Spotlight boxcART Film Festival

Ottawa's boxcART Film Festival presents the "Eat My Shorts" Short Film Showcase

Interview by Ren Tomovcik
Photos courtesy of boxcART Film Festival

This winter, Ottawa film lovers can enjoy the fruits of an intense new filmmaking challenge presented by the boxcART Film Festival.  Ottawa's second 72-Hour Film Challenge began this January, when determined teams of filmmakers assembled at the Lieutenant's Pump on Elgin Street to receive their secret instructions.  Three days later, they had to return to the same spot with a completed short film 5-10 minutes in length, incorporating the elements that were revealed in their sealed envelope. 

On February 10th, the finished films will be screened at the Pump as part of the "Eat My Shorts" showcase, followed by the much-anticipated announcement of the winner.  With filmmakers of all ages and skill levels participating, judging focuses on raw creativity and innovation rather than purely technical merits. The victorious team will take home a $250 prize and bragging rights.

We caught up with founder Nina Bains to chat about the project, the people behind it, and the exciting things in store for the capital's film community in the coming year.

Nina, the boxcART Festival's activities have film buffs quite excited.  What's your mandate?
Quite simply, to promote Ottawa filmmakers!

Last autumn you put on the inaugural event, and now you're doing it again.  What was the response like this time around?
Incredible!  We went from five teams and zero sponsors to 19 teams and three sponsors.  We were overwhelmed! There is a huge range of filmmaking talent in Ottawa. The purpose of our festival is to encourage all levels of filmmakers to participate, and especially to help them connect with each other in a film community.

boxcART Film Festival
A group of challengers poses at the outset of the competition with Nina Bains (far right).

How many films made it to the finish line?
There were 19 teams signed up to participate. 14 films were made, and of those, 9 films made the 72-hour deadline to qualify for the competition.  It's a really tough challenge!

What medium are the films made in?

Digital mostly, due to the extreme time constraints. Using 8mm or 16mm would require transfer time, typically three days, and would not fit well into the 72-hour time limit.  All mediums are welcome, though, if someone wants to go for it!

What was the secret theme that filmmakers discovered in their envelope?
Last autumn the theme was "conflict."  This year's theme is "28 days late for work!"

boxcART Film Festival
"The envelope, please!"  Filmmakers received the secret criteria on January 21st.

Tell us about your next big initiative, the Ottawa International Film Festival project!
The boxcART Film Festival was like a pet project, a fun idea to fill the void in the independent film niche in Ottawa.  It's hard to believe that something like this hasn't existed before in the capital!  The boxcART Festival has gained a lot of momentum and encouragement from the film industry and the whole Ottawa community.  The Ottawa International Film Festival is a new initiative we're working on, building on the success and positive feedback we've gotten from our work on boxcART.  It'll be a three-day festival focusing on Ottawa films and including an "international day" when we'll bring in some amazing films from around the world.

  Will there still be more short film challenges?
Absolutely. We are committed to running two annual challenges in the years ahead - the first event being a smaller, fun one like "Eat My Shorts," and the main event being the three-day festival which we plan to hold in the fall.

How does film fit into the greater creative community here in Ottawa?
The face of film is changing rapidly in Ottawa. The younger generation is moving forward fast and the subculture of film is quickly rising to the surface. Venues like the boxcART/Ottawa International Film Festival are enabling filmmakers who have typically been revolving in their own circles tocome together in the film community, allowing us all to celebrate filmmaking in a fun and creative way.


Official boxcART Festival Website
The boxcART Film Festival Facebook Group

Guerilla g-gallery
Dharma Arts Magazine

"EAT MY SHORTS" Short Film Showcase
Lieutenant's Pump Pub on Elgin Street

February 10th, 2010, 6:30 pm
Facebook event page

For more info contact Nina Bains:
(613) 218-3470

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