Checking Out The Winterlude Press Launch

Winterlude Launch at Ottawa City Hall
Winterlude Launch at Ottawa City Hall

I made sure to bring my warmest hat to work when I headed out the door this morning, because I knew I’d be attending the media launch event for the 2013 edition of Winterlude at City Hall.

The organization where I work, The Canadian Film Institute, is one of 75 programming partners for this year’s winter festival. We’ll be chipping in by screening Bright Nights, our Baltic-Nordic film festival on select dates during Winterlude. Films from Lithuania, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Iceland, Estonia, and Norway are featured.

Seemed like there was a good turnout for the press launch, with all of the major media outlets on hand. Lots of festival partners were on hand and everyone seemed genuinely excited about being a part of Winterlude in their way.

Local mayors from both sides of the river Joseph De Silva (Gatineau) and Jim Watson (City of Ottawa) were on hand to give speeches. The crowd was then entertained by some Cirque de Solei style aerial dancers hanging off the front of city hall (See photo).

The event’s got me excited for Winterlude and the arrival of February, both professionally and personally. Professionally, partnering with Winterlude will give our Bright Nights festival a big boost in visibility. On a personal level, I love the energy around Confederation Park at Winterlude. It’s a much needed shot of energy in the cold days of February.

For more information, check out the Winterlude website or check out the Bright Nights Film Festival Facebook page. It’s pretty quiet now, but it’ll pick up in the new year.

Aerial Dancers
Aerial Dancers

Ottawa Sun Paywall Goes Up Today: Is This Really Going To Work?

Screen-shot-2012-12-04-at-12.25Across the country, newspapers are beginning to set up paywalls to access their online content. They’re all implementing this policy within a few months of each other. Talk about collusion! But that’s a whole other conspiracy.

I’m disappointed to see that Sun Media is implementing this policy starting today. Having moved to Ottawa a year ago, the Ottawa Sun has become my de facto site for local news and a good laugh.

Yes, I realize it’s not exactly a source for hard news and that their columnists often just troll to get a rise out of people, but locally, it’s got the best looking website by a mile. And no, I’m not talking about the Sunshine Girl. The Sun’s main competitor, the Ottawa Citizen’s website, reads like something from 2004.

I typed in “Sun Paywall on Twitter search today, and this blog post from Toronto came up. It’s definitely worth a read, if you’re trying to figure out where the paywall situation stands in this country.

Also interesting, was the comments left on this blog post:

or you can just erase your cookies once you hit your limit¦


or¦ select private browsing in your Firefox browser.

Is a work-around really that simple? I hope so. And if it is that simple, is this whole paywall thing really going to work?

As much as I enjoy the Ottawa Sun’s mix of local content and smutty fluff pieces, I don’t see myself paying for it. I can get my news from our public broadcaster, the CBC who do an admirable job covering this city and lead the way in National and International news. Our tax dollars pay for a good news service, no point in paying for it again from a private entity. And I can get my smutty fluff from places like TMZ and blogs.

I’ll leave you with this parting tweet, which I found to sums up the situation nicely.


What are your thoughts on newspaper paywalls? Do you see them working? Are you planning on paying for your news?

Ottawa: Select City to Participate in Worldwide Launch Party of Sigur Rƒ³s: Valtari Film Experiment

Press release I wrote for an upcoming event featuring Icelandic rock band, Sigur Rƒ³s.


‚ Ottawa chosen as select city to participate in worldwide launch party of Sigur Rƒ³s: Valtari Film Experiment

‚ OTTAWA (November 29, 2012) €œ The Canadian Film Institute (CFI), is pleased to announce that Ottawa will be one of several select cities participating in the worldwide launch party of Sigur Rƒ³s’ latest release, The Valtari Film Experiment on Saturday, December 8th.

The internationally renowned music sensation’s latest album, Valtari, includes a visual element to go along with the Icelandic band’s signature sound. The group gave a dozen filmmakers a modest budget and asked them to create whatever came to mind as they listened to songs from the band’s new album.

This exclusive world premiere program will present the official videos along with added materials. Among the participating filmmakers are Ramin Bahrani (Chop Shop, Goodbye Solo, At Any Cost), Alma Har’el (Bombay Beach), and John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Shortbus).

Ottawa will be one of several select cities to participate in this worldwide launch on the weekend of December 7th-9th and local Sigur Rƒ³s fans will have a chance to win big. ¨¨At the Ottawa screening, to be held in the Auditorium at 395 Wellington street, fans will be given a unique URL where they can enter to win a deluxe Sigur Rƒ³s Valtari special gift package. One winner will be selected per continent.

Sigur Rƒ³s was formed in 1994 in Reykjavƒ­k, Iceland. The group’s music has been featured in Hollywood films such as Vanilla Sky (2001) and 127 Hours (2010). They also tour extensively, performing at renowned festivals around the world including, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza and Montreal’s Osheaga festival.

Following the event, the CFI will be throwing a party of its own, by hosting a reception in the foyer at 395 Wellington Street to celebrate the end of its 2012 programming.

‚ The Canadian Film Institute (CFI) was incorporated in 1935 as a federally-chartered, non-governmental, non-profit cultural organization. It is the oldest film institution in Canada and the second oldest film institute in the world. More information can be found online at


IABC Breakfast

I was up early on Thursday morning. I climbed out of bed at around 6:45am (early for me) to attend a breakfast organized by the Ottawa Chapter of the IABC.

When I was a Public Relations student in college a few years ago, my consumables fee included a membership fee with IABC. After I graduated, I stayed in a small town, where there was no IABC community, so I let my membership expire.

Every once in a while, I like to seek out Communications/PR people who have far more experience than I and talk to them about what’s been key in their professional success. I kept hearing that IABC membership was essential, one person even told me “I owe everything in my career to IABC, so I figured it was time for me renew my membership.

Starting with yesterday’s breakfast, I’ll be volunteering regularly with IABC Ottawa. Yesterday, I took some photos from the event, which will be featured in an upcoming blog post on the local chapter’s site. In the future, I’ll be helping to create some video content for the local chapter’s site.

Should be some fun projects which I’ll make sure to post here as I get more involved.

By the way, check out the blog post on Ottawa’s IABC website about the morning breakfast.

Keeping Busy at the European Union Film Festival

Work is extra busy right now as we’re in the midst of our last major film fest of the year, the European Union Film Festival.

Now in its 27th year, the EUFF is probably Ottawa’s most prestigious film fest of the year. 26 EU embassies get on board, as we screen a film each country every night. Oftentimes, the embassies hold small receptions afterwards, which include an open bar and some food.

It’s a lot of fun, but it also keeps me pretty busy. ‚ As the festival’s Media Relations person, my duties include:

  • Writing Press Releases and Media Alerts promoting festival events
  • Making sure our Social Media Channels are up to date every day
  • Being on-site to greet and facilitate media members
  • Acting as a festival spokesperson for the Festival when our Executive Director is unavailable

I was also able to shoot some video of the opening night gala, you can see it below, this should give you a better idea of what the festival is all about.

In addition, I’ve also been able to catch a few terrific movies that otherwise I’d never have even heard about.

Small Crime

A fun little movie, set on a picturesque Greek Island, about a police officer who tries to solve the mysterious death of the town drunk.

The 1000 Euro Generation

A funny comedy that explores how young Italians are coping through the economic recession in Europe

Fear of Falling

A moving drama that depicts how the onset of dementia in a parent can send one’s life into a tailspin.

The EUFF wraps up December 2nd. Visit the CFI website to see complete listings.

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