Festival Spotlight: Highway Gospel
Welcome to the first instalment of the 2011 Ottawa International Film Festival’s Filmmaker spotlight, a series that follows the works of filmmakers involved in this year’s festival. We hope that these condensed features aid you, the festival-goer, in selecting a schedule that reflects your own personal interests - be it documentary, experimental, narrative or a combination of many styles. Today’s spotlight is on the Ottawa-premiere of Highway Gospel - a documentary with heart. An official selection at the HotDocs and DOXA film festivals, OIFF is pleased to present such a unique and Canadian film.
Highway Gospel, directed by Jaret Belliveau and co-directed/produced by Craig Jackson, is, at its heart, a story about passion, dedication and extraordinarily unique characters. Shot over a 4 year period, the film is a true labour of love. With scenes shot in Ottawa, British Columbia, Washington State and Sweden and a summer spent working out of Belliveau’s ‘76 Volkswagen, Highway Gospel tells the tale of people coming together to form a community and putting everything on the line for the sport they love. The film holds its Ottawa Premiere with OIFF in association with the World Championship of Slalom Skateboarding, which will be held from August 19th to the 21st in Ottawa as well.
While this is Belliveau’s directorial debut, the NSCAD graduate is no stranger to the world of Canadian art and film. Majoring in photography, Belliveau’s work was selected to be a part of the Swiss exhibit “reGeneration: 50 Photographers of Tomorrow” at the Musee de L’Elysee. Domestically, his photography can also be seen at The Stephen Bulger Gallery in Toronto. Beginning with his minor in film history, Belliveau transformed his flare for the photographic image to that of the moving image.
Belliveau notes the difference between Gospel and the hyper-commercialized skateboard industry that is portrayed by the media. Where previous Hollywood films such as Lords of Dogtown or Grind present one side of skateboard culture, the Gospel team focuses more on the emergence of downhill skateboard and the culture that surrounds it. Within this newly development discipline, the filmmakers find a way to challenge stereotypes, break down barriers and present a heartwarming, often comedic portrayal of real struggles and achievements.
Highway Gospel runs 91 minutes and will screen at 8:00pm on Friday, August 20th. Tickets can be purchased on the day-of at the Empire Theatres @ the World Exchange Plaza, located at 111 Albert Street, or online at OIFF.ca. The film has an OIFF unofficial rating of 14A for language and reckless behaviour. Stay tuned for more info about a pre-screening event to be hosted on Sparks Street. Check out Highway Gospel’s facebook and official site for even more coverage.