Lo­cal indie film site takes on life of its own

Ini­tially launched to pro­mote film­mak­ers’ own flicks, site has bur­geon­ing li­brary of films from other lo­cal moviemak­ers

Metro Canada (Ottawa) - - News - DE­NIS ARM­STRONG ot­tawa@metronews.ca

Noth­ing mo­ti­vates a film­maker as much as the op­por­tu­nity to have their film seen, which is a big rea­son why three lo­cal film­mak­ers cre­ated their own web­site for lo­cally made in­de­pen­dent films: in­diekoala.com.

In July, Jith Paul, Ed Kucerak and Karim Ayari launched the movie-view­ing web­site with five of their own films in­clud­ing Paul’s first fea­ture, Al­ge­bra, Thir­teen Downs and Ar­yari’s Per­fect, but in the time the site’s been up, it’s be­come an on­line hub for dozens of other lo­cally made fea­tures, shorts and doc­u­men­taries, in­clud­ing many Digi60 award win­ners.

Kucerak’s doc­u­men­taries in­clude Part­ners For Peace, How Can a Boy and The Se­cret Lives of Butterflies. In 2012, Ayari wrote and di­rected his first fea­ture film, Thir­teen Downs, and shot Al­ge­bra, which Paul di­rected. It won the best tech­ni­cal qual­ity award at Digi60. Ev­ery ti­tle is avail­able for view­ing on the site.

Like Net­flix and sim­i­lar stream­ing video web­sites, mem­bers screen movies on their com­puter. Fea­tures cost be­tween $2 to $5, while older films are avail­able for free.

“It’s a grass­roots busi­ness we built our­selves to pique in­ter­est in our films,” says Paul, 41, who gave up a ca­reer as an elec­tron­ics en­gi­neer in 2009 to make films. “Years ago, I would make hun­dreds of DVD copies of my film, drop them off at video stores and dis­trib­u­tors, and wait for them to call.”

Paul is cur­rently film­ing his new short film A Clean Slate.

“I thought that by cre­at­ing the web­site for our films, we’d ex­pose our work to a wider au­di­ence but then we found that peo­ple want to see films made here. There are a lot of film­mak­ers in Ot­tawa and it’s a ma­tur­ing com­mu­nity. Ot­tawa is gen­er­at­ing a lot of in­ter­est­ing in­de­pen­dent film.”

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