Ottawa Film Festival ready to launch next week

It might not be as glamorous or star-studded as its Toronto counterpart, but the 11th annual Ottawa Film Festival is set to launch March 12 with 80 new films, documentaries and shorts – including showings at Library and Archives Canada on Wellington Street.

Festival president Didier Farré says organizers are happy with this year’s lineup and don’t try to compete with the bigger festivals, such as Toronto’s renowned TIFF.

“It’s pretty tough,” he says of the challenge facing smaller festivals. “There’s not a lot of funding coming out of (the federal government).”

At the Ottawa event, Oscar-nominated films such as Waltz with Bashir and Slumdog Millionaire will play alongside lesser-known films including Lustrale, produced by Ottawa-based Izabel Barsive.

Farré says the City of Ottawa has yet to offer any financial support for the festival. However, the City of Gatineau and the National Capital Commission have both contributed.

“It’s smaller, but it’s still a good way to expose new, young directors and young producers,” says Farré, adding that major film agencies such as the National Film Board and Telefilm Canada will attend the festival.

The festival runs from March 12-20 and will feature both Canadian and international films. The opening and closing nights will be held at the Lac-Leamy Casino in Gatineau. Farré expects more than 1,000 people to attend.

Other festival events will be held at the Museum of Civilization and Cinema 9 in Gatineau.