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Director excited to show international, award-winning films on campus

Photo by Mico Mazza

Jith Paul is trying to use international award-winning films to fund local filmaking.

Indie Koala and Treepot Media’s Kickstarter Film Festival, featuring international, award-winning short films, will present a double screening on Feb. 8. Beginning at 6 p.m. in the Alumni Auditorium, the festival is part of a fundraising campaign for the Ottawa indie film A Clean Slate, set to film this April.

Written by Paola Della Malva and directed by Paul, A Clean Slate is a comedic short film about a once-promising pop singer struggling to overcome her career-ending stage fright with the help of her two friends.

“I found the script funny and I haven’t attempted to direct a comedy before, so I took it on as a way to grow as a director,” Paul said.

The festival is part of the Ottawa filmmaker’s journey from passion to career.

“I’ve always wanted to be a filmmaker, as far back as I remember,” he said. “I started thinking about it seriously in 2007.”

Paul went to Algonquin College, graduated from the TV broadcasting program in 2009, and has been working as a filmmaker ever since. While he enjoys the process, he says a lot of work goes into creating a film.

“You have a good script and once you have a script you have to start looking for actors and locations, start planning for when you’re going to shoot just to make sure you can audition all the actors you need, get everything in place, and also raise enough money to pay for locations and equipment and actors and crew,” he said.

The Kickstarter festival will feature two 90-minute screenings. The Reel Deal, screening at 6 p.m., will showcase a selection of films chosen by curator Jennifer Mulligan. It’s a selection of award-winning films by women she saw in her travels to the Lady Filmmakers Festival in Beverly Hills in September and the Austin Film Festival in October.

In between screenings there will be an opportunity to mingle with the filmmakers. At 8 p.m., Treepot Media will present narrative, documentary, and animated films by filmmakers based in Ottawa, Montreal, and Vermont.

“It’s a Saturday night on campus, so that should be a fun way to spend some time. There’s a good mix,” Paul said.

“Almost all the films from the first screening are from all over the world. There’s one local film, but the rest of them are all international, award-winning films that you won’t get to see anywhere else in Ottawa.”

After this weekend’s film festival, Paul will continue planning for A Clean Slate, including scouting for students as extras. Information about extras day on April 7 will be posted on the movie’s Facebook, Twitter, and Kickstarter pages.

Having hosted screenings all over town, Paul looks forward to bringing indie films to the U of O audience.

“I’m excited to see how people react to the films and also excited to meet people that are not in the immediate filmmaking circle so that they can see that there’s this level of involvement and local community for film in Ottawa.

“A lot of people who are not in the Ottawa film area don’t know how much work goes on locally,” he said.


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