Ottawa’s Annual Free Thinking Film Festival

By Pam McLennan, Epoch Times
October 25, 2013 Updated: October 26, 2013

Ottawa’s Free Thinking Film Society presents insightful and thought-provoking films throughout the year along with an annual film festival. This year, the society’s fourth film festival is no exception. The stellar lineup of films and panel discussions has something for everyone who likes to be informed or challenged or both.

All films and events are at Library and Archives Canada on Wellington Street.

For a full list of films see their website at www.freethinkingfilmfest.ca/schedule.html

Here are a few of the films on offer.

Collision! Free Speech and Religion
Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013
7:00 PM
Main Auditorium

Written and presented by Danish human rights lawyer Jacob Mchangama, Collision! focuses on the tense and sometimes violent relationship between free speech and religious sensitivities. The film looks at free speech within the context of recent events surrounding Islamic outrage over incendiary cartoons and films that led to violent riots from Cairo to Karachi. The outcome of the battle between free speech and religious sensitivity, says Mchangama, will have profound consequences for the ability of people everywhere to freely express themselves and follow their beliefs.

An Evening with Barbara Kay
Friday, Nov. 1, 2013
Main Auditorium
7:00 PM

A discussion rather than a film, National Post columnist Barbara Kay will read from her new book, Acknowledgements, and discuss her work with Free Thinking Film Society Founder and President Fred Litwin. A Q&A with the audience will follow.

The Ambassador
Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013
Main Auditorium
12:30 PM

This darkly comic, genre-bending film exposes the shady business of selling diplomatic titles. Wealthy businessmen use such titles to exploit the lucrative and limited resources of war-torn third world nations. Filmmaker Mads Brügger (Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner for The Red Chapel) takes his audience on a descent into the dangerous Central African Republic. Absurd, terrifying, and hilarious.

The Sheik and I
Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013
Room 156
4:30 PM

Filmmaker Caveh Zahedi was commissioned by the Sharjah Biennial of the United Arab Emirates to make a film about art as a subversive act, but he went overboard. He could do anything he wanted, they said, but make fun of the Sheik, who rules the country and finances the Biennial. Zahedi disobeys, fully and gleefully, ending up under threat of fatwa.

Hacked! When Cyber Spies Attack
Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013
Main Auditorium
7:00 PM

This Australian film examines the extent of cyber-spying detected Down Under and what state secrets have been stolen over the years. An insightful documentary, it will be followed by a panel discussion with experts on what is known about China cyber-spying against Canada and other Western countries.

Transcending Fear: The Story of Gao Zhisheng
Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013
Room 156
3:00 PM

This fascinating documentary tells the story of self-made lawyer Gao Zhisheng whose bold altruism cost him everything he knew. Still imprisoned, Gao made his name defending some of China’s most oppressed communities, including activists, Christians, Falun Gong practitioners, and many others.

Arrested and tortured, Gao refused to bend and exposed the crimes committed against him before being rearrested. He remains in prison and has not been allowed any outside visitors for several years.

Delicious Peace Grows in a Ugandan Coffee Bean
Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013
Main Auditorium
7:00 PM

A film on how Muslims, Christians, and Jews are working together in Uganda at a coffee co-op. This night you can taste some delicious coffee and meet the head of the Ugandan Jewish community.

For details about all the films and related events, including panel discussions, go to www.freethinkingfilmfest.ca

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