Next story: Frampton Comes Alive
Second Annual Niagara Integrated Film Festival to be held this weekend
by Jordan Canahai
Second Annual Niagara Integrated Film Festival to be held this weekend
The Niagara Integrated Film Festival (NIFF), a weekend summer film festival that uniquely combines food, wine, and film is set to begin this Thursday, June 18th. The event, the second annual, aims to shine a cinematic spotlight on the Niagara Region’s extraordinary beauty, wineries, and cuisine while showcasing a diverse selection of the best films from around the world. NIFF is run by an expert team of film festival managers, led by Bill Marshall, Founder and Chair Emeritus of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), the world’s most successful public film festival.
“There’s not much more I can do with the Toronto Film Festival, it just keeps on going like the Queen Mary,” explains Marshall. That festival, which he founded in 1976, has gone on to be ranked as one of the top three film festivals in the world, as well as one of Canada’s major tourist events. Having always had an interest in film festivals, Marshall had been thinking about innovative and interesting things to incorporate into a new one that would make it different from the many others when he came upon the inspiration to create NIFF.
“The Niagara region has so many things going for it. It’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. The area is home to many internationally respected and award winning wineries, along with wonderful dining opportunities from our world-class chefs. I thought if one combined movies from the world’s finest filmmaking talent with great wine and food, in a location of such scenic beauty, it would prove to be as interesting and enjoyable a film festival experience as one could have.”
Among the special events offered through the festival is FILMALICIOUS, a dinner and movie night at its finest. During this sensory experience guests will enjoy a sumptuous dinner paired with award-winning Niagara wines selected specially by the winemaker, each one beginning at 7pm on Friday, June 19th and Saturday, June 20th, and hosted at some of the most splendid wineries across Niagara-on-the-Lake and Twenty Valley including: Niagara-on-the Lake’s Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Winery, Peller Estates Winery, Southbrook Vineyards and White Oaks Resort. Henry of Pelham Family Estate in St. Catherine’s and Redstone Winery in Beamsville are also included in the festival.
Set against the backdrop of rolling vineyards, a feature film will be screened under the stars, and have no fear, in case Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate, the screening will take place in an outdoor tent. If one can’t make the full FILMALICIOUS experience, NIFF also offers a screening package that includes admission to the film premiere along with a glass of wine selected from among the vineyard’s finest. (Films will also be shown at Landmark Cinema in St. Catherine’s and Seneca Queen Theatre in Niagara Falls, ON.)
In addition, FILM FEAST is a three-hour excursion into wine country, where you visit three different wineries, each one giving you a unique taste of film, food and wine. The short film features at this excursion are from a program titled Canada’s Not Short On Talent. NIFF is also home to the World’s Smallest Film Festival, a film competition featuring short films shot entirely on any mobile device. All submitted short films will be featured on the World’s Smallest Film Festival Youtube channel leading up to the awards ceremony, set to take place on Sunday, June 21st, alongside the NIFF awards presentation. NIFF awards to be presented include those for Best Feature, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Documentary, Best Family Film, and Best Script. Additionally, the best Niagara Rises Feature and Best Niagara Rises Short will also be awarded.
Building on its success from its inaugural year, this year’s expanded programming ranges from tender coming-of-age stories and light-hearted comedies, to gripping dramas and documentaries, all presented through various special screenings. NIFF will showcase 22 narrative and eight documentary features, from countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Costa Rica, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania and Hong Kong. Out of the total lineup, four foreign and one North American premieres will be screened. In addition, 20 Canadian premieres are scheduled, including four Ontario films and 12 Niagara Region debuts. Out of the 40-plus films being featured at NIFF, some of the stand-outs include the Music comedy-drama The Cocksure Lads, the documentary biopics For Grace and The Lost Aviator, the sci-fi drama Advantageous, and the short thriller Stranger, along with many others.
NIFF is proud to draw attention to the region’s finest filmmakers with NIAGARA RISES, which showcases a selection of features and shorts from the Niagara region. The Niagara region is one rich in film history, and home to filmmakers of every stripe—artists and technicians who have honed their respective craft working on everything from Hollywood blockbusters to independent productions and acclaimed International film festival winners. NIFF is proud to highlight these original voices from the local region and share their far-reaching stories.
One of the entertainment industry’s most respected and accomplished producers, Marshall has played a major role in the development of Canada’s film industry and culture for over 40 years, having produced 12 feature films as well as more than 200 documentaries and public service films. A former President of the Canadian Association of Motion Picture Producers, he was instrumental in forming the Academy of Canadian film and Television. Beyond the film industry, Marshall has previously been very involved in Toronto’s urban politics, having served as campaign organizer and Chief of Staff to various Toronto Mayors, as well as policy advisor to the Ontario government and the Government of Canada.
Today, however, Marshall’s focus lies in organizing and running NIFF with his dedicated team, and despite the tremendous amount of work involved, the great reward of experiencing and sharing in the joy of audiences and filmmakers after watching the extraordinary films being showcased in the setting has proved more than worthwhile. Looking forward into the future, he hopes that NIFF will continue to grow and in time become a comparable success to the Toronto International Film Festival.
“Just as TIFF is unique to Toronto, NIFF will showcase all Niagara has to offer. People from all over the world will be able to enjoy the best in food, wine, and film-going experiences. It seems to me there’s no use putting on a festival just for it to be an okay one. I would say there are maybe nine great film festivals in the world and there’s room for one in June. I’d like NIFF to prove to be one of the top ten film festivals in the world.”
The event is only a short drive across the border from Buffalo, taking place throughout the Niagara region at locations in Beamsville, Niagara-On-the-Lake, St. Catherines, and Niagara Falls.
A complete list of all the films, including shorts, documentaries, and features, along with descriptions for each, can be found online at niagrarafilmfest.com/2015-films.
One can learn more about NIFF as well as purchase tickets for the event by visiting niagrafilmfest.com.blog comments powered by Disqus
Issue Navigation> Issue Index > v14n24 (Week of Thursday, June 18) > Second Annual Niagara Integrated Film Festival to be held this weekend
This Week's Issue • Artvoice Daily • Artvoice TV • Events Calendar • Classifieds