Paul Tortolo

Faces of GRFF, NewsletterFall2016

September 23, 2016

“Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz

Every time the theatre goes dim and the screen lights up, it is as if we join Dorothy and leave our pedestrian lives behind for the magic of Oz. For Paul Tortolo this captures his life-long love of cinema. After retiring from a career as a special education teacher, he has had the opportunity to indulge his passion for film. He is a part-time student in Film Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University and a regular attendee at The Toronto International and Hot Docs Film Festivals as well as frequenting most of the movie theatres in Kitchener-Waterloo. While at home, he’s likely to be found at his computer searching out films as Chair of the Programming Committee (and board member) of The Grand River Film Festival.

Paul’s ideal films may amuse, awe, shock, or perplex but they will always inform about life’s constant elements: love and sorrow. These can be viewed in such disparate examples as 1945’s Rome, Open City and this year’s Sunset Song.

Paul holds a B. Sc. in Psychology and Linguistics from the University of Toronto. As well as revelling in his enthusiasm for film, he spends his time listening to music, reading, walking, swimming, watching Canadian football, and volunteering at Grand River Hospital.

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Kimberly Elworthy

Faces of GRFF, NewsletterFall2016

September 23, 2016

Kimberly was one of those children who probably spent too much time watching television and not enough time doing homework. it’s this deep relationship with the silver screen that has informed much of her education and career up to this point. A graduate from Wilfrid Laurier University’s film program, Kimberly has recently re-joined the Waterloo Region community after four years in Toronto’s lifestyle television industry. Kimberly is always looking for opportunities to share and encourage a love for film, creativity and art in others and is excited to create a wonderful program for 2014.

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HDR and the Ongoing Progression of Technological Advances in Cinema


September 22, 2016

Television manufacturers and any other companies that create home theatre technologies are and have been in a sort of a special relationship with cinema, a relationship that stretches back decades. This dynamic involves theatres developing their projection and presentation technologies, offering up things such as 3D or seats that move along with the action going on in a movie, all meant to entice viewers away from their comfortable home theatre setups and back to the big screen. On the other side of this dynamic are television manufacturers, who continually introduce new features to their consumer screens—wider aspect ratios, better resolution, 3D, etc.—in an attempt to keep selling them year after year. The latest incarnation of this dynamic comes on the home theatre side of things, with High-Dynamic Range, or HDR, and wide color gamut.

HDR, put simply, allows televisions to show brighter brights and darker darks. As a child I always wondered why it was that when I looked up at the sun in real life it hurt my eyes, but when I saw a shot of it in a movie, it was harmless. It turns out that it was because TVs could not produce an image bright enough to approximate what we see and experience out in the real world (Digital Trends). This is not to say that HDR-equipped TVs will hurt your eyes, but they certainly will be capable of presenting films that are more in line with what we experience in reality, or perhaps more interestingly, they will provide filmmakers with a broader toolset in creating their art.

Along with brighter brights and darker darks, HDR-equipped TVs will also have a wider color gamut. In other words, they will be able to show better color, and a smoother transition between different shades if there is a gradient (Solid Signal Blog). This just opens up more opportunity for filmmakers to manipulate what the audience sees in the interest of forwarding meaning and ideas in their work.

Many are not fully aware of the extent to which filmmakers manipulate color and brightness in their work, and how these factors contribute to a film’s overall meaning. They can be used as motifs, to create a general mood in scenes, to trigger an audience if they bear any specific cultural significance, to draw a viewer’s attention to a particular part of the frame, or perpetuate a running theme, to list a few (Pramaggiore 169). Even just the contrast between light and dark—called chiaroscuro—carries with it many interpretive connotations that stretch back to before the advent of film itself (Pramaggiore 116). By giving filmmakers tools like HDR and a wider color gamut, it is clear that they can intensify the effects of these formal elements to create works of art that pack more meaning, more potential for interpretation, and if nothing else, a more satisfying viewer experience.

While this most recent development in the ongoing trend alluded to earlier is fantastic for individuals who want to enjoy the best films possible from home, it raises concerns about film culture more broadly. That is, this whole cycle of TV manufacturers churning out better sets, and the subsequent response from the theatre industry to preserve ticket sales, seems to be moving toward a definite endpoint. That endpoint being the minimization of the cinema and the communal experience it provides to film lovers.


There are, however, institutions like the Grand River Film Festival, which function to preserve and promote the cinema. Festivals accomplish this by luring viewers out to see “bold, reflective, and inspiring films” among their peers, to engage with the creators behind these films in panels, and to spark meaningful conversations that can help strengthen a community (GRFF).



(Digital Trends)



(Solid Signal Blog)




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One Hour Film Challenge


September 22, 2016

12 Angry Filmmakers present a One Hour Film Challenge Oct 23rd – Oct 29th

The One Hour  Film Challenge pushes the boundaries of your creative filmmaking skills. Want to make a movie, but don’t have the time or do you feel the movie making machine, sometimes slows you down? Why not throw yourself into fast forward and make a movie in 60 minutes. If you want to kill an hour, then here’s what you need to do:

  1. Must complete production in one hour from the moment you press RECORD!
  2. Keep your movie to a five minute maximum.
  3. You can film on more than one camera, cell phone, camcorder or high end production camera, whatever works for you.
  4. You can have as many crew and cast you need (The bigger the production the slower you move)
  5. Dialogue will slow you down but you can use it if you have the time to do so.
  6. A script is essential but Improvising might help speed up the process. Beware of getting off track.
  7. You don’t have to use lights but if you do remember it will burn into your time.
  8. You must be over the age of 18.

The sooner you decide to take the challenge then the sooner you can start your planning. You can use as much pre-production as you want to plan out your movie, but you must film all your material you need for your movie in one hour. Providing you give yourself enough time for post-production, then you can spend as much time you need in the editing stage within the challenge week.

The Challenge will take place over the week on Oct 23rd-Oct 29th during the Grand River Film Festival.

Screening time for completed movies: Oct 29th 11am -12.30pm at the Apollo Cinema in Kitchener.


CENTRE IN THE SQUARE: One pair of tickets to the following shows: National Geographic Live Explorer Series –

Ocean Wild: The Light Beneath The Seas With Brian Skerry Wed, 30 Nov. @ 7.30PM

Gorongosa Reborn: A Cameraman’s Journal With Bob Poole Thurs, 23 Feb. @ 7.30PM

Stranger In A Strange Land with Jodi Cobb Thurs, 30 Mar. @ 7.30PM

Spinosaurus: Lost Giant of The Cretaceous With Nazir Ibrahim Wed, 31 May @ 7.30PM

ED VIDEO: One week rental, or two weekend rentals (for up to $500). Including membership.

GRAND RIVER FILM FESTIVAL: Two tickets to closing night film + party, GRFF t-shirt & bag




Links: @EdVideoGuelph @CentreInTheSquare @Finscotfilms @12angryfilmmakers @grandriverfilm


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Closing Night After Party

NewsletterFall2016, Uncategorized

September 22, 2016

The Conor Gains Band @ EVO Kitchen Saturday October 29, 9:30pm

Join us as we close our 10th anniversary in style with The Conor Gains Band! Tickets can be purchased online or at the door $10 entry fee. Complimentary food, cash bar.

One of the most dynamic blues rock acts in Canada The Conor Gains Band have delighted audiences at clubs and festivals across the continent.

This past summer the band toured Canada with impressive festival performances at the Tremblant International Blues Festival and Calgary Blues Festival as well as numerous club dates from Montreal to Vancouver.

Conor Gains, 23, has earned a reputation as one of Canada’s best guitarists and singer/songwriters. Indeed, his tune “Leave It On the Line” won the prestigious Cobalt Songwriting Prize (best contemporary blues song) at the 2016 Maple Blues Awards.

Several tunes from the 2014 CD “Run Away With The Night” have been played on blues, country and classic rock radio stations.

At the 2015 Kitchener Blues Festival the Conor Gains Band were honoured to open for the legendary Burton Cummings to kick off the four day event.

A month earlier they earned a standing ovation at the 2015 Montreal International Jazz Festival. Conor was also invited to play in the Festival’s tribute to the late B.B. King in front of 50,000 people an eye catching performance that led the Montreal Gazette to call him ‘the life-force of the music‘ in its review of the festival.

In 2014 the Conor Gains Band won the Toronto Blues Society Talent Search Competition and in 2012 they represented the Grand River Blues Society in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee.

Conor has been performing live since the age of 12 and was invited to play with the late legendary Les Paul at New York’s Iridium Jazz Club in 2011 at the age of 15. Clearly the future is bright.

Sweet Thing (2016 recording)

Evil Man Live at 2015 Montreal International Jazz Festival

First Impressions  Live at 2015 Montreal International Jazz Festival

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HomePage, NewsletterFall2016

March 30, 2016

Application form

Each year, GRFF relies on volunteer film enthusiasts to present a festival of great film and programs. People are needed to assist in all areas of the festival – there is a role for everyone! As ambassadors for both the Festival and the Region of Waterloo, being pleasant, helpful and professional are key requirements for a GRFF volunteer.

Even though you are helping us out immensely, volunteering can also benefit you! These benefits can include real life skills for your resumé, tickets to GRFF screenings, the fabulous experience of taking part in a film festival, and high school community service hours.

If you are interested in lending your time and talents to GRFF, email for further information.

What type of volunteer position are you looking for?*
Tell us how you heard about GRFF and why you would like to volunteer:

* Indicates required fields

Opportunities for 2020 include:

1. Board of Directors opportunity – Secretary

Board involvement, duties and obligations are to participate in monthly board meetings and the annual general meeting at various locations across Waterloo Region. You should understand and demonstrate a commitment to GRFF’s mandate, strategic planning and programs.  As Secretary you will:
  • Work with the Chair to draft and distribute an agenda prior to each meeting.  Ensure all rules and bylaws of the organization are adhered to by the Board during meetings and advise on the implementation of Board decisions.
  • Record the minutes of each board meeting, distribute to Board members and file for future reference.
  • Support the Board’s work through maintenance of Board documents and folders.
  • Distribute documentation to the Board and complete filings regarding the Annual General Meeting. Ensure that all records are properly and safely stored.
2. Programming Committee
Do you have a passion for film? Would you like to help bring amazing films to the Waterloo Region? The Grand River Film Festival is looking for diverse perspectives to join its Programming Committee. This volunteer position would consist of watching, reviewing, and recommending films to be considered for GRFF. Duties include attending a monthly meeting and some outreach throughout the month. We are especially looking for female, Black, Indigenous, people of colour, and minority

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