Event: Digi60 Filmmakers’ Festival 2022

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For the uninitiated, Digi60 is considered a filmmakers’ festival and has been around in the Ottawa area since the early 2000s.  It caters mainly to new and emerging filmmakers, providing them a platform to exhibit their work to their peers, to get feedback, and participate in a number of workshops, panels and discussions with like-minded individuals and industry experts.  A “catch” around which a film must be written, planned, and shot is announced in October and participants have 60 days to complete their films.

Participants of the Summer Institute of Film and Television Workshops at Digi60 in 2014

For disclosure, I have been a member of number of teams participating in the challenge over the years.  Through a conspiracy of fortunate events, I had the joy (and dread) of directing my first film at Digi60 in 2012. The film “Algebra: A reunion of broken parts”, a beautiful story about a painter hiding the fact that he is losing his sight from his muse and the world, was a pivotal project for me.  

With all of that out of the way, I want to write about why I look forward to attending Digi60 every year.  When I was starting off making my own films, it was a great way to feel part of a small but ever expanding group of creatives, competing, but supportive of each other as they relish the chance to see their work on a big screen, ready to give constructive criticism.  More than a decade later, the technology has changed, there are many more places to exhibit work, both in-person and online, but the fundamentals of visual story telling are still the same and it’s great to see that spirit of continuous learning and camaraderie carry forward into a new generation of filmmakers.  There is still something unique and communal about experiencing films with other human beings in the same room, and I still get that vibe going to “the movies” today.

Check out the highlight reel from Digi60’s 2019 festival for a hint of what you can expect this year.

I attend the festival to support its mission but now, as a festival programmer, I also go to scope out new talent.  There have been at least a half dozen times where I’ve looked through submissions to the OCan Film Festival and say “Oh, I remember that film at Digi60”.  It  makes me smile because it’s a signal that there’s still a lot of great independent work being produced in the city, and that filmmakers from the area are getting opportunities to share their work at all kinds of festivals outside the city via film submission services like FilmFreeway.

Night one of this year’s Digi60 kicked off with the curated Community Screening block followed by the first of 3 screening blocks of films made in response to this year’s catch, “escape”.  There are a shedload of workshops scheduled during the weekend and two more blocks of films for the catch take place tonight, December 17th, followed by an Awards Presentation.  It all goes down at Arts Court and the OAG, on Daly Street, in Ottawa.

You can get more info and links to purchase tickets via the Digi60 Filmmakers’ Festival website.  See you there!

Jith Paul

Web Designer, Editor, Film Reviewer

Jith Paul is an independent filmmaker based in Ottawa. While pursuing a career as a software engineer, he decided to take a detour to follow his passion for film and filmmaking, establishing Treepot Media in 2010.

He is a co-founder of the Ottawa Canadian Film Festival, and editor of the film613 blog.

When he is not busy fighting crime, he coordinates the efforts of an international team of software developers and service providers as the Team Lead for Digital Development at CPAC, the Cable Public Affairs Channel.