By Brock Butler 
BELLEVILLE – Film and television production – interactive media development  students from Loyalist College  submitted documentaries to the 2020 Belleville Downtown DocFest, which took place over the weekend.
DocFest is a community-oriented documentary film festival to promote awareness in what is happening around the world through documentary films and has been around since 2012.
It provides an opportunity for community involvement for audience members, local filmmakers, non-profit agencies and organizations, volunteers, and students.
Three of the seven students who directed their documentary films and submitted them for the DocFest said the experience is rewarding.
Udai Singh directed the documentary film, Until The Cure.
The film is about a Phil Howlett, a professor of the community and justice studies  program at Loyalist College, who runs a charity marathon every year in Orlando, Florida, at Disney World.
He is 61-years-old and still runs every year for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society  to raise money for cancer and cancer research.
The thing pulled Singh toward this story was Howlett’s reason to run.
Howlett does it in memory of his mom and his brother-in-law. Both died of leukemia.
Singh was inspired by Howlett.
“He so passionate, he enjoys his life to the fullest, and he really motivates me,” he said.
“I’m really thankful I got to share his story and experience those experiences and get to hear about his story.
Howlett told Singh he is never going to stop running until there’s a cure. This became the name of his documentary, Until The Cure.
The message Singh wants to bring is the documentary showing how a goal and motive can push someone.
“It’s about celebrating people around you who are will-powered, have strong wills, and they are out for a bigger cause. It’s about letting the community know, yes, these people are around, help them out.”
This is the first time that something that he made will be shown on a big screen and he said he is pretty excited about that
Another student, Jessi Odaisky, is the director of the documentary film, Tears Mean Love.
The film is about a woman named Evelyn Wilson, who won the Peter Soumalias Unsung Hero Honour, awarded by the Canada Walk of Fame  for her volunteer work. She devotes much of her time raising money to fight kid’s cancer. But she also does a lot of volunteering around Trenton.
Wilson lost her twin brother to cancer when she was six-years-old. In 2010, she lost her 15-year-old daughter Katie to cancer just eight months after she, herself, was diagnosed, and her father-in-law was diagnosed with ALS.
Even after facing so much tragedy, she kept fighting.
Odiasky said she wanted to be able to showcase someone who gave so much of herself for everything she does.
Cody McLean, a cameraman for the film, said this doc is about coming “back from hardship and what’s she done with the amount of loss she’s had to endure.”
The name of the documentary was named after Wilson’s foundation. Still, the name came from when her daughter was diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma, cancer that starts in your bones, when she was deemed palliative, people wanted to see her but said they don’t want to cry.
Wilson told them that the tears are coming anyway, and it’s because “Tears actually mean love.”
Another student entry came from Luiza Anderle, who is the director of The Barber.
The Barber is about a local barbershop owned by Tiff Pope and how she managed to start her business in a male-dominated industry.
Anderle said she is a feminist person and believed Pope’s story would be a good one to tell because it challenges stereotypes.
“I thought it was an interesting story to tell,” Anderle said.
The message for the audience is very simple, she said.
“We can be anywhere. We can do anything. And we can have a barbershop and do a man’s beard. It’s just a haircut. As long as you’re happy with it,” Anderle said.
There are many benefits to students, Anderle said. In DocFest, Loyalist students get feedback from judges and people who are working in the industry, and it’s not from someone that knows you or has been through it with you for a long time.
“It’s feedback from someone who is watching your story and just judging it. There’s no personal connection and no way to be personally,” she said.
She said she wants the real feedback of the work.
“That’s why I wanted to make this and see what they think of it,” she said
Holly Dewar, the manager of public services at the Belleville Public Library and John M. Parrott Art Gallery , spoke to QNet News about the DocFest event why Loyalist College students are involved.
She said Loyalist is a part of the community, and DocFest started a partnership with the Loyalist college and that the film and TV production short film competition has been running for the past seven years.
“That’s really an important and rewarding part of DocFest,” she said.
She said DocFest has seven films that the students have created. Documentaries, short documentaries and have a panel of established filmmaker judges who will be there.
They will provide feedback on the films that the students have produced and then select three top movies. Those three will then be included in the film festival, so DocFest audience gets an opportunity to see those top three to four student films.
The student films were presented at the Alumni Hall at Loyalist College, Wednesday evening from 6 to 9 p.m., and the top three selected films were screened for the general public as part of DocFest’s Local Spotlight on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at the Core Centre  .
DocFest started on Friday and ended on Sunday.