Another sold-out house at Wakefield-La Pêche Community Centre was treated to the final and probably the most powerful film of WIFF 2012. The audience was transfixed by Jennifer Baichwal's riveting 2011 documentary Payback and also clearly enjoyed Algonquin Short Sax Appeal by Wasim Baobaid.
Baichwal's documentary based on Margaret Atwood’s bestselling book Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth, offers a fascinating look at debt as a mental construct and traces how it influences relationships, societies, governing structures and the fate of the planet. Baichwal: "The first thing I learned, which was a great relief, is that the book wasn’t about money… What it was about was the idea of debt – a fantastic, complex riff on all the ways we are governed by owing and being owed in human society and beyond. ‘I owe you one.’ ‘You owe me one.’ And so on."
Wasim Baobaid and Jarrod Goldsmith
Also on hand was Jarrod Goldsmith of Ottawa-based saxophone quartet Sax Appeal, the subject of Algonquin doc student Wasim Baobaid's short subject documentary that opened for Payback.
And so ends another season of compelling documentaries at WIFF. Thank you to creative directors Robert and Brenda Rooney for bringing this fabulous boutique film festival to the community And congratulations to documentary production students whose Algonquin Shorts were selected by WIFF programmers to open for a strong line-up of international docs. A heartfelt thank you to the Rooneys for offering Algonquin's emerging documentary makers this career-launching opportunity to showcase their work. Un grand merci.
Through the Ontario International Scholarship Fund, Jean Kim-Butcher and Graeme Edgar had an opportunity to travel to Colombia in February to shoot a couple of documentaries and have an international experience while doing so. Their classmate, Helena Escallon, a Colombian native, accompanied them as their "fixer," translator, host, etc.
Due to the hands-on, independent and self-motivated nature of the Documentary Production Program, this Ontario scholarship fund was indeed conducive to the use of such an adventure.
In Colombia, while experiencing an intense period of the production life of a documentarian, these students felt that all their classroom learning was "put to the test" on the field. The many different facets of doc-making such as setting up shoots, planning a storyboard, filming on-the-fly, working together as a crew, etc. were well-rehearsed, and much was learned.....
Thank you to Matt Wheatley in the International Education Centre at Algonquin College who came to make a presentation to the class. We are richer in our education of our art, and will associate our time at Algonquin with this memorable trip!
Roughly a month ago, we were notified that the documentary production program at Algonquin College would be terminated upon the end of the semester.
As students, we began brainstorming on possible ways that the program might be saved from being ultimately cut.
One idea was to throw together a little video, showcasing the types of things that we do, and the ways in which we are learning about documentary film-making.
If you would like to voice your opinion, or help save our program, visit http://www.change.org/petitions/algonquin-college-the-board-of-governors-keep-the-documentary-production-program-threatened-to-be-cut and sign the petition!
About the program: "The Documentary Production Program provides its students with the opportunity to explore what is important to them, and to create films with great meaning. The program inspires its students to create, learn and excel within this ever-changing medium. The program has great potential and has made wonderful strives in previous years, including, but not limited to, partnerships with the Wakefield International Film Festival, our own DocFest, and yearly visits to HotDocs."
At the beginning of winter term documentary production students are sent out to Ottawa's annual Winterlude event for their first story exercise after Christmas break.
White balance in mixed lighting condition before interview
Here's the drill: Students go out in crews to focus on a Winterlude event of interest and bring back actuality, interviews and visuals to produce a five minute story. Each member of the crew directs a particular story element or segment and edits it. The final touch is assembling all segments which are crafted together in the edit suite to produce the group's mini doc.
Winterlude Challenge is a warm up exercise for the big one, students' final group productions of their long form documentaries.
Setting up the interview
Doc makers Justin Nalepa, Tae-eun Kim, Eric Archambault and Jean Kim-Butcher decided on a profile of Sophie Latreille, founding member of Fire Weavers, an Ottawa/Gatineau-based fire performance troupe.
As in all documentary shooting, the objective of the exercise is to come back with actuality and visuals that give the audience a sense of what it's like to be there.
Algonquin documentary production students cover and discover WIFF 2012 Wakefield International Film Festival
Algonquin documentary production students cover and discover WIFF 2012
A frosty late February evening was not enough to keep Wakefielder's on their couches in front of the Academy Awards glittering on cozy flat-screens everywhere.
Instead, they turned out to fill the Great Hall in the shiny new Wakefield LaPêche Community Centre to watch the second offering in WIFF's 2012 program: Putin's Kiss, a political reality drama set against Vladimir Putin's new Russia, by Danish director Lise Birk Pederson.
Synopsis: Nineteen-year old Masha is a spokesperson in the government friendly and strongly nationalistic Russian youth organization, Nashi. The movement aims to protect Russia against its 'enemies'.
Director Lise Birk Pederson: "When Masha showed me around, she brought me to a tent, which Nashi had fitted out as an emergency head quarters in case a revolution should break out in Russia. From the head quarters, then, Nashi would be able to defend Russia under any circumstances. This was a serious constellation.
Later I learned that the head quarters, this mobile office, was part of a much larger strategy aimed at young members: It gave the impression that the political opposition posed a great threat to Russian security and they were therefore to be considered enemies of Russia."
Also on hand was a crew of Algonquin College documentary production students to record the proceedings. Crew member Atiyah Hussain's A Thousand Thousand Words premiered on WIFF's Algonquin Shorts program and opened for Putin's Kiss.
Post-film Q & A sessions at WIFF take you back to the old NFB days when when audiences in community centres and church basements could have a conversation with filmmakers and stakeholders.
Carleton University's Institute of European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (EURUS) faculty and graduate student paneled a post-screening information session. New Russia watchers Jeff Sahadeo, Mikhail Zherebtsov and Olga Shapovalova offered context, insights and updates in the rapidly evolving narrative of Putin's Russia.
Lubna Karim lines up WIFF fans for streeters
For audience and panel alike, the Nashi youth movement in Pederson's documentary represented a foreboding shadow looming over democracy in Russia. Putin's Russia.
WIFF 2012: Changing The World In Wakefield
An evening at the Wakefield International Film Festival with founders and artistic directors Brenda and Robert Rooney.
WIFF 2012 is the third year of this niche documentary festival. Nestled in the Gatineau Hills Wakefield, Quebec is a vibrant community of doers and artists who nightly fill the Great Hall of the Wakefield LaPêche Community Centre to immerse themselves in documentary themes and discussions.
WIFF 2012: Changing The World In Wakefield (9 min.) Production: Atiyah Hussain, Waseem Baobaid,Lubna Karim - Documentary Production Program Algonquin College
For the past three years, the Wakefield International Film Festival has screened a selection of great documentaries from Canada and beyond. In 2010, they launched a program to showcase locally produced short documentaries from Algonquin College’s Documentary Production Program. Among those for this year’s shortlist is Swan Song, a documentary about Ottawa’s Royal Swan program.
An Australian Black swan ready to be shipped out.
Synopsis: The Royal Swans have made their home on the Rideau River for the last 44 years. Given as a gift from the Queen during Canada’s Centennial, these majestic birds have become a symbol of the area and one of the many highlights of the city of Ottawa. In recent years, the Royal Swan program has seen much adversity as the program threatens to close if a new winter facility to house the birds can’t be found. Being seen as unnecessary expenditure, the city has struggled to find an alternative solution and time to do so is running out. In her final year as program coordinator, Christine Hartig looks back at her 25 years of experience with the swans.
Amin Habbal - photo: Algonquin Times
Hard core occupier and documentary production student Amin Habbal is "embedded" with Occupy Ottawa. To find out why Amin is not in class, click on the image for the Algonquin Times article.
Garmamie Sideau (l), Hugh Chatfield (r) photo: Kassina Ryder
Documentary production grads Hugh Chatfield (class of 2009) and Garmamie Sideau (class of 2010) are collaborating on the production of an investigative historical documentary. The film aims to tell the story of underground tunnels built long ago beneath picturesque Perth a small town nestled on the Tay River about 83 km southwest of Ottawa. Perth was established as a military settlement in 1816, shortly after the War of 1812 and Chatfield has already produced a film about one of the many intriguing characters and functionaries who lived there during that time. Although the 2009 documentary, Daniel's Journal - A Historical Expedition stands up in its own right, it can be considered a prequel to this investigative film about tunnels currently in progress. For an article about the project click on the photo of producer / director Hugh Chatfield and director of photography Garmamie Sideau.
Behind the scenes video of The Great Perth Archeological Expedition project can be found on YouTube here.
It's a tradition: Every fall documentary production students are sent out into the Byward Market to shoot their first actuality sequences and interviews.
With material they capture students create short subject docs on local characters and landmarks in the historic part of the nation's capital.
On their Market shoot, Eric Archambault, Tae-Eun Kim, Wisdom Sanni, and Justin Nalepa set out to capture the story of local stables owner, John Cundell.
Located just on the edge of the Market, Cundell Stables have been in operation since the late 1800’s and are the only stables still left in the city’s core.
The crew rotates through various positions, everybody gets to direct, shoot and record sound.
The name of the exercise is to capture actuality, visuals and interviews and to bring back these elements to be cut into a short human interest story.
"John Cundell Stables" directed, shot and edited by Eric Archambault, Tae-Eun Kim, Wisdom Sanni, and Justin Nalepa
A collection of field notes, interviews, and reviews from Algonquin's Documentary Production Class of 2012