395 Wellington Street: The Library and Archives Building

395 Wellington Street

This site is turning into a photography blog. That’s OK.

For a long time, I had been meaning to get a picture of this building, the Library and Archives building at 395 Wellington.

I’ve spent a lot of time inside this building, the west end of the building boasts a movie theatre where the Canadian Film Institute (my old job) hosts the majority of its foreign film festivals. I’ve heard some complaints about the look of the structure, but I love it, especially at night.

It reminds me of buildings that you see in East Berlin, the formerly communist part of the city. I’m not an architect, so I don’t know if that’s an accurate assessment, but that’s what it feels like to me. I tried finding more information online about when the building was built and by who, but couldn’t find anything. If you know anything, please post a comment.

In front of the building, there’s a great piece of art that’s featured in cities around the world, Lea Vivot’s The Secret Bench of Knowledge. Read more about its installation in 1989 by clicking‚ here.

The Secret Bench of Knowledge by Lea Vivot.
The Secret Bench of Knowledge by Lea Vivot.

An underrated building, it doesn’t get the same level of fanfare that some of its neighbours on Wellington Street do, but it’s one of my favourites nonetheless.

Press Release: Francophone Cinema of the World Comes to Ottawa

OTTAWA (February 28, 2013) РFilms from across the French-speaking world are coming to Ottawa at the 11th annual DiverCinĩ Рles ĩcrans de la Francophonie du monde film festival running from March 8th to March 17th.

Organized by the Embassy of France to Canada and the Department of Canadian Heritage, in partnership with the Canadian Film Institute and the ByTowne Cinema, this year’s festival will feature eleven first-release films from Africa (Algeria, Democratic Republic of Congo and Senegal), Asia (Vietnam), Europe (Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Romania and Switzerland), the Middle East (Egypt and Qatar) and Canada.

Award-winning films from the past year are being screened for the first time in Ottawa, including: La Pirogue, a Senegalese entry, which competed in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, Rebelle, a Canadian film that competed in the Best Foreign Language Film category at this year’s Oscars and L’enfant d’en haut, which received a special mention from the jury at the 2012 Berlin Film Festival.

A special Canadian Short Film Program, featuring a diverse body of French-Canadian works is also scheduled for Tuesday, March 12th at Club Saw. This special program is being offered free of charge. This year’s festival also includes English subtitles in the majority of the films while also catering to a young audience with family friendly screenings.

“Francophone cinema explores contemporary issues in French-speaking societies around the globe in thought provoking ways, says Canadian Film Institute Director Tom McSorley. “We’re excited to be bringing eleven of this year’s most captivating releases to Ottawa.

“The DiverCinƒ© festival offers us once more an opportunity to pay homage to the talent and the creativity of filmmakers in Canada and in the other countries of the Francophonie, says French Ambassador Philippe Zeller. For the 11th year in a row, Canadian Heritage and the Embassy of France have come together around DiverCinƒ© to celebrate the cultural diversity of all the French-speaking countries of the world through cinema.

With the help of its media partners, TV5 and Radio-Canada, DiverCinƒ© aims to express the identities, imaginings and cultures of the French-speaking world in all its diversity. Its programming gives prominence to films selected for major international festivals and gives Canadian audiences an opportunity to see first-rate movies created by filmmakers from a variety of the world’s French-speaking countries that are rarely screened in Canada.

For complete details visit www.divercine.com and visit our Facebook page for interactive content, trailers and updates at http://www.facebook.com/DiverCineFestival.

Download the Festival’s electronic press kit:


Press Release – Bright Nights: The Baltic-Nordic Film Fest Celebrates Winter On The Big Screen


OTTAWA (February 6th, 2013) €œ The Canadian Film Institute (CFI), in collaboration with the Embassies of the Baltic and Nordic nations, is proud to present the 3rd annual Bright Nights: The Baltic-Nordic Film Festival running on select dates from February 8th through March 1st.

Featuring some of the world’s most exciting contemporary cinema, this year’s Festival features entries from eight Baltic and Nordic nations (Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden), presented in their original languages with English subtitles. All films will be Ottawa premieres.

Each screening will take place at the Auditorium at 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa. Tickets are $12 for the general public and $8 for members, seniors, and students. All tickets can be purchased on-site each night of the Festival starting on February 8th. A festival pass to all eight screenings is also available for $40. Visit www.cfi-icf.ca for complete listings.

Screening Schedule:

  • February 8th: Simon and the Oaks (Sweden), 7pm

  • February 15th: Soundbreaker (Finland), 7pm and INUK (Denmark), 9pm*

  • February 22nd: Mama Gƒ³gƒ³ (Iceland), 7pm and Mushrooming (Estonia), 9pm

  • February 28th: Monsieur Taurins (Latvia), 7pm and Low Lights (Lithuania), 9pm

  • March 1st: King Curling (Norway), 7pm.**

*On February 15th, the Danish director of INUK, Mike Magidson will be in attendance to introduce and discuss his film with the audience.

**On March 1st, Bright Nights is encouraging local curlers to attend the screening of King Curling by offering a $2 discount to those who come dressed in their curling team jackets or uniforms.

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 www.cfi-icf.ca.


Press Release: CFI Celebrates Acclaimed American Indie Filmmaker, Hal Hartley

OTTAWA (January 24, 2013) €œ The Canadian Film Institute (CFI), in collaboration with the Embassy of the United States of America, is pleased to present American Possibility: The Cinema of Hal Hartley, a special retrospective celebrating the career of one of America’s greatest independent filmmakers of the past quarter century. Hal Hartley will be in Ottawa for the first three nights of the retrospective, February 1-3, to introduce and discuss his films with Ottawa audiences.

Renowned for his witty, articulate, sharp, often satirical and always compassionate films, Hal Hartley’s films have been showcased at film festivals such as Sundance, Cannes, Berlin, Toronto, Rotterdam, Melbourne and Sydney. His films have helped launch the careers of some of today’s biggest stars, including Edie Falco, Parker Posey, Martin Donovan, and Michael Imperioli.

“Hal Hartley is one of the most impressive and idiosyncratic contemporary American film artists, says CFI Executive Director, Tom McSorley. “The CFI is proud to be bringing this critically acclaimed, internationally renowned American independent filmmaker to Ottawa. In total, the CFI will devote six nights of screenings throughout February and early March to this special retrospective:

  • February 1st: Meanwhile (2012) 7:00pm and Trust (1991), 9:00pm *

  • February 2nd: Possible Films: Hal Hartley Short Film Programme, 3:00pm *

  • February 3rd: Amateur (1994), 7:00pm *

  • February 27th: Henry Fool (1997), 7pm

  • March 1st: The Girl From Monday (2005), 8:30pm

  • March 2nd: Fay Grim (2006), 7pm

*Hal Hartley will be in attendance on dates marked with an asterisk (February 1, 2, 3).

All screenings will take place at the Auditorium at 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa, except for the ËœHal Hartley Short Film Programme,’ which will be presented at Club SAW, 67 Nicholas Street. Tickets are $12 for the general public and $8 for CFI members, seniors, and students and can be purchased on-site with the box office opening half an hour before the start of the film.



Press Release: CFI Welcomes Acclaimed Canadian Director Peter Mettler to Ottawa

OTTAWA (January 22nd, 2013) €œ The Canadian Film Institute (CFI), is pleased to present The Enlightened Screen: Peter Mettler, the latest installment of an ongoing screening and guest artist series which profiles Canada’s leading independent filmmakers.

On January 31st, the CFI will celebrate the career of the acclaimed Canadian filmmaker, by screening his 2012 release, The End of Time. Tackling mankind’s perception of time, The End of Time takes viewers on a journey around the globe, with visits to the particle accelerator in Switzerland, lava flows in Hawaii, inner city Detroit and to a Hindu funeral rite. It has been selected as one of Canada’s Top Ten films of 2012.

Peter Mettler will be in attendance to introduce The End of Time and following the screening, he’ll participate in a discussion with CFI executive director Tom McSorley as well as a question and answer session with the audience.

“Mettler’s provocative films explore unique ideas and feature breathtaking images, says McSorley. “The Canadian Film Institute is honoured to have him in Ottawa, showcasing his most recent production. He is one of the most important and influential figures in contemporary Canadian cinema, having worked with Atom Egoyan, Robert Lepage, and others, in addition to his own remarkable films.

This special screening will take place at the Auditorium at 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa. Tickets are $12 for the general public and $8 for CFI members, seniors, and students and can be purchased on-site with the box office opening half an hour before the start of the film. Showtime is 7:00pm.

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 http://www.cfi-icf.ca.

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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

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.