On March 15, I was under complete lockdown in Archidona, Ecuador. It was at the moment that I had a realization. That owning and operating any kind of event is likely one of the worst situations to be in. I had a moment of panic as my 5-year project might have been coming to an end.

The Ottawa Adventure Film festival is only 3 years old. While it has grown far beyond what I had ever thought it would, it is still in the early stages. I believe this can be an international event, hosted right in our region in a grassroots style. We have only just begun to bring together this incredible community.

Audience Favourite Moksha from AndShe’sDopeToo

To me, this means that the OAFF is still in an extremely fragile state. One bad year could mean the end of this event.

An easy solution during lockdown would have been to go quiet and accept our fate. But I have such an amazing team behind me (Jordan, Alex, Jacinthe, Michelle, Melanie, Shana, & Holly). And I knew we could double down on what would normally be a very quiet time of year for us. Our mission was to send out as much positivity as possible. This meant telling great stories, sharing what our filmmakers and influencers are doing, and helping our community partners (sometimes known as sponsors) in every way we can.

Any light during a dark time we could provide, we wanted to test it out. As a result, I sincerely hope we touched people along the way and made a brighter day when times have been not so bright.

“Surfer Dan” from Camp4 Collective

I write this while many of you may still be watching OAFF: From the Couch, the second virtual event we have put on over the last two months. This event is an experiment to see where we fit into the virtual world. But it also represents an opportunity to support the creatives and teammates that put their hearts into this festival. This includes Jessica Pearson and the East Wind, host David Brennan, our amazing writing and media team, and the creatives of Five2Nine who assemble this experience for you.

A side note, thank you to all involved for doing all the amazing things you do. I never expected that this would touch the community in the way it did. The feedback from people reaching out has been overwhelming. Sometimes it is easy to forget what an impact a little adventure in your life can have. Even if it is just watching some great films with your family on a Saturday night.

Mike McKay Five2Nine

Jondachi from Five2Nine

Ottawa, you have inspired me to keep pushing harder to bring you the best festival I can. You have moved me with your positivity and resilience in a time of major change and uncertainty. Your willingness to allow us to support you in the ways we can, shows me that we truly are a strong community. And with that, I am going to make sure that OAFF 2020 is the best festival yet.

With the second OAFF: From the Couch now completed it is time for us to take a break. This means we will be quiet while we assemble OAFF 2020 for this fall. The event is on, stronger than ever, virtual or in-person or both. We will be back with amazing content in a couple of months, with some previews of what we have in store for you. I can’t wait.

Thank you, Ottawa. Adventure safe. Adventure hard. Adventure together.


Festival director

Meet the Team:

Mike McKay
Head Button Pusher

Jordan Kent
Dept. of Making Sure The Website Works & Resident Friendly Face

Michelle Da Alva
Dept. of Aesthetics & New Adventures

Jacinthe Goulet
Dept. of Global Domination

Holly Gordon
Dept. of Global Domination

Shana Cesaire
Resident Wordsmith

Melanie Dahling
Resident Wordsmith

Alex Guimont
Dept. of A Little Bit of Everything