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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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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Here are some photos from today’s screening at the Ottawa Indie Fest : Canadian Documentary Shorts screening at the 26th annual One World Film Festival at the National Gallery.

Curators Ed Kucerak, Blair Campbell, Jith Paul and Filmmakers Jennifer Robbins, Mar Y Sol and Howard Adler. Photo: Emily Ramsay

Curators Ed Kucerak, Blair Campbell, Jith Paul and filmmakers Jennifer Robbins, Mar Y Sol and Howard Adler. Photo: Emily Ramsay

The 26th annual One World Film Festival programme centrefold featuring Ottawa Indie Fest's Short Documentary Screening

The 26th annual One World Film Festival programme centrefold featuring Ottawa Indie Fest’s Short Documentary Screening Photo: Jith Paul

Congratulations to Mar Y Sol whose short film 'Sayachapis', about a residential school survivor who now lives in isolation on Indian Island was awarded Best of Fest (Short Film) by the jury of the 26th annual One World Film Festival this evening. She is pictured here with festival manager Jessica Ruano.

Congratulations to Mar Y Sol whose short film ‘Sayachapis’, about a residential school survivor who now lives in isolation on Indian Island was awarded Best of Fest (Short Film) by the jury of the 26th annual One World Film Festival this evening. She is pictured here with festival manager Jessica Ruano. Photo: Jith Paul

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