’upup (Guardians of the Tule) – Juan labours with love to sustain the integrity and viability of the lake that supported his ancestors, marking the way forward for his generation and the next.

Sayachapis
Sayachapis
| Dir. Marie Soleil Henri Foisy | Quebec, Canada | 2014 | 21 mins

On a small island off the coast of Vancouver, Sayachapis lives a solitary life. His memories of hard labour, starvation, rape, broken bones and other unimaginable horrors of a childhood spent in residential school remain vivid, and yet he is able to say: “I am still alive, I am still okay.”

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An Object That Has Spirit
| Dir. Howard Adler | Ontario, Canada | 2015 | 27 mins

Five indigenous artists from across Canada come together to create a heritage marker to honour Indian Residential School Survivors and entrust their experiences to public memory. Faced with an enormous task, the artists rise to the challenge, transforming what was originally conceived of as a heritage plaque into an object imbued with spirit.

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OWFF is Ottawa’s longest-running documentary film festival, focused on raising awareness on global issues. One World Arts, Festival House 450 Churchill Ave. N. Ottawa, ON K1Z 5E2, T. 613-912-3378 oneworldfilmfestival.ca

Ottawa Indie Fest is a cultural, not-for-profit organization whose mission is to recognize, promote and celebrate the art of cinema by showcasing independent Ottawa, Canadian and international films and filmmakers. Its 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. ottawaindiefest.com