An international vegan film festival - described by its director as the world's first of its kind - is set to launch later this year in Canada.
The Ottawa International Vegan Film Festival, which will take place on October 14, aims to showcase short and feature-length films with a vegan subject matter from filmmakers around the world.
Its mission is to: "Be the leading film festival for vegan films that inspire people to choose a healthier, environmentally friendly and more compassionate lifestyle through the consumption of plants and animal-free alternatives."
Speaking about what the makes the festival unique - and the first of its kind - Festival Director Shawn Stratton told PBN: "I have seen other vegan film events, but have not found one that is annual or with an international focus.
"The others seem to be one-off local events that show 'blockbuster' vegan-based films.
"Our goal in the coming years is to take the best of the festival on tour around the world."
According to Stratton, he is 'excited' about inspiring people to adopt a vegan lifestyle.
He said: "Vegan-based documentaries have had a profound impact on mine and my wife's decision to switch to a plant-based diet.
"For me it was Forks Over Knives. I know many of these doctors have had a tremendous effect in getting people around the world to move to a vegan lifestyle."
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He added: "I just assumed there must be several vegan film festivals going on and was shocked to see there didn't seem to be an annual vegan film festival anywhere in the world.
"I thought, now would be a great time to start such a festival as there seems to be more and more quality vegan-themed films coming out each year."
Stratton wants to support vegan filmmakers, by providing an avenue to show their films to new audiences and provide awards to help them get recognition for their projects.
He said: "The long-term vision for the festival is to gather a 'best of the best' compilation of the video submitted and take it on tour around the world.
"We are also interested in adding a vegan book festival in the coming years.
"Right now, the festival is a one-day event but as it grows we would like to see it expand to a weekend and then a week with multiple screening rooms, seminars, and expert speakers from the plant-based community."
Stratton is looking for filmmakers to submit their work.
The entry deadline is July 31 this year, and the festival welcomes 'vegan themed films from film-makers around the world – both short and full-length features, fiction and documentary'.
According to event organizers: "All entries will be viewed prior to the Festival by a pre-selection Committee chaired by the Festival Director and Programming Director. Finalists chosen by this Committee will be screened by an appointed international jury."
You can find out more about the festival - including how to apply - here
Maria is a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer. Her writing has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle. You can follow her on Twitter @MariaChiorando and Instagram @mariachiorando.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are prepared in the author's capacity and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Plant Based News itself.
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