Bringing the Best Cinema to WR

A week’s worth of unique cinematic experiences!

Our 16th festival continues our tradition of bringing the best local, Canadian, and international features and shorts to Waterloo, Kitchener, and Cambridge.

For 2024, GRFF will screen 5 feature films and 24 shorts at the Princess Twin in uptown Waterloo, the Kitchener Public Library Theatre in downtown Kitchener, the Gaslight District in Cambridge, and at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture in Cambridge. Find out more about our venues, including directions, and parking.

We will premiere the winners of the 4th annual Hospice of Waterloo Region YODO short film contest, as part of two separate programs. We are also pleased once again to offer four different short film programs – Local, Canadian, International, and Documentary – with Free Admission, to increase accessibility of films our community can’t see anywhere else.

We are excited to partner with the Charlie Awards, the longest running cinematic event in the Region, with an evening of exciting, creative, and amazing films created by students in the Region of Waterloo. We invite everyone to come out and witness the filmmakers of tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 30

Wednesday, May 8

Friday, May 10

Saturday, May 11

Sunday, May 12

Tuesday, April 30

A silhouette of a bowler hat sitting on the word Charlies, against a back heavily scratched surface.

Charlies Film Festival

Princess Original Cinemas

April 30, 2024 at 7:00pm

More information to come soon…

Wednesday, May 8

Seven small posters representing films shown in the Local Shorts competition


Kitchener Public Library Central Branch Theater

May 8, 2024 at 6:30pm


  • Playtime, by Sara Geidlinger
  • A.I. Altruistic Individuals, by Mark Anthony Ramitt
  • Coffee, by Kris Langford
  • Relative, by Adrian Mitrana
  • Hospice of Waterloo Region YODO Contest Winners
    • Daisy, by Mridul Pahwa and Madhav Kapoor
    • Live After, by Houssen Salih
    • Love Fully, by Madison Carver

Q&A with filmmakers to follow.

No tickets are required to attend, however you can reserve seats by purchasing a ticket in advance.

Friday, May 10

A white man with a ball cap and a dark goatee stares down an intense looking dark haired women in a red sweater.


Princess Twin Cinemas

May 10, 2024 at 7:00pm

2022 Canadian Drama, 89 mins, French and Spanish w/ English subtitles

Written and Directed by Pier-Philippe Chevigny

Starring Ariane Castellanos, Marc-Andre Grondin, Nelson Coronado, and Eve Duranceau.

Facing bankruptcy after a difficult breakup, Ariane moves back to the Richelieu Valley and gets a job in a food transformation plant for seasonal migrant workers. Focused on solving her financial issues, Ariane serves a translator between the factory’s aggressive supervisor and the Guatemalan workers hired as cheap labor. Tension slowly builds between the two sides, and the stakes develop into a crisis situation, with Ariane caught in the middle.

Two figures struggle through the snow swept peaks of a mountain range

Preceded By


2023 Italian Short, 19 mins, French and Italian w/ English subtitles

Written and Directed by Mathieu Volpe

Starring Diane Onana and Frank Onana

Originally from Cameroon, Awa works as a snow groomer driver on the ski slopes of La Thuile, the last Italian town before France. In the middle of her shift, she crosses paths with Souleymane, a young migrant desperately trying to cross the border. Helping Souleymane cross the mountain may be the only way for Awa to silence a dull and constant guilt.

Saturday, May 11

Four small posters for international films included in the program

International Shorts – FREE ADMISSION

Gaslight District

May 11, 2024 at 11:00am


  • Mascarada, by Ana Maria Ferri; Spain
  • The Untouchable, by Avazeh Shahnavaz; Iran
  • The Steak, by Kiarash Dadgar Mohebi; Iran
  • Tradition, by Ali Rıza Bayazit; Turkey

Bring folding chairs or a blanket to sit on in the courtyard of the Gaslight District, or take a seat on one of the Gaslight District’s patios and enjoy the shorts with your lunch. No tickets needed, no reserved spaces in the courtyard; first-come, first-served.

Six small posers of shorts shown in the program

Canadian Shorts – FREE ADMISSION

Gaslight District

May 11, 2024 at 11:54am


  • Frida in the Sky, by Dani Sadun
  • Məca, by Ritchie Hemphill and Ryan Haché
  • [INSERT SHORT FILM TITLE], by Kory Orban
  • For Roy, by Vivian Cheung
  • Heap, by Kyle Marchen
  • Downwind, by Nathan Rivers

Bring folding chairs or a blanket to sit on in the courtyard of the Gaslight District, or take a seat on one of the Gaslight District’s patios and enjoy the shorts with your lunch. No tickets needed, no reserved spaces in the courtyard; first-come, first-served.

Four small posters of shorts shown as part of the program.

Documentary Shorts – FREE ADMISSION

Gaslight District

May 11, 2024 at 12:53pm


  • The World is Ours, by Nadia Louis-Desmarchais
  • When You Find the One, by Stella Vincenza Racca
  • Dissent, by Chris Boyd
  • Worthy of Honour, by Eric Cervania

Bring folding chairs or a blanket to sit on in the courtyard of the Gaslight District, or take a seat on one of the Gaslight District’s patios and enjoy the shorts with your lunch. No tickets needed, no reserved spaces in the courtyard; first-come, first-served.

A dark haired and bearded naked man lays in the back of a pick up truck bed while holding a clap board

Hey, Viktor!

School of Architecture

May 11, 2024 at 4:00pm

2023 Canadian Comedy, 102 mins.

Written and Directed by Cody Lightning

Starring Cody Lightning, Hannah Cheesman, Simon Baker, and Colin Mochrie.

Twenty years removed from childhood fame as Little Viktor in 1998’s SMOKE SIGNALS, Cody Lightning has been forced to move home to his reserve in northern Alberta. He still believes himself to be famous— even though the only parts he gets these days are porn & fracking commercials. But when Cody learns his wife and kids are leaving him for a younger, more successful actor, he decides it’s time to quit fucking around and make his masterpiece— writing, directing, & starring in SMOKE SIGNALS 2: STILL SMOKING. A documentary crew follows Cody on his journey around the Indigenous world— re-uniting the original cast, borrowing money from arms dealers, & realizing his vision… just in time to realize his vision was shit.

An ominous three story building looms over two silhouetted figures in the snow

Preceded By

Ohskennón:ten Owí:ra (Little Deer)

2023 Indigenous Short, 32 mins

Written and Directed by Jonathan Elliott

Starring Cherish Violet Blood, Isla Grant, Kiera Van Der Ploeg, Kevin Allan Hess, Paul d’Entremont

On Christmas Eve, 1967, two young Indigenous girls are forced to battle the elements, confront their darkest secrets and work together in order to return home to their families after a daring escape from the Mohawk Institute Residential School. This harrowing coming-of-age story was developed with survivors of the Mohawk Institute and is based on their real experiences.

Six small squares each featuring a different part of an older Chinese man's face

Starring Jerry As Himself

School of Architecture

May 11, 2024 at 6:45pm

2022 USA Docufiction, 75 mins.

Written and Directed by Law Chen, co-written by Jerry Hsu.

Starring Jerry Hsu, Kathy Hsu, Fang Du, and Nick Bailey.

This is a story about our producer’s father Jerry. Jerry is a retired, divorced Taiwanese immigrant living in Orlando. One day, he gets an urgent call from the Chinese police. They inform him that he’s the prime suspect in an international money laundering investigation where $1.28mm was illegally moved through his Florida bank account. Under threat of arrest and extradition to China, the police force Jerry to cooperate and be an undercover agent in their case. Over the next few weeks, Jerry helps the police investigate an international money laundering case by taking surveillance photos of his bank, making top secret transfers, and even wearing a wire to spy on bank tellers. After months of keeping the investigation a secret, Jerry finally reveals everything to his family. His three sons decide to document his ordeal and discover the truth about what really happened and how it changed Jerry’s life forever.

Preceded By

Hospice of Waterloo YODO Contest Winners

2024 Canadian Shorts, 15 mins

  • Daisy, by Mridul Pahwa and Madhav Kapoor
  • Live After, by Houssen Salih
  • Love Fully, by Madison Carver
A woman with dark brown hair sits with her back to us in the sands on a beach, with a cloudless blue sky and the water before her.

Preceded By


2023 Canadian Short, 18 mins

Written and Directed by Joël-Arthur Tremblay

Starring Mireille Deyglun, Jean L’Italien, Danièle Lorain, Jeanick Fournier, Ingrid Falaise, and Ophelie Tremblay

Pico organises a “farewell party” on the eve of her medical assistance in dying. She wants to celebrate with all her loved ones! No tears, no hugs.

Sunday, May 12

A young dark haired girls sits starring wistfully as bees buzz around her face

20,000 Species of Bees

Princess Twin Cinemas

May 12, 2024 at 1:30pm

2023 Spanish Drama, 129 mins, Spanish w/ English subtitles

Written and Directed by Estibaliz Urresola Solaguren

Starring Sofia Otero, Patricia Lopez Arnaiz, Ane Gabarain, and Itziar Lazkano.

During a summer in Basque Country among the beehives, an eight-year old child explores her identity alongside the women of her family, who at the same time reflect on their own lives and desires.

A young boy with dark curly hair, wearing a knit hat and a grey sweater, looks at an obscured Nazi solider

Boy in the Woods

Princess Twin Cinemas

May 12, 2024 at 4:00pm

2023 Canadian Drama, 96 mins.

Written and Directed by Rebecca Snow

Starring Jett Klyne, David Kohlsmith, and Richard Armitage.

Based on the memoir “The Boy in The Woods” by Maxwell Smart, and inspired by the award-winning documentary Cheating Hitler: Surviving The Holocaust. This is the true story of Max (Jett Klyne), a Jewish boy escaping Nazi persecution in Eastern Europe. After he is separated from his family, Max finds refuge with a Christian peasant Jasko (Richard Armitage) who hides him in plain site until a tense stand-off with some Nazi police. Afraid for his own family’s life, Jasko sends Max to live in the woods where he learns to survive alone.

A light haired woman wearing a stripped cardigan leaning forward with her pointer fingers pressed together

Followed By

In-Person Q&A with Writer/Director Rebecca Snow

Rebecca Snow will be in attendance for the screening and will take part in a post-screening discussion and Q&A with the audience afterwards.

Born in London England, Rebecca started her career at the BBC working on historical dramas and arts documentaries. Since then she has worked in Los Angeles and Toronto with broadcast writing/directing credits that include NBC’s Emmy-nominated documentary series ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’, CBC’s ‘Nature of Thing’s, and History Channel’s ‘Hunting Nazi Treasure’, ‘Museum Secrets’ and ‘Real Vikings: Viking Women’ for which she won the Canadian Screen Award for directing. Her first feature-length documentary ‘Pandora’s Box: Lifting the Lid on Menstruation’ had its world premiere at Santa Barbara International Film  Festival in 2020 and won the Alliance of Women Film Journalists Special Jury Award at Whistler Film Festival. ‘The Boy In The Woods’ is her first narrative feature, and is based on the memoir of a Holocaust survivor who appeared in her feature-length documentary ‘Cheating Hitler: Surviving the Holocaust’. The documentary made world news and was nominated for 6 Canadian Screen Awards.

Director’s Statement:

In 2019 I wrote and directed a feature-length documentary for History Channel about child survivors of the Holocaust. That is how I came across Montreal-based artist Maxwell Smart’s extraordinary survival story, and it became clear to me that the documentary was just the beginning. Max’s story has echoes of a terrible fairy-tale – an orphaned boy hiding in the woods, hunted by the darkest of forces. Friendships are forged, sacrifices made, and a childhood is lost. The film is about contrasts – love and hate, abandonment and protection, the beautiful cinematic, mystical forest landscape punctuated by the horrors of war. I was keen to weave in elements of Yiddish folklore and abstract expressionism throughout Max’s journey. The screenplay is adapted from Maxwell’s memoir ’The Boy In The Woods’ (Harper Collins, 2021) which became a Canadian best-seller. Maxwell himself (now 92 years old) has been involved in the filmmaking process, and to help bring his story to the big screen has been the honour of a lifetime for me.