• By: Samantha Lapierre

Navigating Mirror Mountain with Christopher Rohde

Photo provided by Christopher Rohde.

Christopher Rohde is the Festival Director of the Mirror Mountain Film Festival. The fest is bringing independent, underground and alternative cinema to Ottawa from December 4th to the 6th. Rohde is an award-winning filmmaker and Carleton University alumni. OLM chatted with Rohde to talk about the festival’s goal, why filmmakers should be submitting and how folks can get involved.

This interview was conducted by email and edited for clarity.

Ottawa Life Magazine: Tell me about yourself!
Christopher Rohde: I’ve been an independent filmmaker for over 10 years, and I’ve been creating film-based events in Ottawa for almost as long. Before starting Mirror Mountain, I was the programmer at SAW Video Media Art Centre and a programming member of Available Light Screening Collective. I’m passionate about film in all its forms!

Rhode 2
Photo courtesy of Tim Smith

OLM: What is the goal of Mirror Mountain Film Festival?
Rohde: We want to provide the people of Ottawa with an inclusive festival that showcases all genres and types of films and brings together all kinds of people to share in the collective cinema experience. The festival is more than just showing movies, it’s about creating a memorable experience, so in addition to film screenings, we’ve got some great engaging activities lined up like live music performances, panel discussions and Q&As.

OLM: Why is it being held in Ottawa, specifically?
Rohde: Ottawa is my hometown and I wouldn’t want to do it anywhere else!

OLM: What types of films and filmmakers is MMFF looking for?
Rohde: A lot of independent filmmakers emulate the most dominant or popular styles of the day. We want to see the sorts of films that are totally individualistic and play by their own rules. We also want to see works from filmmakers that are typically underrepresented by the mainstream media. The best part about running this festival has been witnessing so many unique visions from filmmakers around the world, with distinct voices and stories to tell.

OLM: Why should a filmmaker submit to MMFF?
Rohde: Mirror Mountain has a lot of features and perks for filmmakers that aren’t typical for a film festival. For instance, every filmmaker that applies, regardless of whether or not their film is accepted, receives a free pass to attend the entire festival. And because we believe in supporting the talent and creativity to be found in our own city, local productions that were created in the Ottawa-Gatineau region can be submitted for free at any time of the year.

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Photo courtesy of Laura Jasmine

OLM: What are some ways non-filmmaker folks can become involved in the festival?
Rohde: Everyone is welcome to attend our screenings, special events and parties and become part of the community. We also offer opportunities for people to contribute by becoming patrons of the festival or to lend a hand by volunteering in December. The festival is offering numerous rewards to thank patrons and volunteers for their support, including free passes, coupons for local restaurants, and special acknowledgements in festival materials.

If you want to learn more about Rohde’s work, or the Mirror Mountain Film Festival, check out their website.