ByTowne Cinema
 325 Rideau St.
(613) 789-Film

Song of Lahore


April 22- 26, 2016

Directed by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
& Andy Schocken

(Pakistan/U.S., 2015)
82 minutes
In English and Urdu with English Subtitles

If you are into jazz, Song of Lahore is a "must see."  The film takes us to Lahore, Pakistan where we meet a group of serious musicians coming from a long tradition of music. They once were able to earn a living with this profession, but in 1977 there was a coup creating the Islamization of Pakistan.  Once the Taliban took over, music was considered a sin. Under Sharia law, it was forbidden. Sharia infidels were shot and killed. Instruments were destroyed.

Through archival footage we learn that violins were brought to Pakistan by the English, but after music was forbidden, there were no longer parts to repair a broken instrument.  Music studios, where recordings took place, lie in waste, broken shadows of what they once were.

This signaled the "Death of Pakistani Arts."  Former working musicians, took other jobs to survive, for example,  driving a rickshaw. The musicians feared a loss of their culture.

They decided that something had to be done.  They formed a group and rehearsed in a sound-proof room so that the authorities couldn't hear them.

They put their version of Dave Brubeck's "Take Five" on YouTube and on their website.  Brubeck heard it and wrote:  "This is the most interesting recording I've ever heard."  The message spreads worldwide.

If you are familiar with Brubeck's "Take Five," you must hear the version by the Sachel Jazz Ensemble from Pakistan.  The instrumentation will blow you away: sitar, tabla players, flute...




They are invited by jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis to join his big band for a concert at Lincoln Center in New York City where he is the artistic director.  We see them packing for their journey. Curiously, this is the only time we see women with them. The jazz ensemble is all men.

The Pakistanis travel to America (the flight takes 14 hours) and are anxious to prove they are artists, not terrorists. They are ambassadors of culture.
We follow them four days before the concert. Rehearsals are rigorous, and they have to get used to playing with a very large, professional band. It's not easy coordinating with the American musicians. Their own sitar player doesn't work out. They have to find another one who lives in NYC.

The big band includes trombones, trumpets, piccolo, flute, clarinet, bass, drums...

One of the outstanding sequences during a rehearsal is the intercutting of the Pakistani flute player Baqir Abbas with the American flute player Ted Nash.  Equally amazing is a similar shot intercutting the tabla player Ballu Khan with the big band's drummer Ali Jackson.

Song of Lahore is essentially people from different worlds coming together to share music. The concert is a grand success.  They achieved what they dreamt would happen - creating hope for the musicians of Pakistan. Finally, we see them as they appear for a big concert in Lahore during the end credits of the film. This is a new beginning....


Museum of History
100 Rue Laurier
Gatineau, Quebec

  Now until August
(USA, 2015)
47 minutes

Directed by Brian J. Terwilliger
Voice: Harrison Ford

In the Mojave Desert (California), there is a graveyard of airplanes.  History has only known airplanes for some 200 years. Birds could fly. Why couldn't man.  In 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright did just that with the Kitty Hawk, their first powered aircraft. 

In the world before the airplane, we didn't know the true size of a planet. There was no transportation. "Living in the Age of Airplanes" takes us on a journey of 200,000 years to the present. In ancient times, we would travel not more than 20 miles in a year from home.  We didn't know about other people. Walking was our mode of transportation.

The wheel was a great breakthrough. Wheels were attached to carts attached to animals. Then we created power and a steam engine on wheels moved faster - the train. There was the car, but a plane could cross land and sea. It liberated us from the ground.

There are 100,00 take offs and landings per day now.

Airplanes affect commerce. We live in an international community. Perishables are flown around the world every day, such as roses that have a 14 day life span.  Airplanes can deliver merchandise quickly.

For thousands of years, flying was just a fantasy. Who would have thought that hundreds of people could move so fast in a container at 35,000 feet.

"Living in the Age of Airplanes" is visually interesting and is definitely worth seeing. It was filmed in 18 countries across all seven continents. 

And you will be happy to know that "No airplanes were harmed
 in the making of this film."


Museum of History
100 Rue Laurier
Gatineau, Quebec

  Now until the end of May

Directed by Louis Schwartzberg

There lives a fascinating world beyond what we can see
with our own eyes. Special instruments are required
to view the intricacies of what is actually there.  
This invisible world is microscopic.
It may move very quickly or very slowly.
There may be light waves that bounce off objects.

Time lapse images allow us to see constant changes.
High speed cameras can be used
to capture details, recording fast-moving objects,
and then they can be played back in slow motion.

The images tell the story. 
Produced by National Geographic Entertainment
and narrated by Forest Whitaker, 

“Mysteries of the Unseen World” is worth seeing.
The film gives you a new perspective on the world around you.
The Museum of History now has Digital Projection: a New Laser 4K

Review by Lois Siegel


ByTowne Cinema
 325 Rideau St.
(613) 789-Film

Where to Invade Next

March 4 - 13, 2015
Directed by Michael Moore
( USA, 2016)
120 minutes

It's been six years since Michael Moore released a film. According to Moore, "Where to Invade Next"  was shot entirely outside the USA.  The exception is stock shots from archives.

This is definitely one of his films you should see. You will learn some interesting things about how other people live in other countries: extensive paid vacations, paid honeymoons, two-hour lunches for factory workers, education alternatives (serious sex talk),  and no homework for students. Brains have to relax. Some institutions have even banished standardized tests. In one city, all schools are the same. No private schools. In the U.S.A., Moore insists, school is a business.

One of Moore's opening statements: Why do Italians look like they always just had sex? Is it because there is less stress in their lives?

Moore says he wants to take the best ideas he discovers abroad back to America.

One enticing idea is unveiled in Normandy, France. Gourmet food is served at tables set with real china in an elementary school cafeteria. There's camembert cheese and lamb skewers or chicken; scallops with sauce, or fillet of cod, and fruit for dessert. There are no vending machines.

In Slovenia, students at one college have no debts.  Essentially, education is free. Some U.S. students have caught on to this and are attending. One hundred courses are taught in English.

In Germany, a pencil factory actually has windows, letting in good light. The owner doesn't want ill workers. His employees are on the Board of Directors and often propose good ideas for change. "That's the key to success," he says.

Moore states that the U.S. hides from their sins. It's a country built on the backs of slaves.

And we are shown a prison in Norway that focuses on rehabilitation. Prisoners are not locked in.  We see a murderer making food in a kitchen where there are knives on the wall. He's using one. There are 115 inmates with only four guards who don't carry guns.  The prisoners'  punishment is a loss of freedom, but they are being helped to return to society. The 'residents' take classes. There's a library and a recording studio. Creativity is encouraged. Prisoners also have the right to vote. In the States, Moore, explains, 80% of prisoners are re-arrested. In Norway, only 20% are.

It doesn't matter if you are a fan of Michael Moore or not. This film is worth seeing. It's good to discover there are other ways of doing things.

Review by Lois Siegel

The Mayfair
1074 Bank St.

A Perfect Day

March 25, 28-29, 2016

Directed by Fernando Leon de Aranoa
(Spain, 2015)
106 Minutes

Somewhere in the middle of the Balkans, suspended between war and peace, there are very few perfect days.  A "cease fire" doesn't mean much here. It's the last days of the Bosnian War.

If you work for "Aid Across Boarders," you don't carry a gun,
but there is danger everywhere: rebels, roadblocks, treacherous, narrow, winding roads with deadly drop offs, and dead cows booby-trapped with land mines ... you get the picture.

Benicia de Toro and Tim Robbins star as "crazy" and "crazier"
in a film that will move you to tears and then have you rolling over in laughter. 

Military convoys are targets for attacks.  You have to stay away from them.  "Cities" have been bombed out, walls are inscribed with nice sayings, such as "Welcome to Hell," and there are young kids with guns.

The centre of the story is an obese corpse in a deep well. It will contaminate the water that people need if it isn't removed, but this is not an easy feat. There are few supplies. It's even difficult to find a length of rope.  But the people in the countryside need help. They become your family, so you go to great lengths to do exactly that.

"A Perfect Day" received a 10-minute standing ovation at Cannes.  That should tell you something.

The music in the film is timely and perfect for each setting.
Check out the lyrics by Lou Reed at the end of the film.
"There Is No Time."

This is no time for celebration
This is no time for shaking hands
This is no time for backslapping
This is no time for marching bands

This is no time for optimism
This is no time for endless thought
This is no time for my country right or wrong
Remember what that brought

There is no time....

Review by Lois Siegel

ByTowne Cinema
 325 Rideau St.
(613) 789-Film

Peggy Guggenheim
Art Addict

April 20, 21

Directed by Lisa Immordino Vreeland
(US/Italy/UK, 2015)
97 minutes

Peggy Guggenheim came from a colorful family.  They started as peddlers, selling door-to-door and then invested in banking and mining.  Amassing fortunes, they lived like royalty with servants, but Peggy was the black sheep of the family who went on her own Bohemian way. She was a rebel and loved to shock. She once shaved off her eyebrows.

In Europe during the 20's and 30's, she met artists who were disgusted with the civilized world and looked for an alternative to the bourgeoisie.  Peggy started collecting their work. During WWII, Art was cheap because these artists were not yet famous, and they were desperate to sell - they needed money. She purchased works that would later sell for fortunes.

For 40,000, she put a collection together.  She broke all the rules in the male-dominated world of those days.  Peggy liked art, and she liked artists. She slept with many. They were her teachers and lovers.  "You don't have to be a painter. It's all about art and love."  It's said that at one time, she bought one painting a day.

The artists: Pollock, Rothko, Duchamp, Arp, Beckett, Brancusi, Dali, De Kooning, Ernst, Giacometti, Kandinsky, Motherwell,  Miro, Mondrian, De Chirico, Tanguy, Magritte ... Peggy was self-educated and had an intuition for talent.

But art was also a business. She opened galleries in Paris and then London.  Not everyone loved her selection of art. Some thought the surrealist show was "rubbish."  The Nazis attacked Modernism as well. They listed 650 examples of art people should dislike, e.g. Mondrian.

She eventually realized that there was a serious threat in London during the war that her 'museum' could be bombed.  She managed to send her paintings by ship to the U.S.A. as 'household objects" and also helped artists leave Europe for New York. Peggy opened a gallery on 30 West 57th Street, one of the first international galleries with European and American paintings.

Her life was unusual. There is humor in the film. We learn about certain eccentricities in the family:  Her mother repeated everything three times.  Her aunts and uncles were described as being "off their rockers." Another relative was said to sing everything, instead of talking.

Peggy Guggenheim helped artists build their careers before there were scholarships or fellowships. Eventually, she moved to Venice and bought a palace at a bargain price after the war.  She had an "incredible personal journey."  Being afraid was not in her nature. She had the courage to take risks.

Peggy Guggenheim died at age 81, buried with her 14 dogs.

She is a very engaging art addict. The film is filled with candid interviews with her and photos of the outstanding work of some of the best known artists today.

If you are interested in any aspect of the arts, this is definitely a film you should see.

Review by Lois Siegel

ByTowne Cinema
 325 Rideau St.
(613) 789-Film


March  23, 24
April 26, 27


Directed by Tom McCarthy
(USA, 2015)

Based on a true story, “Spotlight” retraces the steps of a team of Boston Globe reporters as they investigate allegations that the Catholic Church is covering up the abuse of children.  Priests, who are discovered accused as being predatory, are merely transferred elsewhere or put on “sick leave.”

In Boston 2001, the church was feared and respected, so evidence of wrongdoing was routinely disregarded. The Globe’s new editor, Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber), wanted to change this and went after the church. This was a risky move since 53% of their readers were Catholics.

When the facts revealed that at least 80 children had been abused, many more victims came forward. Typically, the children came from troubled, low income families, often with absentee fathers.  Priests befriended lonely kids and then took advantage of them. Private settlements were made with the church, and no records were kept. Lawyers, police, and journalists conspired to keep things quiet.

Spotlight is definitely a film to see. It's engaging and tells the story clearly.

Oscar nominations: Best Picture, Best Director (Tom McCarthy), Best Supporting Actor (Mark Ruffalo), Best Supporting Actress (Rachel McAdams),
Best Original Screenplay, and Best Film Editing.

Running time: 128 minutes

Review by Lois Siegel


ByTowne Cinema
 325 Rideau St.
(613) 789-Film 

The Big Short

April 1, 2, 3


Directed by Adam McKay
(USA, 2015)

In 2007, thousands of people lost their homes during the U.S. mortgage housing crisis. The banks gave almost anyone a loan, even though they knew this was risky. Bad loans were hidden inside prime quality bonds, assuming that the banks behind the bonds were “too big to fail.”  Greed ruled. Some people started to realize that this bubble would burst.  They recognized that the banking system was unstable and widely corrupt, so when nobody would listen, they placed bets against it, making millions of dollars.

What happens when five million people are unemployed? Who pays the mortgages? Alan Greenspan, American economist and Chairman of the Federal Reserve, didn’t like regulation, but he finally admitted that he had “made a mistake.” Financial firms couldn’t regulate themselves.

Using humor, the film helps us comprehend what happened. Despite the complications of understanding all the details of the transactions in the film, the basic story is clear. We become involved with the characters. One of the most interesting individuals is Michael Burry (Christian Bale), an eccentric.  He’s an ex-doctor and a Capital hedge fund manager who wears shorts to the office, doesn’t wear shoes, and plays a mean set of drums.

The story of these fraudulent systems is like Chicken Little – the sky is falling, but most people refused to believe it. When millions lose their homes, reality hits. We see them living in their cars or tents. It’s painful.

Despite years of unethical and criminal behavior, only one banker went to jail, and the others were bailed out.  The regulations that led to this have not been substantially changed. It might happen again.

The acting and editing are excellent. This is one of the best films I’ve seen this year.

Oscar nominations: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Christian Bale), Best Director (Adam McKay), Best Film Editing, and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Running Time: 130 minutes DVD available for Pre-Order.


Review by Lois Siegel

Dean Kamen

Dean Kamen is best known as the inventor of the Segway, a Personal Transporter that has two wheels and is a self-balancing electric vehicle controlled by shifting body weight.

Many people think it’s just a luxury toy like the go-kart, but it’s not. When I was a guest speaker at St. Andrew’s College, Laurinburg, North Carolina, I was surprised to see a physically challenged kid zoom into class on a Segway. Only then did I realize one of the outstanding uses of the Segway: Physically challenged kids were able to move around the campus with ease and speed.

Kamen likes technology and machines… it’s their efficiency. They deliver.
He creates inventions to give people a better quality of life. “I’ve never been afraid of any machines,” he insists.  His company is DEKA in Manchester, New Hampshire.  Four hundred people work for him, building medical equipment.

He certainly doesn’t know the different between work and play. It’s one and the same to him. He says you have to be lucky to find work you love. 

Kamen is eccentric and extremely interesting. He lives in a house with secret passages and hops into his helicopter in the morning to ‘drive’ to work. He also flies his own jet.  His closet is jam-packed with blue denim shirts and pants. He wears the same-looking clothes every day. This must make his life easier because he doesn’t have to think about what he is going to wear.

SlingShot is a biographical documentary about Kamen and his many inventions, with a special emphasis on a water purification system called “Slingshot”- intended to empty one-half of the hospital beds in the world by giving people clean water.  Twenty percent of the population goes to bed sick because of water-borne pathogens they consume.

The key is that Kaman’s machine is simple to operate.  It changes dirty water into good water. This is not just a technological problem; it’s a distribution problem. How do you get the machines to the people and then educate them about the device to convince them to use it?  He solves these types of problems.

Kamen dedicates his life to creating machines that help people in need. He has over 440 patents. His inventions include a prosthetic arm, a home dialysis machine, and a pharmaceutical system that delivers insulin. He has also started a robotic program for students.

How does he do this? “You have to take a big intellectual leap,” he explains. “Every decision is a compromise.” He realizes that people accept new ideas very slowly.  Kamen survives because he is an optimist, despite the fact that innovation is a difficult and frustrating process.

He is obsessively focused on his work. He doesn’t have children.  His inventions are like his children.

This is a film everyone should see. It’s inspiring to learn about this very unique man.

Running time: 88 minutes
Available from and the Ottawa Public Librar

Review by Lois Siegel


Audrey's Costume Castle & Dancewear

"Await The Freight"

Mitch St. Pierre

Intermode Media
It will also air on Current TV (United States)

Produced by Intermode Media with the help
 of Story Editor Sue Stranks
 Director at the Canadian Film Television Production Association

Two daring travelers embark on the journey of a lifetime.

Mitch and Skot

Along the way they encounter countless difficulties and obstacles
 that come rolling with the wheelchair and living life off the beaten track.
Come along for the ride and see how they meet adversity and beat overwhelming odds.
Mitch, who has been diagnosed with a brittle bone disorder
sets out on this dangerous expedition in a wheelchair.

He faces unbelievable barriers when attempting freight train hops in the constraints of his chair. Accompanied by his best friend Skot
 the two document their story as they face the unknown in "Await the Freight."

Canadian Film Institute

Local Movie Listings


Ottawa, Canada
Contact: Danny McLeod T: +1 613 282-3858 E:


Quiet Revolution Pictures, Majika Pictures and Denmark's Fridthjof Films with the support of
Telefilm Canada and The Danish Film Institute will be filming the feature-length dark comedy,
Eddie" in the Nation’s Capital

Photo by Lois Siegel
Miriam Nørgaard and Michael Dobbin

Photo by Lois Siegel
Boris Rodriguez, Director

Starring Thure Lindhart (Angels & Demons, Into The Wild), Georgina Reilly (Pontypool, This Movie is Broken), Al Goulem (18 to Life, The Trotsky) and Dylan Smith (300, Love & Savagery).

Production is scheduled to begin February 7, 2011.
Quiet Revolution Pictures:
Fridthjof Films:
Telefilm Canada:

Ottawa, ON Canada,  February 7, 2011 –the Nation’s Capital is being transformed into the set of a twisted, dark-comedy movie entitled "Eddie." The satirical story is about a once-famous painter who rediscovers inspiration after he befriends a sleepwalking cannibal. Telefilm Canada and the Danish Film Institute have partially funded the project to be directed by Boris Rodriguez (Havana Kids, Beso Nocturno) and produced by Ottawa native Michael A. Dobbin (The Devil’s Curse, Powerful: Energy for Everyone, The Maiden Dance to Death) and Ronnie Fridthjof (Armadillo, Tempo). “The National Capital Region is the ideal setting for this movie. I’m really looking forward to working here,” says Boris.

Photo by Lois Siegel
Michael Dobbin, Producer

Director Boris Rodriguez is a graduate of Concordia University and the Canadian Film Centre. Boris’ films Beso Nocturno (Night Kiss) and Perfect both had premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and Beso Nocturno was selected for a retrospective at the Museum Of Modern Art in New York.

Michael’s past work as a producer includes Toni Harman's debut horror entitled The Devil's Curse (aka Credo), (currently available through Lionsgate and iTunes), David Chernushenko’s Powerful: Energy for Everyone as well as Endre Hules' The Maiden Danced to Death. Michael was mentored by BAFTA-winning producer of East is East, Leslee Udwin. He’s an alumnus of the film programme of Ryerson. In October 2006, Michael founded the ‘Just Watch Me!’ Canadian Film Festival and as a story editor, script doctor and lecturer is in steady demand on both sides of the Atlantic.

For further information:
Lois Siegel, Unit Publicist: >>>>>>>
Danny McLeod, Assistant Producer + 613 282-3858

The Independent Filmmakers
Cooperative of Ottawa

319 Lisgar
(Bank & Lisgar)
Ottawa, Canada
(613) 237-0769
Specializing in a unique collection of films
you can't find anywhere else.
Extensive selection of outstanding
 documentary films by independent filmmakers

Ottawa Film Society

Film Office

The Ottawa-Gatineau Film & TV Registry


The 2007-2008 edition of the Registry is available.


Visit our web site or call us to order your copy today.




1386 Richmond Rd., P.O. Box 32114

Ottawa, ON

K2B 1A1


tel: 613.759.0797

fax: 613.721.3953

Ottawa International Animation Festival

Teen Filmmaker First Local to Win

at Ottawa International Animation Festival


©Photo  by Lois Siegel

 Will Inrig's short, animated film
 "The Depose of Bolskivoi Hovhannes" won the
Adobe Prize for High School Animation


This is his first animated film and tells the story of a humble shepherd
on a wind-swept heath in Armenia, whose sheep begin to conspire against him.


Inrig gained significant attention last summer with his debut feature documentary film
"The Exceptional Jivatma Valettas" that chronicles his very eccentric next-door neighbours.
 The film
premiered at the Library and Archives Canada.

He is currently working on another feature documentary
 "The Fantastic Ballet of the Mind and Its Master," exploring the inner fantasies of the autistic mind.

The film is inspired by his younger brother who has been diagnosed with severe autism.
Inrig is working with
the National Film Board of Canada through
 the assistance of Oscar-winning producer Adam Symansky.
Acting as the film’s executive producer is renowned Canadian filmmaker
 and Order of Canada recipient Allan King ("Warrendale," "A Married Couple").

Inrig is mentored by Order of Canada recipient Alanis Obomsawin,
one of Canada’s most distinguished documentary filmmakers
 and Ottawa filmmaker Lois Siegel.


Inrig's first dramatic feature about an enigmatic alien landing in northern Ontario,
 is also being supported by the National Film Board of Canada


 "The Depose of Bolskivoi Hovhannes" was made as part of
Canterbury High School's Media Arts Program 


Director: Will Inrig
Camera: Gordon Bailey

AUDIO: Will Inrig talks to All in a Day host Adrian Harewood on CBC Radio July 23, 2008

 International Launch of Mediateque

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