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

Peggy Guggenheim
Art Addict

January 27-30

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


February 15, 17, 18

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

February 24, 25


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

Lois Siegel's Home Page