Ottawa’s female filmmakers celebrated at Digi60’s spring 2019 festival

All photos by Frank Pomerleau

If you’re interested in film and live in Ottawa, chances are you’ve heard of Digi60: Ottawa’s original digital filmmakers’ festival, providing a platform for new and emerging filmmakers to create short films. Valuing artistic achievement and excellence, Digi60 provides the foundation for creating and sustaining a vibrant and supportive filmmaking community.

On May 5th, 2019, Digi60 hosted its annual Spring Festival at the Mayfair theatre. In the lead-up, filmmakers had just three weeks to create an original, three-minute short film on the theme of ‘Adventure’ – inspired by Ottawa-based travel app, Wandure.

This year’s festival was special for more than one reason—for the first time, over half of Digi60’s filmmakers were women-identifying.

“We are always excited to partner with SAW Video for the SAW Video Female Filmmaker Award,” said Emily Ramsay, Executive Director. “To have over 50% of our filmmakers identify as women allows us to provide further opportunities for women filmmakers to participate in the festival and for this wonderful prize to be shared with a deserving artist.”

Jury members included: Tracy Bacenas (two-time Emmy nominated film and television editor), Tyler A. Williams (filmmaker and musician born and raised in Ottawa), Carla Custance (TV, film and literary writer), Ben Hoskyn (freelance director, producer, and cinematographer), and Stef Armstrong (Vancouver-based producer).

And without further ado, the winners were as follows:

  • The Acting Company Emerging Actor Award: ‘Ennui Fatale’ (Tina Prud'homme & Stephanie Simpson)
  • SAW Video Female Filmmaker Award: ‘Aliya’ (Laurianna Cardiano-Dumas & Meghan Baines)
  • Best Director Award: Laurianna Cardiano-Dumas & Meghan Baines (‘Aliya’)
  • Best Screenplay Award: ‘Ennui Fatale’ (Tina Prud'homme)
  • Digi60 Spirit of the Festival Award: Ashley Gorman (‘Teddy’)
  • Top 5 Films: ‘Falling For YOU’ (Brian Briggs), ‘Aliya’ (Laurianna Cardiano-Dumas & Meghan Baines), ‘Ms. Adventure’ (Martin Rodriguez), ‘Darkest Before Dawn’ (Vincent Valentino), ‘Daydream’ (Antonio Najera)
  • Best Film Award: ‘Aliya’

‘Aliya’ followed the journey of one woman from childhood to adulthood, beautifully capturing the highs and lows of life in just three minutes. As Digi60 President Kevin Burton pointed out—no-one in the audience expected the two women behind such a masterful film to be so young.

'Aliya' creators (left: (Laurianna Cardiano-Dumas, & right: Meghan Baines)

“The energy on set was so encouraging and enthusiastic,” said ‘Aliya’ creators, Cordiano-Dumas and Baines in a joint statement. “it’s an experience we will treasure for a long time.”

Dates for Digi60’s fall festival will be announced soon. If you’re a filmmaker looking for— your next challenge—stay tuned!