The Grand River Film Festival (GRFF) was born in 2007, springing from the knowledge that the Region of Waterloo is home to many people who love films, be they large-audience movies, indies, documentaries, shorts or experimental. The region also plays host to filmmakers who create their works using its streets and countrysides for their settings, approaching 150 productions and still growing. Joining them are the growing number of people who are studying and learning the art and craft of filmmaking. The idea: bring these audiences together in a friendly environment to share and grow their enthusiasm for films. With seven festivals and counting, that idea has been and continues to be a solid success. Adding to that success are the audiences from beyond the region: GRFF draws participants from far and wide!
Though not a long time, the past years have been busy ones for GRFF:
- Topping the list are seven successful festivals; learning how to organize and promote and run a festival, exceeding the expectations of participants which includes providing emerging and established local filmmakers with a venue for artistic presentation, networking, collaboration and peer feedback.
- Attracting, training and deploying a host of dedicated long-term volunteers, the backbone of every function.
- Delivering the annual SHORT Shorts competition, a forum for recognition, awards and the opportunity to have one’s film screened in a festival setting. Past winners have gone on to earn awards at other top film festivals throughout North America.
- With its partners, launching the outreach series cin-E-merge in 2013, already considered a solid success by all involved. Cin-E-merge is GRFF’s educational outreach program, which links Waterloo Region’s student population to the many disciplines of tri-city film and video industry professionals. Now going into its second year, cin-E-merge promises to offer another extraordinary opportunity for students, alumni, and community cinephiles alike to screen independent projects, learn from fascinating presentations, and network with leading local industry members.
GRFFʼs success is shared with:
- Strong regional partnerships with such organizations as THEMUSEUM, IDEA | EXCHANGE, The Fashion History Museum and Wilfrid Laurier University’s Film Studies program
- Fantastic corporate sponsors: 45% of GRFF’s 2013 operating budget was provided by generous sponsorships
- Wonderful annual support from our founding partner the City of Cambridge
Which brings us to now:
The plans for GRFF 2014 are well underway. There will be some pleasant surprises along with the excellence of events that participants have come to love and expect. But to steal a line from Mr. Shakespeare, ‘what’s past is prologue’. GRFF is still growing, experimenting and innovating as is, indeed, the whole world of film around us. And GRFF is a part of this ‘community’. It will continue to strive to create the environment in the Waterloo Region where filmgoers, filmmakers, supporters, partners and media can come together to celebrate and experience the magic of films. We invite you to join us on the journey!