History

Since its inception in 2007, the Grand River Film Festival (GRFF) has delighted film enthusiasts in the Region of Waterloo. Those who first envisioned GRFF were inspired by several factors: the breadth of film appreciation in the region, the increased use of our cities and countryside by the film industry as locations, and the growing number of people who are learning the art and craft of film making. The concept: bring people together in a friendly environment to share and celebrate their passion for film. With eight festivals and counting, that concept has materialized into a solid success. And our success reaches beyond Waterloo Region: GRFF draws participants from far and wide!

Though still a young festival, the past eight years have seen a lot of accomplishments:

  • Staff and volunteers have learned to organize, promote and run a festival, exceeding the expectations of participants
  • Emerging and established local filmmakers have been given a venue for artistic presentation, networking, collaboration and peer feedback.
  • GRFF has attracted, trained, and deployed an army of long-term volunteers who are the backbone of every event.
  • The creation and delivery of 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, GRFF launched the educational outreach series, Cin-E-merge, in 2013. Cin-E-merge links Waterloo Region’s student population to the many disciplines of tri-city film and video industry professionals. Now entering its third year, Cin-E-merge promises to offer another extraordinary opportunity for students, alumni, and community cinephiles 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 IDEA | EXCHANGE, The Fashion History Museum, THEMUSEUM, and Wilfrid Laurier University’s Film Studies program
  • Fantastic corporate sponsors: 45% of GRFF’s 2014 operating budget was provided by generous sponsorships
  • Wonderful annual support from our founding partner, the City of Cambridge

Which brings us to now:

Plans for 2015 are gaining momentum. With each year our horizons expand, as does the unique contribution GRFF makes to the community as a forum for the sharing of thoughts, values, and enjoyment.  As Martin Scorsese observed, “Now more than ever we need to talk to each other, to listen to each other and understand how we see the world, and cinema is the best medium for doing this.” This is what our film festival is all about.

GRFF is still growing, experimenting and innovating, as is, indeed, the whole film community. It will continue to strive to create an 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!