Ottawa Film Fest The ONEFF Launches Friday

Melissa Bergland and Aaron Poole star in ONEFF opener Relative Happiness.
Photo: Duncan DeYoung
Bust out your lobster bibs and crack open a Keith’s, the Ottawa film scene gets a taste of Atlantic Canada this weekend! The Ottawa Northeast Film Festival, aka The ONEFF, launches this weekend and brings a range of films from the East Coast (ish) to the ever-growing Ottawa film festival scene. I’ll admit that I only recently got the gist of what the ONEFF actually is after months of watching their friendly Twitter account quote/retweet everyone in town, but, being a new fest, these things take time. The festival spotlights films from northeastern regions of Canada and the USA with a particular focus on Ontario, and the Maritimes. The East Coast seems to be the most well-represented body, both in the programme and in the promotion of the festival, which fits well with the friendly vibe that the fest has been creating with the community.

The ONEFF kicks off Friday at The ByTowne with the Ottawa of the Canuck comedy Relative Happiness starring Aussie TV star Melissa Bergland (Winners & Losers) alongside Aaron Poole (The Animal Project), Jonathan Sousa (also from The Animal Project) and Joel Thomas Hynes (who can be seen in Cast No Shadow this week at The Mayfair, if you want some extra East Coast Can Con!).

Screenings continue through the night Friday and Saturday with a full and diverse line-up. The programme includes the Ottawa premiere of the Sundance prize-winner and Hot Docs highlight How to Change the World, which is an inspiring Greenpeace doc, and a whack of shorts including the award-winning local production The Buckley Brothers, directed by Rachelle Casseus (The Hold-up), which returns to Ottawa in a showcase of women in film on Saturday night. There’s even a Cuban dance-party-screening-thing on Friday to give the East Coast flavour some extra spice.

The line-up for the 2015 ONEFF is as follows:

Relative Happiness

Dir. Deanne Foley | Canada | 94 min. | Ottawa Premiere
Friday, May 22 at 6:00 PM

Synopsis: Plus sized and 30 years old, Lexie Ivy (Melissa Bergland*) is a feisty Bed and Breakfast owner who desperately needs a date to her sister’s wedding. In small town Nova Scotia, thats no easy task, especially when the most eligible bachelor is Joss (Aaron Poole), the rough handyman fixing her roof. When Adrian (Johnathan Sousa), a handsome and charming guest, arrives and seems to take an interest in Lexie, she thinks all her problems are solved. But she misreads the situation and is soon reeling, believing her romantic dream has slipped away, maybe forever. After a series of hilarious mishaps and a reality check or two, Lexie opens her heart and eyes to see that love may be a lot closer than she thought. 

Friday Night Shorts

Friday, May 22 at 8:00 PM


This Was My Son
Dir. Rob Underhill | USA | Canadian Premiere

Dir. Thyrone Tommy | Canada (Toronto) | Ottawa Premiere

Nayan and The Evil Eye
Dir.  Shaleen Sangha | Canada (Toronto) | Ottawa Premiere

Dir. Cayman Grant | USA/Canada | Ottawa Premiere

When Fish Fly
Dir. Lisa Rose Snow | Canada (Nova Scotia) | Ottawa Premiere

Quelle Affair
Dir. Ruth Lawrence | Canada (Newfoundland) | Ontario Premiere

Island Soul

Dir. Jimmy Inch | Canada | World Premiere
Friday, May 22 at 10:00 PM

Synopsis:  Island Soul is a documentary on the recording of an album by Keith Mullins at Egram Studios in Havana, Cuba. The film was Directed and Produced by Jimmy Inch and Assistant Producer Ian McInnis, while Music Producers were Keith Mullins and Chris Kirby. The album was recently nominated for an East Coast Music Award. Keith had an opportunity to record at the historic studios with some of the top Cuban musicians in the industry today.

Watch for a special appearance from Ottawa's Salsa-Force!

How to Change the World

Dir. Jerry Rothwell | Canada/UK | 110 min. | Ottawa Premiere
Saturday, May 23 at 6:00pm

Synopsis: In 1971, a group of friends sail into a nuclear test zone, and their protest captures the world's imagination. Using never before seen archive that brings their extraordinary world to life, How To Change The World is the story of the pioneers who founded Greenpeace and defined the modern green movement.

Hot Docs Review: How to Change the World should inspire environmentalists and filmmakers alike with its eye-opening footage of the beginnings of one of the most significant contemporary movements. The archival footage is a treasure trove of both activism and maverick filmmaking: the footage itself is journalist in nature, but How to Change the World assembles it so artfully and intelligently that it's bound to plant seeds in a new movement. The objective portrait makes the necessity of groups like Greenpeace all the more urgent, while the strong endnotes on the death of Rob Hunter and the activism of his daughter Emily ushers in a new generation of revolutionaries. (Full review)

Resurrecting McGinn(s)

Dir. Vincent Gaffney | USA | Running time TBA | Canadian Premiere
Saturday, May 23 at 8:20 PM
*Director Vincent Gaffney will attend the screening

Synopsis: Declan, an author struggling with his unrealized potential, is confronted by renewed grief over his long dead brother Aidan. His wife Anastasie suggests they throw a party on what would’ve been Aidan’s fiftieth birthday. Over the course of dinner, revelations of sexuality, race, abortion, love, life and death unroll at a feverish pace as the night escalates into mayhem. Emotional explosions uncover secrets that have been buried for more than two decades. The revelations push the family to the edge and are a catalyst to confront, reconcile and heal old wounds.  But is it too late?

A Celebration of Women in Film

Saturday, May 23 at 10:15 PM


Sadie –
Dir. Latonia Hartery | Canada (Newfoundland) | Ottawa Premiere

 Dir. Shelly Thompson | Canada (Nova Scotia) | World Premiere

The Buckley Brothers
Dir. Rachelle Casseus | Canada (Ottawa)
-Winner: Best Comedy Short – Lady Filmmakers Festival, Los Angeles

*DAWG director and The Buckley Brothers director Rachelle Casseus and co-writer Charlie Ebbs will attend the screening

The ONEFF runs May 22 and 23. All screenings are at The ByTowne.
Please visit www.theoneff.com for more information on this year’s festival.