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Festival Overview

2017 marks the 11th year for the Grand River Film Festival (GRFF). Already well established as a regional festival within Waterloo Region, GRFF has a number of new initiatives, seeking growth in audience demographics and becoming a notable film festival in Canada.

Celebrating and inspiring community through the shared experience of film, the Grand River Film Festival hosts an annual festival dedicated to bringing bold, reflective and inspiring films to Waterloo Region (Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo). Off­season film events are held in collaboration with other regional community partners. In 2017 we are facilitating a 4 day fest incorporating with a renewed focus on the strengths of our region.

GRFF programs local, Canadian and international films, pairing screenings with panels consisting of film directors, industry professionals, local interest groups and notable guest speakers. GRFF recognizes the power of film to connect people and is thrilled to act as a vehicle for the community to build relationships and host meaningful conversations within the Waterloo Region.

Notable past guests include Academy Award director Yojiro Takita and actress Susan Sarandon, Nobel Peace Prize nominee Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, Juno award winners Rita Chiarelli, Paul James and Sylvia Tyson, prima ballerina Veronica Tennant, award winning Canadian directors Sturla Gunnarson, Charles Wilkinson, Bruce McDonald, and many other directors, actors, writers and producers in the film industry.

GRFF strives to create a supportive environment for local filmmakers and artists, a place where mentorship and networking opportunities occur, and acts as a forum for their talents to be celebrated and showcased to the community. Workshops, lectures and trade shows provide professional development opportunities.

The Region is expanding at a fantastic rate and the creative community is vibrant. GRFF believes it is essential to give local artists a stage to showcase their work in the Region and be nurtured within the community. We are currently in the process of rebranding the festival to celebrate and focus on our next 10 years by engaging our creative talent by launching a competition to promote the artwork of local artists on our film posters and other visual content. These limited edition prints will be a cornerstone of the festival brand in 2017 and beyond.

GRFF is an incorporated not­for­profit and member of good standing with the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce, KW Volunteer Action Centre and Volunteer Cambridge. GRFF builds brand trust and loyalty across Waterloo Region through partnerships with local venues, organizations, academic institutions, the film community, events and other film festivals. Community partnerships are a dynamic way to increase outreach, remain relevant to our community’s needs and leverage shared resources. A short list of community partners includes Idea Exchange, THEMUSEUM, Apollo Cinema, UW School of Architecture, Ed Video Media Arts Centre, Wilfrid Laurier University Department of English and Film Studies, First Weekend Club, Hot Docs, Reel Canada and TIFF Film Circuit.

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