Ottawa Independent Video Award Winners

Cody Campanale's Jackie Boy, which won the OIVA for Best Director - Narrative
The winners for SAW Video’s inaugural Ottawa Independent Video Awards were handed out last night in a ceremony at the Arts Court Theatre. The awards were hosted by Derek Diorio, comedian and creator of the series Hard Rock Medical, who seemed to win over the crowd well given the energy at the event, and the night included presenters such as CBC’s Adrian Harewood, Ottawa Indie Fest’s Jith Paul, and more. I was actually volunteering at the event, which was fun, so I can’t really comment on the ceremony itself, but the awards and the event saw a great response from members of the local film scene, as they brought together talents from different corners of the city and helped create a sense of community through a celebration of local artists.

The winners of the evening are a diverse group working in features and shorts, fiction and non-fiction, and narrative and experimental film alike. As expected, Hoda Elatawi won Best Director (Documentary) for her feature film Muneeza in the Middle, which screened in town at the Mayfair in December before a well-received airing on CBC. The narrative prize, on the other hand, was a surprise win for Cody Campanale’s gritty character drama Jackie Boy—it’s a surprise only because the feature film has yet to screen in town. In fact, Jackie Boy is still shopping for its world premiere,so one of the local festivals will take note and scoop and Ottawa premiere for Jackie Boy following the film’s win!

The night’s winner for Best Director - Experimental deservedly went to Christopher Rohde’s impressive science fiction film Odd One Out. This unique film, which features a quartet of masked actors playing an ensemble of up to twenty characters, creates a dark, fantastical world using practical special effects and a jazzy score. The film, like fellow winner Muneeza, boasts some decent pre-OIVA cred thanks to its selection at international festivals like Fantasporto and a recent win for Best Emerging Filmmaker at the Jasper Short Film and Media Arts Festival.

The big emerging filmmaker of the night was Morgana McKenzie, who won the prize for Best Director Under 25 for her music video We All Go the Same. McKenzie, a wunderkind of the Ottawa film scene, recently took Same to the Kingston Canadian Film Festival and her previous film Gifts screened at several Canadian and international film festivals including TIFF’s Jump Cuts Young Filmmakers Festival. We All Go the Same was also a nominee in the Music Video category, but Travis Boisvenue scooped the prize for Boyhood – Thailand. The music videos made for one of the night’s strongest line-ups, and in some ways encapsulated the best range of work by local filmmakers that is also available to local audiences, and Thailand’s was worthy winner. Boisvenue, McKenzie, and Rohde were among the night’s double nominees.

The night’s Rob Thompson Award went to local veteran Ed Kucerak for his work as a filmmaker and mentor in the community. Kucerak’s credits include the feature documentary Partners for Peace, narrated by Marisa Tomei, which was also nominated in the Best Director – Documentary category and he is the founder Kublacom Pictures and a contributor to the recently launched Ottawa Indie Fest. Finally, the People’s Choice Award went to Alex Sutcliffe for the experimental film Unseen Ottawa—an appropriate choice for this night that brings out hidden gems from the 613. Invisible cinema no more!

Congrats to all the winners, nominees, and organizers for a successful inaugural event!