By Sarah MacFarlane, photo by Trevor Swann
Canada will commemorate 150 years since Confederation on July 1, and the city of Ottawa will be celebrating this occasion with an array of events. One in particular is a 26-week film project called Cinema Canada 150.
From Jan. 1 until June 26, the ByTowne Cinema in downtown Ottawa will be offering screenings of Canadian movies on Sunday afternoons and Monday nights. With help from both the ByTowne and its sponsors, the films are completely free to view and open to the public.
According the the theatre’s website, the project aims to show Canadian cinema’s biggest achievements, directors, regions, and as many eras as possible to better represent Canadian culture.
Genevieve Morin, a manager at the ByTowne, said that so far, “despite the weather and holidays last week,” the project has had a successful turnout and the theatre has received very positive feedback from viewers.
“It has been very popular so far,” Morin said. She added it was only the project’s second week and that she expected its popularity would continue to grow.
As the screenings are free, some students are taking advantage of the opportunity.
Alex Hudecki, a first-year journalism and film student at Carleton University, expressed his interest in the project.
“Being a first-year student with an interest in film, I’m looking for opportunities to explore the industry,” he said. “I think the project is absolutely worthy to help the film presence in Ottawa, and a great place for a first-year like me to get involved.”
Despite being in Ottawa since September, Hudecki said he has not seen much of a spotlight on film culture in the city, which he described as “a bit disappointing.” He added, however, that Cinema Canada 150 is “a fantastic way to break the silence and spark the community.”
The second film to be shown so far, Goin’ Down the Road, directed by Donald Shebib, was shown on Jan. 8.
David Macomb, a friend of Shebib, said he thought the project was a wonderful idea.
“I think it’s a worthy thing to do and I’m glad [it’s happening],” he said.
Morin said the importance of Cinema Canada 150 lies in showcasing Canadian culture.
“[It] represents a lot of the culture of our country,” she said. “It’s important for people to not only see that culture, but the history and the value of it artistically.”
The next film will be The Viking, and will screen beginning on Jan.15. More screenings can be found on the ByTowne’s website.