Ottawa's Mirror Mountain Film Fest Launches this Weekend

Lost Conquest screens Mirror Mountain Film Fest Dec. 4
Ottawa’s ever-growing film festival scene gets a newbie this weekend when Mirror Mountain Film Festival launches tomorrow. MMFF offers an eclectic line-up of alternative fare and indie films. The line-up mostly offers a mix of shorts and mid-length features and it includes a healthy representation for local filmmakers amidst some international peers. MMFF brings a mix of local premieres in addition to encore screenings of some of the more popular shorts that audiences might have missed at local festivals. (For example, CDFF’s opening night short A Good Deal screens opening night at MMFF and rewards with repeat viewings!) The festival also offers panels and parties in addition to pics with chats on professional development and the like turning the camera to the industry side of the film scene in between screenings that highlight the art. As the nun sings, “Climb every mountain!”

The funky festival plays its films in the eclectic/grungy den of Ottawa’s Club SAW, which offers the right alternative atmosphere for the festival, with some screenings at the elusive Arts Court Theatre. (It’s also just down the road from the ByTowne in case Son of Saul sells out at EUFF!) Adding to the uniqueness of the event are some concerts by local artists and—here’s one—a screening powered by a bicycle! Passes for the fest are also a bargain at twenty dollars a pop (single tickets are just five bucks at the door), so the festival offers an ideal chance to try something outside of one’s comfort vote and explore new horizons.

Here are five picks for films to see at Mirror Mountain Film Fest:

Lost Conquest

Dir. Mike Scholtz | USA | 2015 | 70 min.
Friday December 4th, 8:00pm

MMFF’s opening night feature Lost Conquest brings the spirit of Christopher Guest to the fest as this peculiar documentary visits Minnesota and explores the myth/bullshit history about a Viking conquest. Does America’s history of discovery begin at 1000 A.D.? Did Columbus really get there first? This fun looking doc asks audiences to speculate on the larger meaning behind the truths we choose to believe. The crew from the film will also attend the fest, hopefully in Viking hats. And by happy coincidence, some legit Vikings are at the Museum of History this weekend!

New Visions

Dir. Various | Various countries | 2009-2015 | 67 min
Saturday December 5th, 2:00 pm

The shorts programme New Visions seems to embody the spirit of MMFF the best if one wants to find a screening that embodies the alt/indie spirit of the fest. This collection of films and “non-conventional forms of time-based media” treads on the experimental side of things with films that explore the formal side of film and time. The screening includes the local shorts Moving Gaze by Timothy Smith, Imitation (A Self-Portrait) by Matthieu Hallé, and Lot 22, Concession 5 by Penny McCann.

Midnight Madness

Dir. Various | Various countries | 2014-5 | 45+ min
Saturday December 5th at 11:00 pm (Arts Court Theatre)

Here’s the screening with the dude on the bike! Roger D. Wilson brings his “cinema trike” to the fest and will power the show with his own two legs. Midnight movies screening at MMFF include the local short Beauty Sleep by Andrew Robinson, which makes its fourth Ottawa festival screening at the fest. (It was a Programmer’s Pick by yours truly at the inaugural CDFF.) Other local representation comes from Marina Bruno’s Failed and Magill Foote & Grant Jeffery’s very funny Jurassic ParkIV (According to an Eight-Year-Old. Midnight Madness ups the ante with a live punk band performance as well. Bring your own mosh.

Local Heroes

Dir. Various | Canada (Ottawa!) | 2012-2015 | 62 min.
Sunday December 6th, 3:00 pm

The local side of Mirror Mountain reflects a range of stuff from the Ottawa film scene. Some film challenge regulars are on hand with local pros. Among the 613 titles are the funny Brooklyn K9, the storybook romance Bedtime Stories, the Ashinabe experimental film Call and Response by Craig Commanda, and Peace, Love & Pancakes to add some maple syrup to the weekend.

True Stories

Dir. Various | Canada and USA | 2014-2015 | 71 min.
Sunday December 6th, 5:00 pm

Vive le documentaire! Non-fiction films bookend the MMFF recos with this shorts programme offering a quintet of documentaries. The programme features two Canadian docs: Henny’s Opus in B Minor and The Routes. Henny, directed by Andréa Conte, offers a portrait of a musician struggling with dementia and screens at MMFF after being selected for the National Screen Institute’s online fest and CBC’s Summer Short Doc Series. The Routes, directed by James ‘Zick’ McDougall, brings a recent win from ImagineNATIVE to the fest.

Mirror Mountain Film Festival runs in Ottawa Dec 4-6.
Please visit www.mirrormountainfilmfestival.com for the complete line-up.

2015 festival trailer from Mirror Mountain Film Festival on Vimeo.