One World Film Festival Hits Ottawa’s Silver Screen

Film junkies won’t want to miss Ottawa’s 26th annual documentary festival, the One World Film Festival, (OWFF) taking place this weekend. OWFF is Ottawa’s longest-running documentary film festival, focused on raising awareness to global issues with a line-up that promises to deliver some fantastic thought-provoking movies.

Friday’s focus will be on youth and using arts to instigate social change. The evening starts at 6 p.m., with The Year We Thought About Love, by American filmmaker Ellen Brodsky. The film follows a diverse troupe of LGBTQ teens from Boston transform their personal struggles into theatre for social change. The film will be followed by a debate on LGBTQ issues with federal election candidates from Ottawa Centre.  

Later in the evening, Landfill Harmonic takes a look at young musicians of the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura, and their journey from a small community located next to a landfill in Asuncion, Paraguay to the world stage. As they learn to make music with classical instruments fashioned out of garbage, they bring hope to their families, community and audiences worldwide.

Saturday brings a full afternoon and evening of Canadian films. The afternoon starts at 12:30 with a collection of Canadian Documentary Shorts co-presented with Ottawa Indie Fest followed by a Q&A session with filmmakers.

The afternoon and evening focus on Aboriginal issues. At 3 p.m., Martha Stiegman’s powerful documentary, Honour Your Word, takes viewers behind the barricades of Barriere Lake, where an inspiring Algonquin First Nation is working to make sure that governments honour their word.

(For parents looking for child care, there is a full program available for kids from 12-5.

The festival’s focus on Aboriginal rights and environmental issues in Canada continues Saturday evening with Ontario filmmaker Victoria Lean’s After the Last River. Downstream from a De Beers diamond mine, Attawapiskat is a community grappling with urgent environmental and economic issues that are compounded by a lack of access to resource revenues. Filmed over 5 years, After the Last River is a point-of-view documentary that follows Attawapiskat’s journey from obscurity into the international spotlight during the protests of Idle No More.

Charles Wilkinson’s Haida Gwaii On the Edge of the World is the winner of the Best Canadian Feature Documentary Award at the 2015 Hot Docs festival and considers the efforts of West Coast activists from the Haida Nation, who are taking action on environmental issues and asserting their rights with support from allies.

In between movies on Saturday night, a panel will look at Aboriginal law and mining in Canada.

On Sunday, Actions Speak Louder Than Words includes a full day of free films, panels, and interactive workshops ideal for those who want to learn more about and get involved in national and international issues. Inter Pares, the Canadian Institute for Conflict Resolution, and Oxfam Canada will participate. Food security, conflict resolution and the Syrian crisis will be discussed.

Activities on Friday and Saturday take place at the National Gallery on Sussex Drive and on Sunday, the events move to Saint Paul University on Main Street.

Check out the detailed schedule at