GRFF to open next week

(Graphic by Ali Urosevic)

Beginning next week, the Grand River Film Festival (GRFF) will be taking over movie theatres across the tri-city area.

Running from Oct. 16-21, the festival explores the relationship of people to their community by exploring meaningful stories through the medium of film.

Tamara Louks, the executive director of the GRFF spoke of the intuitive ways in which the festival is engaging with the community, including traditional screenings and free events in more intimate settings.

According to Louks, the festival is trying to push the boundaries of what a film festival can be.

Centred on their mission of “Celebrating community life through film,” the GRFF works hard to stay true to its mission and vision.

“That’s really important for me,” said Louks. “That’s what helps us make all of the decisions about the films we schedule and the programming we have around each one.”

Heading into its sixth year, the GRFF has become creative in its mode of presentation and organization of the films it brings to the community. From a local feature film competition, to a short film festival and inviting speakers to present before screenings, the audience engagement with the content goes beyond screen itself.

“We try to have an event-style screening so there’s something attached to it,” Louks continued. “Whether it’s a Q&A, a panel discussion, a performance or a party. So, you walk away learning a little bit more.”

Many of the films being screened are influenced by this year’s theme of sport as two thirds of the chosen films this year explore the relationship of sport to the community.

Though some of the films have been screened at festivals around the world, Louks notes that the GRFF is not a market festival but rather the program is comprised of “films where our audience can come and learn something.”

“It might have a local context, a national context, an international context,” Louks explained, referring to this year’s films. “We’re not really picking what’s hot at film festivals around the world, we’re picking films that have a really good story and that have something to do with what we’re doing in the region.”

An exhibit of the history of sport fashion is being sponsored this year by the Fashion History Museum and is being shown at the Empire Theatres.

A new program this year called the Cantabrigians, a compilation of clips depicting life in the tri-cities, filmed by members of the community, will be screened at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture in Cambridge on Oct. 21.

The opening night involves a short film festival which take place at the Princess Cinemas in Uptown Waterloo. Over 50 applicants submitted entries, many of them residents of the Waterloo Region, and only ten will continue to the screening on Oct. 16.

The event will be followed by a talk from guest speaker Laura Archibald concerning documentary film making and will feature a networking session with food and drink catered by the Princess Twin.

All other events will be taking place at Empire Theatres in Kitchener.

Screenings are scheduled daily and a reduced student ticket price has been introduced due to a corporate sponsorship program.

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