Algonquin Times – Graduate Film in the Spotlight at SAW


Graduate Film in the Spotlight at SAW

by Dan Taccone, The Algonquin Times, September 25, 2014

Club SAW’s comfortably dim lights and three-dollar Stella Artois greeted the attendees at the Sept. 13 premiere of the North American screening of a short film produced by one of Algonquin’s very own alumni.

Jith Paul, a graduate of the television broadcast program, premiered his short film A Clean Slate on Sept. 13 at club SAW. The film was notable for crowdfunding on the site to raise awareness and funding.

Jith Paul, a graduate of the television broadcast program, premiered his short film A Clean Slate on Sept. 13 at club SAW. The film was notable for crowdfunding on the site to raise awareness and funding.

A Clean Slate, which was funded in part by crowdfunding site, features a former lead singer who battles her debilitating stage fright on her journey back to the spotlight. Directed by Jith Paul, a graduate of the television broadcast program, the film is a comedy, whose clever one-liners brought laughs from the audience.

”I enjoyed it,” said attendee Corey Mayville, confessing that he almost always sticks to big budget flicks. “I liked it a lot more than I thought I would.”

Paul takes to the stage immediately prior to the filming, announcing that, in a change of plans, the night was no longer set to be a world premiere. Instead, the film had been accepted to the Valle D’Itria Film Festival in Italy, and had opened just days before, making Sept.13 the North American premiere instead.

“It’s a small festival,” said Paul in an interview before the premiere. “They’ve played three of my movies this week, and this was one of them.”

While the film was originally intended as a television series, Paul made the decision to submit the piece as a short film.

“We stand a better chance getting into a festival as a short film rather than a pilot,” he said, explaining that he hopes this will attract interest and investors to help in expanding the film into a web series.”

The film was shot in April, which in typical Ottawa fashion brought its own problems.


“Our shoot was in April, and who thought it was going to snow?” said Paul. “We had one scene that was half outside, so the actresses were real troopers. We had parkas just off-frame and we’d wrap them up as soon as they finished their scene.”

While Paul was happy with the shoot as a whole, he did not think that everything went totally according to plan.

“We didn’t get everything we wanted shot but that’s the reality of it. We could’ve had more but there were more important shots so we moved things around so that we could tell the story.”

One of the most important scenes is the closing scene of the main character, Gianna, overcoming her stage fright, finally singing with the band.

“I made the decision to have Beki [Lantos] sing live as opposed to having her record the song and play it back,” said Paul. “It worked really well and I’m very impressed with how it shows on screen.”

Beki Lantos, the lead actress who played Gianna, certainly appreciated having the opportunity to show off her voice.

“The thing that was lots of fun was that I got to sing. I’ve been singing my whole life and have never been able to mix the two of film and music,” said Lantos.

Lantos not only performed live at the conclusion of the film, she also wrote and recorded Let Me Fly, which plays during the closing credits, as soon as she got home after rehearsal.

“North Easton, from the band My Favourite Tragedy, wrote the song [Beki] sings at the end of the movie, but also produced Beki’s song for the credits,” said Paul. “I really liked seeing that collaboration and I like to think that we had a small part in bringing those two people together.”

It’s fostering collaboration like this has brought Paul a certain reputation in Ottawa’s filmmaking community.

“I was really impressed by the initiatives around Treepot and his community building initiatives,” said Penny McCann, Director of SAW Video, speaking of his efforts through his company, Treepot Media. “So I talked to the board about approaching him to join our board of directors because he fit the idea of SAW Video really well.”

“Jith was great’” said Lantos. “He was really open to suggestions and ideas.”

Paul recognizes the importance of working together with actors, especially for his time using union actors.

“It’s my first union shot, so I want to be good to my actors and want to work with them again,” he said.

This was Paul’s first comedy, certainly a different experience that flexes different acting and directing muscles.

“It was fun. It isn’t as effortless as it might look, it just looks that way when it’s finally done. There’s a lot of work that goes into making it look that way,” said Paul.

“Maybe the next one will be a musical.”


Two more festival screenings for Ottawa documentary “Partners for Peace”


Two more festival screenings for Ottawa documentary “Partners for Peace”


Partners for Peace is a feature-length documentary film that follows a delegation of American and Canadian women—led by Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams—on a journey to Israel and Palestine. Their quest, to learn about the decades-long conflict and to reach out in solidarity to women activists striving amidst the turmoil, to forge a path toward peace. Confronted by the complex and brutal depth of the conflict, they are inspired by the commitment and sacrifices of the women they meet, and challenged to ask difficult questions of themselves, and of us all.

Treepot Media congratulates collaborators Kublacom Pictures and the Nobel Women’s Initiative on having the film selected to screen at two more festivals!

Partners for Peace has been officially selected to screen at the Boston Palestine Film Festival in October 2014 and at the 23rd annual St. Louis International Film Festival in November 2014.

For more info click here.


A Clean Slate


A Clean Slate is a comedic short film about a once promising pop singer struggling to overcome her debilitating career ending stage fright with the help of her two friends.

The completed film premiered at the Valle d’Itria Film Festival in Italy followed hours later with a premiere in Ottawa at the final Treepot screening at Club SAW. The event was a fundraiser for SAW Video, a local not-for-profit Media Arts Centre.  The film was released online a few days later and is embedded below. Check it out.


Directed by Treepot Media founder Jith Paul, A Clean Slate was our first foray into crowd-funding.  We ran a successful Kickstarter campaign which included a fundraiser screening of short films on February 8th at Ottawa U. Scroll down this page for more about that fundraising event.  By the time the campaign closed on March 14, 2014 we had raised over $3,000 which went a long way towards funding the film. This film would not have been possible without our generous Kickstarter backers!


4K Trailer

A Clean Slate was lensed by cinematographer Karim Ayari and shot on RED Scarlet at 4K resolution. We released a 4K trailer on YouTube to demonstrate the resolution at which the film was shot and to create buzz about the film.

One Last Drink – the spin-off

Sometimes it takes a person who is outside of a situation to help us see things clearly. In One Last Drink, a couple is toasting to the end of their marriage when they encounter a piano player who helps them rediscover the Spark that got them together in the first place.

One Last Drink is another short film directed by Jith Paul (lensed by Nicolas Séguin) featuring two background performers from A Clean Slate as principal cast. The film premiered at the historic Mayfair Theatre in Ottawa on June 25th, 2014, well in advance of the completion of A Clean Slate. More information about the cast and crew for this short film can be found here.

Production Blog for A Clean Slate

We created a production blog to update fans during the pre-production and our shoot in April 2014.  Check it out here: Production Blog.


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The Cast of A Clean Slate



The Fundraiser screenings on February 8th at Ottawa U



Photos from the set of A Clean Slate


More photos in our production blog


Fundraiser Screening – Saturday February 8th at Alumni Auditorium (University of Ottawa).  Details here.

Online screening THE MULLIGAN – March 15th on Indie Koala Details here.


A few public Facebook posts and Tweets related to our kickstarter campaign and the premiere













More tweets…

The final Treepot screening – Thanks!


A packed house.  

A “standing room only” event.  

What an awesome screening tonight.  

Thanks to everyone who came out to check out the premiere of A Clean Slate at our fundraiser for SAW Video, an artist-run not-for-profit media art centre this evening.  

Renting a space to celebrate the work of local independent filmmakers was a new and relatively unique concept when we started in 2011.  

Thanks to everyone who has supported our screenings and the indie filmmakers whose work we have showcased at the Bytowne, Mayfair, Dundonald Park, Ottawa U and ClubSAW over the past 3 years.  Thanks to our collaborators, the casts, crews and fans!  

What an incredible ride and a beautiful way to end the series.  

Looking back at 10 incredible celebrations and looking forward to what comes next!



Click on the graphic below for details on each one of 10 screenings of the series.

A few public Facebook posts and Tweets from the event

Three Treepot Media Short Films screen in Italy


Three short films directed by Treepot founder Jith Paul will screen at the Valle d’Itria Film Festival in Apulia Italy next week.  

Congratulations to the cast and crew and thanks to fans of the short films.

Algebra, Jith’s directorial debut, is an award-winning short film about a painter grappling with the loss of his sight.

A Clean Slate is a short film about a singer who struggles to overcome her debilitating stage fright with the help of her friends.

Join us for the Ottawa premiere at Club SAW on Saturday September 13th.

One Last Drink is about a couple toasting the end of their marriage when then encounter a piano player who tries to convince them to remember why they got together in the first place.

Royalty-Free Stock Video at Pond5

Link, Connect, Follow

Treepot Media:

Jith Paul: