One World Film Festival connects us to the human condition

Thursday, September 26, 2013


Post by Pixie Cram  /  Photos by Julie MacCormack






Tonight (September 26) is the opening night of the 24th Annual One World Film Festival. Eight feature documentaries are about to premier in Ottawa over the next three days at the Library and Archives Auditorium.


Through a mixture of love of the cinema and of the exquisite challenge of putting on large-scale events, I began as the festival's program manager three years ago. This year, after five months of programming meetings, viewing and debating the 60-plus documentaries that came in answer to our call, a crew of dedicated volunteers, board members, interns, and I, have put our heads and hearts together to give Ottawa another edition of the festival. 


Human rights documentaries can be unsettling—too much truth, it feels like, sometimes. Often when watching the films, questions arise in me: How much do I really need to know about what's happening in the world? Where do I turn when another's reality shakes me to the core? And what is my responsibility in the face of injustice? The gift of the One World Film Festival is its ability to connect audiences with the human story, and with each other.  


What is unique about the OWFF is its commitment to giving people a platform for dialogue. The audience is invited to pose questions to filmmakers and panelists after the films, and the discussion often spills into the foyer between screenings, where meals are served by an Indian food caterer, New Nupur Restaurant. This year there is also a bar.