Film festival hits KW

This year’s third annual Grand River Film Festival (GRFF) in Kitchener-Waterloo was an enriching cultural event that brought the community together to support contemporary filmmakers from Canada and the rest of the world.

The film festival invited the public to encounter and engage with film of today and encouraged innovative film projects from regional, Canadian and international artistic filmmakers. With the collaboration of many staff and volunteers from the surrounding area, GRFF in KW was a success for the third year running.

Lasting from Oct. 22 to 25, the festival featured film screenings in Waterloo, Kitchener and Cambridge. The focus of this year’s GRFF was contemporary film from around the world, with screenings that included Canadian film Pontypool by director Bruce McDonald, on the opening day, and the extraordinary German documentary Hobo Film Festival by director Marco Kreuzpainter.

Staff member of The Children’s Museum, Angela Olano, marketed the film festival to support the arts and film and stated, “It’s nice to help blossoming organizations and festivals.”

One of the main features of the GRFF was the impressive attendance of director Yojiro Takita, whose Japanese film Departures won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

His film takes a look into Japanese cultural heritage and was the winner of the Audience award at the Hawaii International Film Festival and the Palm Spring International Film Festival in 2008, as well as winner at the Grand Prix Montreal World Film Festival in 2008.

The GRFF highlighted its own filmmaking community through the BMO Financial SHORT Shorts. In order to help forward and advance arts and film in the Waterloo Region, aspiring filmmakers were encouraged to submit their films to the short video competition, allowing for the community to see their work.

This year’s Festival:

•Featured 11 SHORT shorts finalists, eight of which were in the Open Category and three films from contestants who were 18 years of age and under.
• Included a two day industry forum called Indie Lounge.
• Guests included actors Stephen McHattie and Lisa Houle of Pontypool and the films screenplay writer, Tony Burgess.

An interview with Yojiro Takita. Takita flew in from Japan just for the festival.

The German documentary Hobo Film Festival by director Marco Kreuzpainter was screened at GIFF.