Grand River Film Festival

Save The Dates For #GRFF2023

RETURNS MAY 9th – 13th 2023

a crowd of people watching a movie

Welcome To The Grand River Film Festival

Celebrating and inspiring community through the shared experience of film, the Grand River Film Festival (GRFF) hosts both an annual festival and year-round film programs dedicated to bringing bold, reflective and inspiring films to Waterloo Region (Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo).

The festival hosts local, Canadian, and international films, pairing screenings with panels consisting of directors, film 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.

Upcoming Events

Check out our upcoming festival screenings below plus two additional events in partnership with The Journalism Film Festival presented by ink-stainedwretches.org

All The President’s Men

Introduced by Jim Poling, editor-in-chief, Waterloo Region Record

During the 1972 elections, two reporters’ investigation sheds light on the controversial Watergate scandal that compels President Nixon to resign from his post.

In Person Screening: May 2nd, 2023 at 7:00 pm

Apollo, Cinema, 141 Ontario St. North, Kitchener, ON N2H 4Y5

And Still I Sing

Amidst peace negotiations, Afghanistan’s controversial pop star and activist Aryana Sayeed mentors contestants on the hit singing TV series Afghan Star, including the only two female singers. Their lives are dramatically turned upside down when the Taliban return to power, reversing twenty years of progress for women’s rights.

In Person Screening: May 9th, 2023 at 7:00 pm

Princess Twin, 46 King St N, Waterloo, ON N2J 2W8

Sirens

Sirens chronicles the lives and music of Slave to Sirens, a band made up of five young metal heads whose fame is set against the backdrop of the Lebanese revolution. Its members wrestle with friendship, sexuality, and destruction as their music serves as a refuge to Beirut’s youth culture. An even greater looming threat, however, is Lebanon’s criminalization of homosexuality, and the effects of the political regime.

In Person Screening: May 9th, 2023 at 9:15 pm

Princess Twin, 46 King St N, Waterloo, ON N2J 2W8

The Woman Of Stars And Mountains

Rita Patiño, an indigenous woman from Mexico, was found by a human rights organization inside a Kansas psychiatric hospital, where she had been involuntarily confined, for 12 years, despite hospital authorities not knowing who she was, where she came from, or what language she spoke. This film questions the multiple forms of racism and discrimination that indigenous women in Mexico and the United States face.

In Person Screening: May 12th, 2023 at 7:00 pm

Cambridge Community Players Theatre, 47 Water St S, Cambridge, ON N1R 6C9

Once Upon A Time In Uganda

Welcome to Wakaliwood, the Wakaliga village outside of Uganda’s capital and the birthplace of the over-the-top, no-budget action movies produced by maverick Ugandan filmmaker Isaac Nabwana. Dubbed Africa’s Tarantino, Isaac has produced 40+ films. His films’ budgets are in the range of $200, and his homegrown studio employs neighbors and friends working on as many as five productions at once.

In Person Screening: May 12th, 2023 at 7:00 pm

Princess Twin, 46 King St N, Waterloo, ON N2J 2W8

City of Wild Beasts

Tato is an aimless orphan, a young rap lover. He, together with his friends, seek to resist and find a different alternative to death and crime through the art of hip hop, participating in improvisational street battles. After an altercation with gang members, Tato must flee his neighborhood. His only option is to leave the city, and live with Octavio, his grandfather, a floriculturist, whom he does not know.

In Person Screening: May 12th, 2023 at 9:15 pm

Princess Twin, 46 King St N, Waterloo, ON N2J 2W8

Women Captains

*THIS IS A FREE EVENT*

This documentary captures Marilyn Gauvin as she sets sail on her father’s fishing boat and travels to meet female fishing captains from Caraquet, Anse-Bleue, Miscou, and Lunenberg, N.S. Gauvin discovers the lucrative, but dangerous fishing business is more accessible to women than it used to be.

In Person Screening: May 13th, 2023 at 1:00 pm

Cambridge Community Players Theatre, 47 Water St S, Cambridge, ON N1R 6C9

The Young Arsonists

The film recounts a summer in the 1980s when four teenage girls, all fleeing trauma, band together against the outside world. One girl is consumed by tragedy, having recently lost her beloved older brother — a loss that has decimated her family. Another is dealing with an abusive, alcoholic monster of a father. As the summer crawls by, tensions rise between the girls, who are pretty much on their own.

In Person Screening: May 13th, 2023 at 7:00 pm

Cambridge Community Players Theatre, 47 Water St S, Cambridge, ON N1R 6C9

Bones of Crows

Bones of Crows is told through the eyes of Cree Matriarch Aline Spears as she survives a childhood in Canada’s residential school system to continue her family’s generational fight in the face of systemic starvation, racism, and sexual abuse. She uses her uncanny ability to understand and translate codes into working for a special division of the Canadian Air Force as a Cree code talker in World War II.

In Person Screening: May 13th, 2023 at 7:00 pm

Princess Twin, 46 King St N, Waterloo, ON N2J 2W8

Ablaze

The story of Bill Onus, a Yorta Yorta and Wiradjuri man from Victoria, Australia, a truly heroic cultural and political figure who revived his people’s culture in the 1940s and ignited a civil rights movement that would, against odds, change the course of history. Through rare archival footage, state-of-the-art animation, vividly created digital motion graphics and eye-witness accounts, Ablaze is the compelling tale — part detective story, part contemporary opera — of how Bill and supporters brilliantly orchestrated their campaign for equality.

In Person Screening: May 13th, 2023 at 9:30 pm

Princess Twin, 46 King St N, Waterloo, ON N2J 2W8

Network

Introduced by Mike Farwell, City News Kitchener

When veteran anchorman Howard Beale is forced to retire his 25-year post because of his age, he announces to viewers that he will kill himself during his farewell broadcast. Network executives rethink their decision when his fanatical tirade results in a spike in ratings.

In Person Screening

Available Showings : June 6th, 2023 at 7:00 pm

Apollo, Cinema, 141 Ontario St. North, Kitchener, ON N2H 4Y5

Sponsorship Opportunities

Our Festival would not be possible without the generous support of our Sponsors.

At more than any time in GRFF’s existence, the previous isolation required to survive the COVID-19 crisis made more necessary our core mission of fostering communities through the shared experience of film.

We are calling on businesses and business owners – especially those in the Kitchener, Waterloo & Cambridge areas – to join us in realizing that mission with our first fully in-person film festival (since COVID-19) in May and our all year programming. GRFF has a customizable sponsorship package as well as unique offerings designed to connect you and our community in unforgettable ways all through 2023.

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, contact Peter West