Independent Filmmakers Co-operative of Ottawa



When did IFCO begin?
Initial meetings regarding the creation of a new co-op took place beginning in the spring of 1991. The Independent Filmmakers Co-operative of Ottawa Inc. (IFCO) was officially incorporated on January 15th, 1992.

Has IFCO always been in its current location?
Since our incorporation, we’ve always been in the Arts Court building – although in a few different locations.  We’ve been in the current location (suite 140) since February 1996.

Who started IFCO?
It was founded by a group of five people: Glen Cross, Wayne Meade, David Chow, Scott Galley and Monica Szenteszky.

What is the Mission of the Co-op?
The Independent Filmmakers Co-operative of Ottawa Inc. (IFCO) is a centre for artists who express their ideas, values and experiences using the medium of film. IFCO provides, on a co-operative basis, training, facilities, equipment, funding, information resources and means to exhibit work. IFCO aims to encourage a critical discourse in and an historical appreciation of film as and artform, and to develop, support and sustain an innovative and diverse Ottawa-based community of artists.

What are IFCOs hours?
Our hours are 10AM to 6PM from Monday to Friday, with the exclusion of statutory holidays. We do occasionally have after-hours programming, as well as after-hours access, by members, to many of our facilities, upon request. Please note, however, that the main office area is only open during the aforementioned hours.


How do I get to IFCO?
IFCO is located in the heart of downtown Ottawa, Canada, in the Arts Court building, located at 2 Daly Avenue at the corner of Daly and Nicholas. There are many buses that take you fairly close to the Arts Court building. OC Transpo route information is available at We are just east of the Rideau Centre, and a few blocks south of Rideau Street. Arts Court is accessible off the Queensway (Highway 417) by taking the Nicholas Street exit.

What’s the best way to contact the office?
You can reach us at (613) 569-1789 during our office hours. Faxes can also be sent to (613) 564-4428 (just say ATTN: IFCO on it, as it goes to a central reception desk).

Emails can be sent to:
Patrice James, Executive Director
Daniel Oniszeczko, Technical Coordinator
Membership Coordinator
Grant Committee,
Board of Directors,

Or our general e-mail, if you don’t know whom to send your questions/comments to:

Where does IFCO get its operating funding?
IFCO gets its funding from the following sources:
– The City of Ottawa;
– The Canada Council for the Arts;
– The Ontario Arts Council; and
– Self-generated revenue, mainly through membership fees, tuition fees, equipment rentals, fundraising events, ad sales, private donations, and screening revenues.


How do I apply to become an IFCO member?
You have to carefully read and fill out an IFCO Membership Form New. A membership costs $80.00 (including tax), or $25.00 (including tax) if you are a full-time university, college, or high school student. Please contact IFCO’s Membership Coordinator either via e-mail at or call 613.569.1789, to find out about the other necessary elements you’ll need to complete your membership application.

What are the main benefits of becoming an IFCO member?
Being an IFCO member has a lot of great benefits and privileges, including the following:
– access to IFCO production and post-production equipment;
– access to workshops;
– a weekly e-newsletter with info about all upcoming events/screenings/workshops; and
– the opportunity to meet other local filmmakers who love film as much as you do.

How long does a membership last?
It lasts until the end of the same month in the following year. For instance, if you purchase a membership on January 10th, 2006, it will last until January 31st, 2007.

Is membership refundable?
No, as per IFCO’s ByLaws, it isn’t.

Are there any age restrictions on being an IFCO member?
Membership is restricted to those who are 16 years of age or older. This is due to a requirement in the Ontario Co-operative Corporations Act, which requires that members of a Co-operative be at least 16. Please note, however, that periodically throughout the year, we do offer workshops and programming for those under the age of 16.

What is the difference between being a Full member and a Basic member?
This is a distinction based on the number of volunteer hours you have contributed towards the Co-op. In a nutshell:

Basic Membership
(where fewer than 20 hours of volunteer time is contributed)
– voting rights at the AGM;
– weekly e-newsletter on IFCO events and community news;
– access to workshops;
– access to equipment and facilities at IFCO; and
– eligibility to apply for IFCO Mini Production Grants depending on level of training.

Full Membership
(where at least 20 hours of volunteer time is contributed)
– all basic member privileges;
– reductions on equipment rental and facility rates;
– eligibility to apply for IFCO’s Mini Production Grants or Frank Cole Production Grants depending on level of filmmaking experience and combined training;
– reduced rates on IFCO workshops; and
– eligibility to run for IFCO’s Board of Directors (if you are a member in good standing for at least 1 year)

Organizational Membership
LIMITED access to a range of production equipment, including lights, grip gear and cameras (Subject to demonstration of user competency as approved by IFCOs Technical staff);
Organizational Membership does not provide the right to vote at IFCO’s AGM, or the right to run for IFCO’s Board of Directors;
– Rent production equipment and post-production facilities at the Basic Member’s rate for organizational productions;
– Booking of production equipment and post-production facilities up to three (3) weeks in advance; and
– Weekly e-mail bulletins on IFCO events and community news.

Please note: The benefits of this membership are organizational ONLY, and do NOT extend down to staff, members or students of the organizational member.


What sort of volunteering opportunities are available to members?
There are lots of opportunities we have available, ranging from helping in the office, to giving us a hand with postering, helping at events such as screenings or fundraisers, assisting with workshops, lending your voice on committees, and much more!

If I’not a member, can I still volunteer for IFCO?
While we would like to offer this arrangement; IFCO’s membership structure as explained in the (Basic vs. Full distinction – see above); our volunteer opportunities are only available to our members.

So, do I have to do 20 volunteer hours every year, or just once?
In a nutshell, the way it works is:
Basic members who accumulate 20 volunteer hours towards the Co-op will have their membership status changed to being that of a Full member. They will maintain this Full member status, as long as they at no point allow their IFCO membership to lapse for more than 6 months at any one time. In other words, you essentially just have to do the 20 hours once. You would only revert back to being a Basic member, if your membership lapsed, on any one occasion, for more than 6 months.

So if Im a brand new member joining for the first time, I start out as a Basic member?
That’s right.

Can I work acquire my volunteer hours by working on other IFCO members films?
No, not currently. While we certainly encourage members to gain experience working on other members’ films, our feeling is that volunteer hours towards gaining Full member status should be focussed on activities which help the Co-op with its operations, activities and services.

So once Im done my first 20 volunteer hours, can I keep doing more volunteer hours?
We really do appreciate your enthusiasm; at times, there may indeed be opportunities to allow members to do additional volunteer work after they’ve attained Full member status. But in fairness, we do have to try to divvy volunteer opportunities among many members, including those who are still working towards their initial 20 hour requirement – so, it may be difficult at times to promise additional hours beyond the initial twenty.

Who do I contact if I want to volunteer?
The best person to contact is our Membership Coordinator, who can be reached at


Who do I contact if I want to rent equipment?
IFCO’s Technical Coordinator. The Technical Coordinator can give you a hand with your rental needs and schedules. He can be reached at, or at 613-569-1789.

So, can I rent equipment for absolutely any type of project?
Well, not exactly. Your rental must be for an eligible project as set out by the guidelines contained in our Equipment Rental Policies and Procedures document. In a nutshell, supported projects include independent films over which the renting member retains ultimate creative and editorial control, and final copyright over the film.

What sort of experience do I have to have to rent equipment from IFCO?
The basic rule of thumb is that our Technical Coordinator has to be comfortable that you’re competent with the equipment in question. Proof of having taken a workshop or technical training session relating to the piece of equipment, or proof of prior experience through another means, is generally sufficient. For more information regarding our equipment rental policies and procedures, please contact the Technical Coordinator at, or visit the “Equipment” page on our website.

If Im a Basic member, can I rent equipment at Full member rates, and promise to do volunteer hours later?
No, unfortunately not. The reduced rates offered to Full members are in recognition of the contribution, the member has made through volunteer service to the Co-op.

Do I have to pay for equipment right away when I rent it, or can I wait until I bring it back?
IFCO has a Pay As You Go Policy, with regards to all rentals of IFCO equipment or use of its post-production facilities; payment is required immediately. With respect to our post facilities, we request that payment be made as soon as possible after using them. If you are leaving the facilities during business hours, you are generally required to submit a payment to IFCO’s Membership Coordinator. If you are using facilities outside business hours, payment is required as soon as possible, and ideally prior to your next use of the facility. Failure to pay invoices in a timely manner will result in a suspension of services (whether in-house or outside), until all previous invoices have been paid off in full.

Can I pick up some equipment at 10PM on Saturday night, and bring it back at 8AM on Monday morning, so that Ill be charged less?
Equipment rental pick-ups and drop-offs are scheduled ONLY during our business hours (Monday to Friday 10AM to 6PM).  We also offer a discount on weekend rentals; if you take out equipment on a Friday, and bring it back on the following Monday, you’re charged for 1.5 days.

Can you keep a tab for my next few rentals, and I’ll pay at the end of this month?
No, IFCO has a Pay As You Go Policy, with regards to all rentals of IFCO equipment or use of its post-production facilities; payment is required immediately.


Is there any store in Ottawa where I can buy motion picture film?
No – or at least, not new film.

Can I order film through IFCO?
Only IFCO members are able to order motion picture film through IFCO, by contacting our Technical Coordinator at Please note that payment for the film must be received before the film can be released. It usually takes 1-2 business days for us to receive film once it is ordered. Certain special order stocks take longer to receive – as long as 2 weeks.

What types of film can I order?
You can order essentially any Super 8mm, 16mm or 35mm (both black and white and colour).  Kodak is presently IFCO’ s film stock supplier of choice.

What are the main labs and post houses that IFCO members use for their projects?
The majority of post facilities which members use are located in Toronto. A full list of these is available, upon request, by contacting our Technical Coordinator at


What are Advanced/Focussed Workshops?
IFCO offers a fair number of Advanced/Focussed Workshops, which deal with general and specialized areas in filmmaking, such as Documentary Filmmaking, Grantwriting, Optical Printing, and more. These are most commonly offered on weeknight evenings, and occasionally on weekends.

How does it work with respect to registration/payment for workshops?
Registration is on a first-come, first-serve basis. To be officially registered for a workshop, you must have paid the tuition amount owing in full, prior to the workshop. To see a copy of our “WorkshopPolicy” document, which outlines our policies regarding payment, registration, cancellation, and more, please contact the office.

Is there any way that I can see previous films that have been made by IFCO’s members over the years?
We do have a library of VHS or DVD copies of about 85-90% of members’ films that have been made over the years. Copies of IFCO’s members’ films from IFCO’s film library, can be signed out by members (generally for a week-long period), for private viewing use only. We do also have select film release prints/answer prints for the majority of films that have been made by IFCO members since we began, which we use in various of IFCO’s public screenings.  Please contact the office for more information.

Are IFCO members films ever shown at venues in Ottawa?
IFCO has screenings each year showcasing both new films by IFCO members, as well as members’ films from IFCO’s library.  These screening presentations, including our annual gala screening première, are usually held at various venues which have been used for screenings coordinated by IFCO, including the ByTowne Cinema, Club SAW, and Mercury Lounge to name a few. Over the years, some members have coordinated their own screenings at other venues such as the Ottawa Public Library Theatre, the University of Ottawa, and the Mayfair Theatre.

Have any IFCO members ever made featurelength films?
Yes, there have been a few:

Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter (2001) by Lee Demarbre
Once Upon a Time in Suburbia (2003) by Dino Koutras
Harry Knuckles and the Curse of the Pearl Necklace (2004) by Lee Demarbre

Have IFCO members’ films ever been shown at any international film festivals, or on television?
Yes, they’ve been screened at festivals all over the world, including the Toronto International Film Festival, the Montreal World Film Festival, the Cannes Film Festival, and dozens more. Films have also been screened on IFC, the CBC, and Rogers 22, to name a few broadcasters.

Are films made by IFCO members considered to be IFCO films“?  Does the film belong to IFCO once I am done?
This wording has often informally been used, although technically an independent film created by a member of the Co-op belongs to the member, and not the Co-op.  As per our Equipment Rental Policy and Procedures, equipment and/or technical services provided by the Co-0p are meant to be in support of projects over which the renting member (the director) retains ultimate creative and editorial control, as well as final copyright over the project.


IFCO Newsletter