The Ottawa International Vegan Film Festival (OIVFF)—which is the first of its kind, according to organizer Shawn Stratton—will begin on October 14 in Ottawa, Canada. The festival will showcase seven films, selected from more than 25 submissions received from eight countries, on topics such as veganism, animal welfare, and environmental protection. Featured films include Promises, a five-minute short film that follows vegan photojournalist Jo-Anne McArthur (of We Animals) on an investigation into the industrial farming of chickens, and 73 Cows, a 15-minute short film about a beef farmer in the United Kingdom who transforms his business into an organic, plant-based farm. During the event, awards will be presented for Best in Show, People’s Choice, and in categories such as Health and Nutrition, Environmental Protection, Animal Advocacy, and Lifestyle. “From the beginning, the goal of the festival was to inspire both vegans and non-vegans,” Stratton told VegNews. “For vegans, I want them inspired by stories to maintain their way of life, and I want to open the minds of non-vegans to consider this lifestyle by viewing impactful films. Another motivating factor is to highlight quality vegan-themed films that may not be getting the attention they deserve from huge movie-streaming services.” Stratton hopes to eventually expand the annual festival to include a full week of screenings and industry events, including Q&As with filmmakers and panel discussions with industry experts. “I have big plans for the festival in the months and years to come,” Stratton said. “I would like it to be a hub where filmmakers come and pitch to investors each year. I would love to have substantial cash rewards for winning filmmakers and to have the ‘best of’ festival compilation travel the world, screening at as many theaters as possible.”

Photo courtesy of Jo-Anne McArthur