OurToba to hold screening, networking event

Watch stories about family Jan. 13 and network with OurToba

OurToba Film Network, a non-profit organization that works to support women, non-binary and gender-diverse filmmakers, will present a film screening and networking event this Saturday, Jan. 13. 

The event will be held at 304-100 Arthur St., on the third floor in the Black Lodge studio, and will be pay by donation. Attendees can expect to find light snacks and a cash bar for refreshments as they enjoy six short films by non-binary, gender-diverse and women filmmakers from Manitoba, all focused on the theme of family. 

Kathleen Gallagher, president of the OurToba board, said the idea for the event initially centred around meeting the board members of the organization. 

She and board member Natalia Longley then decided that the screening should include the whole OurToba community, which is when Gallagher thought that a theme would be an interesting way to bring the event together. 

Bebe Blue, a film written by Longley and co-produced by Longley, Gallagher and Trevor Kristjanson about new moms and the struggles of postpartum depression, will be shown at the event.  

Moms Meetup, written and directed by Aniko Kere, deals with themes of varying perspectives and glances into private conversations that are similar to those in Bebe Blue. Both films are fictional narratives.

Heartbeats, Like a Drum Go By, directed by Ana Toumine was produced with the help of Manitoba Opera and is about dealing with grief. The film was made after Toumine’s father passed away in 2020, and mixes experimental film and operatic elements with archival film footage of Toumine’s family. 

Anak, written and directed by Joanne Roberts, sees a return to fictional narrative, and shows three versions of the same character at different points in their life as they deal with their narcissistic mother. 

1980, directed by Haley Charney, is a documentary that explores Charney’s grandfather’s diagnosis with bipolar disorder.

Lastly, Bayline is a tribute documentary directed by JJ Neepin about Neepin’s family going on a trip to visit the place in Manitoba where Neepin’s father grew up. 

Doors for the OurToba film screening and networking event will open at 7 p.m., with the screening set to take place at 7:30 p.m. Following the films, attendees will be welcome to stick around for conversation with one another and some of the filmmakers featured in the screening. 

Gallagher said this event is like a “lead up” to the OurToba film festival, set to take place in June. Submissions for the film festival opened Jan. 8 and will remain open until March 8. Films must be under 20 minutes long, and must feature women, non-binary and gender-diverse directors or co-directors. Further rules can be found on OurToba’s website, and all submissions can be made through FilmFreeway.

According to Gallagher, the films being accepted will also focus on filmmakers from the Prairies.

While the screening and networking event on Jan. 13 is catered toward women, non-binary and gender-diverse people, Gallagher said everyone is welcome. 

“It’s really important that other members of the community, for example, cisgender men, see women, gender-diverse and non-binary filmmakers in these roles,” she said. 

“I think that’s kind of how you bridge those gaps.”