For the past 20 years, Ottawa’s been home to the One World Film Festival, which raises awareness about social and global issues while exposing audiences to great documentaries. Now in its 21st year (and co-chaired by a friend of mine, so pay attention), the fest is the brainchild of World Inter-Action Mondiale (WIAM), a non-profit org that uses art and film to spread its message about economic, political, and environmental challenges the world over. That message — and its medium — has proven to be popular; 21 years is a lion’s age for a volunteer-run film festival, and its organizers year in and year out have our gratitude.
They also best describe their mandate, so let me step aside for a piece: “The Festival is committed to presenting innovative forms of film and video as a medium for raising public awareness of world issues. It is both a celebration of documentary film and a powerful forum for filmmakers, activists, the public, and social justice, human rights and environmental organizations to engage in issues currently facing our global community.” It’s a mouthful, but it makes for relevant and revelatory cinema.
This year’s theme is “People Power Promises” and features movies from Canada, Germany, India, Australia, Iceland, the UK and the US. From war refugees to the dying bee population, the program explores how governments and environments affect individuals not just professionally or culturally, but personally as well. This fest, in other words, helps make abstract, large-scale issues intimate. Screenings will take place at Ottawa’s National Library and Archives Canada (395 Wellington St.), between November 5-7. You can read more about the films here, and about the festival (location, ticket price, festival details) here. I hope to report back on Dreamland and The Vanishing of the Bees, two titles I’m particularly interested in checking out. – Ranylt Richildis